The building process is one of many steps. Some stages, like laying a foundation, are slow and arduous. Dirt must be moved or brought in, a foundation plot must be laid out, then dug and poured, and the concrete needs time to cure. Other stages can seem to go quickly, like framing up the exterior and interior walls and roof line. All are part of ultimately having a product that functions correctly and is useful for its purpose.
Eight years ago plans were being made to build a summer camp program in Trujillo, Peru. Missionaries from Peru Mission contacted Twin Lakes to partner with them in providing a program that would allow children to hear the gospel through the experience of camp. Their hope was that by helping children to latch on to the gospel of Jesus Christ at an early age, there would be an opportunity to change a culture by bringing them up in the truth of God’s Word, both at camp and at church.
Those early years took time and effort to establish a solid foundation for this program. It was evident that God had called us to this ministry and we knew its potential value. Our prayer was that He would allow this same tool to change lives and build His kingdom within a different culture. “Unless the Lord build the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) In order to build this program, the foundational goals would require gaining the trust of the Peruvian staff members who would join us in operating each day’s activities, as well as parents and children. It was also our goal to communicate that the program was more than just playing with kids and ensuring their safety…it was about communicating God’s love in all of life.
The response was encouraging. Within the first year, God blessed what happened during the exciting days of camp to unite Peruvians in a way that the missionaries had not yet seen. Staff members commented on how the program provided a way to reach children for Christ, and were eager to continue being a part of future camps. Lessons from camp were taken home to family members who had been resistant to Christianity and church teaching. Yet they saw through their children that the Bible is credible and wanted to know more. The building process had already begun and God was using Twin Lakes Camp in Peru in ways that we would never have imagined!
The latest camp in Trujillo showed continued development. Missionaries are working to bring Peruvians into the planning and training aspects of camp. Staff members who want to help with camp are evaluated, interviewed and trained. Involvement with church pastors is an important part of the process. Four trainings are held prior to camp in order to share the vision of camp and expectations for those volunteering their time to help. Former campers are now a part of the counseling staff. Our American team is now simply a supplement to what is already taking place in Peru. FPC Jackson (Twin Lakes) and IPC Savannah (Point Pleasant) join together in bringing summer staff members from each camp in order to aid and assist in running camp, as well as financially supporting the program. The collective efforts of Americans and Peruvians are an integral part of what makes this program special. Together, God uses everyone’s gifts in unique ways to serve others and bring glory to Himself.
Twin Lakes Camp in Peru ran from December 29, 2014 through January 2, 2015. Fifty-eight staff (22 Americans and 36 Peruvians and missionaries) served together to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to 140 campers. This year’s camp was probably one of the smoothest to date! It is evident that all of the efforts put into previous years have aided in allowing camp to come to a point where the program itself runs seamlessly. Through our four days of camp, we were encouraged in the way that this trip benefits the overall mission that exists 12 months of the year in Trujillo. It is great to know that what God allows us to do at camp in the development of relationships with Peruvian staff and campers, helping to share God’s word throughout the day, smiling, laughing and playing with children, assists Peru Mission not only for a short few days of fun, but is a part of the overall outreach to impact the communities they minister to. What a privilege to be used in such a way for the building of Christ’s church here on earth and in preparation for eternity!
“…you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5