Last week our church hosted a sports camp for the children in the area. It has become a beloved tradition for us to provide a free morning camp with Bible instruction and fun Vacation School Bible-like music. This is the first year I have been able to participate as a volunteer. I signed up, not really knowing what to expect and I have left feeling amazed by the gifts freely offered by the team of volunteers and the gifts received by these precious children.
What I learned at camp was pretty spectacular too:
- Camp wasn’t about me! I got to step out of my own self-importance and focus all my attention on supporting the staff and the children. I wasn’t hung up on what I would get out of it helping; I was hung up on what they would get out of my being a part of the team.
- Camp was about doing what Jesus said: ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ . . . And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10 verses 13–14, 16). Fr. Michael, the team leaders, and the music team all brought Jesus to the children in a gentle, fun, and loving way.
- Camp was about the adults who faithfully brought their children and grandchildren to camp. We had a opportunity to meet with these parents from all walks of life and to welcome them into our church—to make them feel at home. There were so many stories told the night of our cookout and hopefully many seeds planted that will lead them to seek the face of Jesus with their children.
- Camp was a blessing to our community and to our church. It is something rare and special to bring our communities together over a soccer ball. Camp models how we can lose ourselves in giving, expecting nothing in return, and leave changed. I have heard the stories from some of the volunteers about how God touched their hearts this past week. They didn’t expect it either—they were just showing up to be with the kids and God blessed them, just as he blessed the children who came.
Camp is over and the question that rests on my heart and mind is: What’s next? I hope you are inspired to ask yourself that too. How can you give your time, without expecting anything in return, to bless the lives of someone else in your community? I would love if you shared your ideas here.