Weekend Camp Reports

Stewart-at-the-top-of-the-gravel-hill-680Conquering a Mountain of Lies Boys’ Weekend Camp

By: Benjamin Kroeker, Boys’ Program Coordinator

“I’m too fat,” cried Stewart as he reached one of the Boys’ Spring Camp leaders, standing beside the bus. The 44 boys who came to Gimli Bible Camp for the April 26-28 weekend were enjoying a Saturday afternoon of climbing gravel hills and exploring. The leader put his arm around Stewart and asked him why he would say such a thing. “I can’t climb up the gravel hill. People have been trying to help me, but I’m too fat.” Stewart hung his head. Once again he faced a mountain of lies (this one more physical than others), that he wasn’t good enough or that he did not measure up to the rest of the kids around him.  

Bullying is a constant threat at our kids’ programs and camps. While leaders and staff try hard to prevent and heal the effects of bullying, large mountains of lies and hurts are created in the lives of children. Shane Shodine, our camp speaker, challenged the boys very pointedly about loving God and loving others with their entire lives. His stories revealed that these rules create the most positive and fulfilling life one could ever live. We put up posters with the two greatest commandments all over the camp. Whether the boys were in the cabin with the great volunteer counsellors, or eating meals prepared by our wonderful cooks, they could be reminded what God desires of them.

“Well I think you can make it up that gravel hill,” the leader said to Stewart, “come with me and we’ll make it up that hill together.” Stewart once again stood before the gravel hill and a mountain of lies. This time, with the loving guidance of a leader, he slowly climbed the steep face. Even as gravel and dust slid into his face and muscles pleaded for rest, he trusted in the determination of the leader beside him that he could do it.

When Stewart reached the top and stood tall with his arms outstretched, he could not only have fun on the gravel hills, but he could also see that with the love of God and the love of a Living Bible Explorers’ Leader, he could conquer a mountain of lies.

Girls’ Camp 

By: Mary Ann Funk, Girls’ Program Coordinator

It takes a lot of work to plan and organize weekend camp retreats but it’s definitely worth it! I love taking the girls out of the city and surrounding them with God’s creation. We give them lots of positive attention from amazing godly leaders, fun activities, and time spent growing in their faith in Jesus and experiencing His unconditional love. 

One of my personal highlights was listening to how the girls worship God with their voices. There is a song called “Come and direct my heart” and the girls sing it as a prayer for their parents. When 43 little girls sang “Come and direct my mamma’s/daddy’s heart, into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.” Tears welled up in my eyes. These girls sang with such sincere hearts and I know God will honor those words sung over their parents. 

The weekend flew by with many fun activities such as: playing with play dough, shrink art craft, scavenger hunts, a special dress up banquet, amazing chapels and awesome food. We were blessed to have Gloria Fligg as our speaker for the grade 2-4 girls and she did such a great job making the lessons very easy to understand for the young girls. We taught them neat actions to go with the Bible memory verse that will help them keep the word of God in their hearts.

Our second girl’s camp retreat was for the grade 4-6 girls, which was also a huge hit. We really saw God’s faithfulness right at the start and that continued all weekend.

Enjoying the sunshine at girls camp.

Enjoying the sunshine at girls camp.

We had 10 leaders signed up to come to camp but on Friday morning we found out that one of the counselors was not able to come and another one was very sick. We felt our stress levels rising so we all started praying as four of the staff started calling every possible girl leader that could come to camp on such short notice. By the time we were ready to pick up all the girls, we had two amazing replacements! God is so good, why do I doubt him when I have seen him come through for us time and time again?

The whole weekend I saw God move and the girls draw closer to Him. Having the older girls at camp gave us an opportunity to talk about what it means to be “Girls of Rubies”. I had gotten a wedding dress from the second hand store and we played musical dress. When the music stopped, the girl holding the dress would put it on and spin around. The delight, giggles, and smiles on the girls’ faces were priceless. After that, we led the girls in a talk about what it means to be the bride of Christ and to trust Him to hold our hearts.

Pam Levenick was our speaker for this weekend and she led the girls into listening for Jesus’ voice and healing power on their bodies and hearts. Watching the girls engage and long for more of Jesus was beautiful.

At the end of chapel on Saturday we had a movie planned. During chapel, Pam had encouraged the girls to spend time in their cabins praying for each girl and listening to what Jesus had to say to them. As the chapel time came to a close, I asked the girls if they wanted to watch the movie or have the prayer time in their cabins. To my surprise, all the girls wanted to have prayer time in their cabins over the movie! Wow God is so awesome and at the sound of His voice, we are moved and fall more in love with Him. The next morning I asked the counsellors how the prayer time had gone. It was a true blessing to hear how the girls had prayed for each other, received pictures, and words of encouragement. God is always speaking we just need to make time to listen! 

Softening of the Heart – BEAT Camp

By: JJ Trepainer, North End Coordinator

BEAT Boys excited about a snake

BEAT Boys excited about a snake

On the weekend of May 3-4, Ben, Preston and I took five boys out to a special Behavioural Education and Attitude Transformation (BEAT) Camp. This camp was specifically for the boys who have been in the BEAT program. This is a program for boys who have been having difficulty in the larger group setting on Saturdays, and need more personal attention and ministry.

This weekend was a challenge for those of us who went. We took the boys to a rustic wilderness cabin owned by our friend Myron Lamaga, located in a forest near Hasashville, MB. We spent the weekend exploring and being in creation with God.

During the Saturday afternoon chapel, one boy did not want to be there and was giving us a hard time. Ben took him out of the room to talk to him while I led the chapel for the rest of the boys. Ben told him that in order to get his lunch he had to be cooperating and that involved attending chapel first. He refused and was giving Ben trouble. Ben decided to pray for him in that moment. While Ben was praying for him he hid his face and started to cry. After this, he decided that he wanted chapel. So Ben went and served lunch for the other boys while I went and shared my testimony with him.

During this time, I shared about how when I was younger I had struggles and didn’t want to follow God. I shared how my life was starting to go downhill. I didn’t want to live the life I was living; but God came in and transformed my life. I told this boy how the same thing could happen to him and that no matter what he does, God still loves him. After this I prayed for him and he cried again. In this we saw the softness of his heart and that God was doing a work in his life.

God has amazing plans for these boys’ lives, and through this weekend we saw the changes that He was starting in them. Even though it is sometimes tough and the boys give us a hard time, God is changing the lives of these boys and has an amazing future for them.