GAC

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  1. The Field of Crickets

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    I was 18 years old and about to graduate high school when I first heard about the Great Adventure Camp.

    A friend of mine, Allison, told me about it, and said that there were a few spots left for guy counselors. Although I didn’t have any plans for the summer, I was hesitant about giving it all up to go work at a camp (especially one I had never heard of). But somehow, I was convinced, and I had no idea that I was about to begin what would become one of the best – and most life changing – summers of my life.

    From the moment I pulled in the front gate, I realized there was something different about this place. The first night there, I figured out what it was. We were sitting in the middle of the baseball field, looking up at the stars, and crickets were chirping all around us. One cricket would chirp, then five more would join in, and ten more after that, and so on until it was an entire symphony of bugs all playing at once. The noise grew louder and louder, until suddenly, they all stopped and the night was absolutely silent and still.

    I realized in that moment how my life outside of camp was a lot like that field of crickets. Everyday there were thousands of things around me, all “making noise” – all needing my attention. From basketball practice, to homework, and studying for tests, and Facebook and Instagram, and trying to make sure I wore the right clothes and said the right things…all these crickets in my life were making noise, and I hardly even realized they were there until I couldn’t hear anything else. And they kept me distracted from what was really important.

    But at camp, these distractions were hushed, and in the quiet I was able to think, and pray, and most importantly: listen. Because God had a lot to tell me.

    Jesus understood the importance of getting away from distractions and focusing on God. In Luke 5, Jesus has become a superstar and he’s constantly surrounded by people and things to do. However, Luke tells us in verse 16 that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)”. Jesus went away from the hustle and bustle of life so that he could focus on what God had to say.

    Back in the “real” world, I find these crickets popping back up. It starts with one, a soft buzz that is hardly even noticeable. But before I know it, God’s voice is drowned out by all the distractions of life. It’s only by following Jesus’s example, and retreating to a “lonely place”, that I can turn down the volume of life’s crickets and listen to God.


    Questions:

    • What are the “crickets” in your life? What things distract you from really hearing God?
    • What is a “lonely place” that you, like Jesus, can go to in order to get away from distractions?
  2. GAC Testimonial

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    The Great Adventure Camp is so much more than just a summer camp I went to growing up. The Great Adventure Camp is the place I first truly understood what Jesus did for me on the cross in a way that was relevant to me. The Great Adventure Camp was and remains my home away from home, the place I spent my favorite of all the weeks each year.

    I first went to camp with a friend who convinced me to go as a nine year old girl. I was anxious and had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that between the mashed potato throwing and “Pharaoh Pharaoh” screaming I was about to experience the best week of my life. More than that, I was going to hear clearly for the first time the message about who Jesus was and why His life and death on the cross mattered to me. Each summer that followed I eagerly awaited another chance to have a blast and to hear about the love of Christ. What I treasured so much about my time at camp wasn’t just that I heard about the love God had for me, but that I truly experienced it. From the staff that was serving me to the counselors that were playing ridiculous games with me, I felt at such a young age that their actions truly backed their words. What they said about Jesus was credible to me because I felt the love they had for me.

    Fortunately, my time at GAC did not stop after I was a camper. In fact, in some ways it was only the beginning. I always knew that I wanted to work at my favorite place on earth, so when I was 15 I eagerly seized the chance to serve as “support staff” or LIT. It was during my time on support staff that I truly learned what it meant to be a servant. I cooked, cleaned, set up games, and cleaned some more, and it was a BLAST. As a young teen I learned what it meant to become Christ’s hands and feet, and I believe this was crucial to the way I lived my life the other 300 something days of the year that I was not at camp.

    Following time spent on support staff, I was able to serve as a counselor. I had the opportunity to try to love and serve the girls the same way I felt loved and served by my counselors all those years as a camper. Being a counselor was so much fun, and Jesus taught me so much through each wonderful individual camper in my cabin. From cabin dance parties to team cheers, I always had the best time with my girls. After my years as a counselor concluded, I was even given the opportunity to serve on senior staff. As a 20 year old helping to oversee the logistics of camp, I saw things very differently than I did as a 10 year old simply excited about eating poppy seed chicken, but one thing remained the same- I saw the Lord at work out at camp. I knew it was a safe place, a place to grow and have a blast, a place for God to mold and shape His children, a place to leave different than when you came.