Hope for the Future
It takes a great youth camp to bring a person's perspective back to a state of hope. It is pretty easy to get discouraged watching the younger generation on the street and in public venues. I saw a teenage boy recently that looked from a distance to have fangs. As he drew closer and before I could flee in fright, it turned out that his fangs were actually some kind of trinkets clipped into each side of his upper lip. My mouth hurt looking at him. Most high school kids look as though they have already taken adult burdens on and don't have the capacity to deal with them.
Back to youth camp. I was able to spend a week surrounded by around 200 young high scholars a couple weeks ago. Sagmount Baptist Youth Camp is a place where independent Baptist Churches of Missouri & Oklahoma can bring their kids for a week of preaching and spiritual atmosphere. No Ipods, cell phones, XBoxes etc. A wonderful week. Three meals a day and organized activities made it possible to become close acquainted with the kids personally. Soon after I have met such a young person and exchanged familiarities, I normally ask the young person what he or she is going to do or be in the future. I do realize this is a common question from old folks to young folks. I even remember old folks asking me that question when I was a young kid. Wow! I never realized the depth of the question nor the impact of my answers. In the youth camp atmosphere, I was definitely uplifted by the resulting responses. These kids had wholesome, purposeful and sometimes exciting details that had portent that they knew who they were and they knew where they were going under the leadership of their real God. I was able to verify these hopes in my mind as I observed the young people in the various activities of the camp. Some proved it by quoting memory verses during the week. Miss Sagmount quoted over 530 verses during the week. She has been a blessing to watch over several years of coming to Sagmount Baptist Camp from Sapulpa, OK. As camp chairman, I gave her the title several years ago because of her enthusiasm and excitement about the camp.
Then there is the talent that these young people bring to camp. Everything from instrumentals to group music. From girls readings to boys preaching. From attitudes on the sports field to the response in the chapel services. Because our camp is made up mostly of saved kids, this insures an atmosphere of enjoyment and anticipation of a good week. Since we usually work with the campers that Churches choose to bring to us and we do not know whether they will be lost kids or saved kids, it is wonderful how the Lord helps and guides us in preparation and carrying out the camp.
The altar is never empty at the close of the preaching sessions. We usually estimate how many lost kids are among us and pray hard that they will not leave camp lost. In recent years and this year as well, we have seen most of those kids accept the Lord by the end of the week. Beyond that the altar is also generally and fully filled by kids who are getting things right with God, seeking God's help or surrendering to God's will. I am not talking about giggling teenagers who are hard to read, but about heart broken, sincere kids whose faces show that they mean business with God.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about these encounters is the real Christian attitude that is found in most of these teens. They really are interested in God's will for their lives. Even if they haven't felt a definite call from God, they still want to be what He wants them to be. They want to serve Him. They want to be a good testimony for Christ before their friends and family back home. The majority of them will surely turn out to be great assets to their local Churches in the future starting today.