The Gift of the Gospel: Connecting Campers with God’s Grace
Every year, children from all across Canada pack their bags and head to a Christian camp to enjoy some quality time with God and friends alike.
As they roll up to the camp with their families or guardians, young campers are brimming with nervous excitement. For some of these campers, they know exactly what to expect and cannot wait to find out who they will be spending their days with or what they will be doing. For others, this is the first time they’ve embarked on this experience and they are feeling nervous. After all, camp can be intimidating for the uninitiated. No matter who the camper is, Bible League Canada is mindful of their needs and feelings and has, with your generous help, been able to provide many young campers with a Manga Gospel or Bible of their very own.
When children receive a copy of the Manga Gospel, their excitement at getting something free is quickly replaced by genuine interest in the stories found on the pages. Many camp counsellors remarked that their campers would often bring their Manga Gospel with them and when they felt overwhelmed in any way, would retire from the group to read the book. God’s story became their safe space!
Some campers come to camp with the idea that it will be boring or uncool. These kids want to be at camp because they feel loved and valued, but they are often resistant to it for one reason or other. Giving these campers a Manga Gospel creates genuine opportunities for camp counsellors to connect with them while opening the door for God’s Word to speak into their lives. Mark Weiderick of Alberta notes that the Manga Gospel also opens doors for sharing God’s love with families where the parents do not want their children to come home with a Bible. When their kids bring home the Manga Gospel, parents are often touched by the gesture and love the style of these books.
Bible League Canada also distributes many Bibles to campers each year. Weiderick recalls one little girl whose grandmother was embarrassed that they could not afford to send her to camp with a Bible. He assured them that they had many Bibles and handed one to the little girl saying that it was hers to keep. The little girl and her grandmother broke into tears of joy at the gesture. Such gestures often go well beyond the confines of the camp experience.
Johanna, an 8 year old girl from British Columbia who comes from a family with little to no religious background, was so excited when she received her own Bible that she asked her cabin leaders to help her underline and mark where all the stories she heard at camp were in the Bible. When Johanna’s parents picked her up at the end of camp, she couldn’t wait to show them where her favourite Bible stories were. She also couldn’t wait to tell them that she began a relationship with Jesus that week.
Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word does not go out and return void. Camp counsellors and parents across the country experience the truth of that Scripture passage each year as kids head home from camp.