Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
What were some of the covenant youth in California doing this summer? Well, during the month of June from the 13th -17th some 50 covenant youth enjoyed the Sierra Mountains at Sierra Christian Camp. High up in the majestic views, they enjoyed learning about the Kingdom of God. Some of the activities included crafts and games, an indoor pool, bonfires, and lessons focused on the theme, “The Kingdom of God.”
First of all, what sorts of activities did the campers enjoy? Camp Director Rev. Tracy Gruggett and the Activities Director Mr. Chris Heckman led a food fight with its primary ammo being marshmallows. (However, not the same marshmallows consumed at the bonfire) At the bonfire, many bear stories were dramatically told and acted out by camp counselors. Also, the Activities Director returned in the form of his alter ego, everybody’s favorite game show host, the one and only, “Cletus,” with his fake hair, dinner jacket, and several teeth. “Cletus” led one game show called Cabin Feud. Another camp counselor, Elder Mike Grimes, did a session called ‘Rhymes with Grimes’, where the campers would provide a word and he would make up a rhyme. One last activity was Frozen Fish Hockey, but we used SPAM for a hockey puck instead of the actual rule requiring a frozen fish head. This game is played on a large tarp of soap and water while using kick boards for a hockey stick and wearing googles. The object of the game is to move the SPAM to the other end against your opponent and score a goal. It’s a good thing that SPAM is cheap seeing that several ‘pucks’ were needed. One of the girls’ cabins will be returning as the undisputed world champs and playing again next year for the SPAM Cup.
Second of all, the covenant youth had the opportunity to grow in the Word of God through each lesson and the times set aside each day for singing, prayer, and worship. There were two groups of campers: the juniors and the seniors. Rev. Mike Voytek used Matthew 6:1-15 and Rev. Gary Mancilas used Matthew 5:13-15 for their teaching text in the junior camper group. For the senior group of campers, Rev. Jimmy John Hall used Matthew 5:13-15 and Rev. Hank Bowen used Matthew 6:25-34 for their teaching text. Bowen argued that “Too often we try to cope with life by the principles the world practices … Then God’s Word comes to us and challenges us to trust Him.” Hall asked the question, “Like light, can others see God being glorified in you?” In the Kingdom of God, faith ties together what we do while giving glory to the Father through Jesus Christ. Each night there was a time set aside for singing hymns and a time for prayer. Rev. Valentin Alpuche led our evening chapel on Wednesday night. All in all, the responses from the covenant youth showed a grasp of the theme for camp. One of the most popular activities is the annual Campers vs. Counselors Volleyball Tournament. Unlike the results of the Heidelberg Youth Camp for RCUS members in the Northern Plains and South Central Classis, the Western Classis counselors taught the campers a lesson or two in humility when they destroyed their hope of winning.
In closing, we are so thankful each year for the blessing of God on each covenant child and thankful for all of the help from counselors, cooks, and the pastors. In the next year the camp might be moved to another location and the cooking staff may change. Please keep the Western Classis in your prayers as we seek ways to accommodate for a new location and continue to have safe camps. Bump, set, spike, read your Bibles, and mark your calendars for next June!
Rev. Jimmy John Hall