01 Aug

I spent almost a week at Camp Agape, a bereavement camp for children, which was held at Buckner Camp in Burnet, Texas. I served as a counselor for nine brokenhearted girls, ages 9-12 years old. (The camp accommodates children 6-12 years old and we had 34 boys and girls.)

It was a special time for God to use His people to minister to His precious hurting children. Each child had lost a love one (parent, sibling, grandparent etc.). The entire staff – who consisted of the buddies (mentors), counselors, prayer team, high school helpers, administrators, and those who provided food – loved on, comforted, witnessed, and encouraged these kids.

Each child’s buddy stayed with him/her 24 hours a day. When a family is grieving, the children are often unintentionally over-looked in this process. Everyone is in the self-survival mode from pain, grief, and adjusting to unwanted changes. Unfortunately, our society requires us to function as if nothing has happened during these times. Buddies lavished love and attention on these sweet hearts and they were a safe person to talk, cry, and pray with.

As a counselor, I guided the group activities and ministered to each child, as she needed it. Because the buddies gave so much of themselves, they, too, needed spiritual and emotional support, advice, and personal prayer and attention.

We at Camp Agape continually talked of the love of Jesus Christ, His compassion, and His healing power. It was a time for the children to experience a deeper walk with God, and for Him to plant His seeds of enduring faith and life-long closeness with Him.

The campers were able to see that they were not alone in their grief. They connected with other children who also had experienced profound loss in their lives.

The children participated in several emotionally healing and faith building activities. They learned to identify their emotions and to use healthy ways to express them. A very intense time of focusing on forgiveness (of self and others) was spent at Camp Agape. These activities, along with a deepening of faith, were great healing elements for the children.

There were also a lot of fun activities at Camp Agape. Among them were swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, praise and worship, dancing, and fellowship. Each day the children received a gift from an anonymous giver. They loved these special treasures and appreciated the acts of love.

Please pray that God will continue to bless Camp Agape with His anointing and His presence. The camp serves hurting lives through the leading of the Spirit, prayer, volunteers, and donations. You can get more information about the camp by going to www.campagapetexas.org.

May we each be keenly aware of our daily blessings and God’s presence and love in our lives.

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