James and Jordan preparing to act out a Bible story at Special Camp 2014

It took over a year to finally obey God's calling and serve at Special Camp.  My church member Thelma, offered me to serve prior to this, but I was unsure and eventually decided not to go. I did regret the denial of this great opportunity later in the summer of 2013. When I was offered the same opportunity a year later, I didn't want to make the same mistake, so I strongly prayed. It took weeks before God told me to "go." Thelma was ecstatic in my decision to serve, while I was thinking "what did I get myself into?" No turning back, I submitted my application and was accepted to serve. I was absolutely excited and began to prepare my heart through the Word and in prayer. As camp was around the corner, I was so thrilled and enthusiastic to see what God reveal at Mt. Hermon. I took the bus up to camp and got a glimpse of some of the campers I would be serving. I was nervous and didn't communicate much with them, but they were completely open and excited for the week. I immediately felt how great they were by their warm positivism. Their aura in the bus rubbed off on me, as I became excited for the week too!

Wow... was God's presence felt or what at camp! By the second day, I fell in love with Special Camp. I was in admiration by the way the campers were accepting to everyone and how they worshiped with a full heart. God bless them! I couldn't wait til the next day to see what God had in store next! The next day, I came down with a blistering headache that lasted throughout the day. However, I pushed myself to continue to carry out my responsibilities as an aide. Having campers like Ricky, who continually asked if I was okay, gave me extra strength for the many activities planned that day. Eventually, I was physically exhausted and I did not truly ask for assistance until I rolled into main camp. I had to let the medical staff know and reveal to them my symptoms. As the nurses took my temperature, checked my pulse, and blood pressure, it seemed everyone was worried. I didn't want them to worry about me and I kept repeating in my head "Please Lord don't let me be quarantined." Fortunately my temperature was fine, but I was advised to sit out. I watched all the campers and aides go on stage ready to sing, when the nurses miraculously decided for me to sing and worship on stage. My heart was pounding with joy and for those 5 minutes on stage, my headache was nothing but a mirage. Being on stage and seeing these campers singing with full joy and delight gave me the chills. I was so touched by their unconditional will to sing for God and passion they released in the whole sanctuary... Wow! God's presence was well felt. What also fascinated me, was the support I got from fellow aides through prayer and encouragement for my health. I didn't deserve it, but I was blessed that The Lord brought many beautiful individuals who were concerned for me. I was so thankful and delighted. Before I left camp, my pastor and pastor's wife prayed for my health and then it was back to the Monte Vista camp grounds.

It was already Thursday, and I felt weak. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't do much. I felt really sorry that I couldn't do as much as the others, but I marveled in their faith. I was blown away on how these aides served so gracefully with dedication, but also that other precious commodity: love. Shortly after breakfast, through my devotional and a conversation with a fellow brother of Christ, I was able to see what my true calling was. God was testing my faith. It's easy for me as an individual to continue to wake up, work hard, and do the work. However to sit there, watch, and do nothing, was even harder. In Ephesians 4:1 it says "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." I remembered Paul writing this in prison what faith and such a huge calling to do that. Without him in prison there would be no Ephesians. God tested my faith and made me realize His true calling for me was. Instantaneously, I felt better from then on and was able to spend quality time with these amazing campers. Through all the many activities, I was able to see enjoyment, happiness, and growth in everyone. Being able to serve these campers with the most wonderful aides is not a chore, but is more of an honor. As much as I wanted to serve these beautiful individuals, I feel like they have served me more. The theme verse was from Psalm 43:4 "God, my joy and my delight" and I was able to see this verse into action by witnessing the joy and delight by the individuals who attended or served at Special Camp!

This is an amazing ministry. I would encourage you to be open to The Lord's calling and truly experience this experience I simply can't explain with words.