Visions of Campfires Dancing in My Head!

On Sunday I experienced a glimpse into what the future could hold for ministry here on the island, and I have to tell you, it makes me really excited! This week Azorean Baptist Church had our service out at camp followed by a picnic. Most of the Portuguese families who attend ABC regularly do not have vehicles, so they usually walk to church. Since the camp center is too far away for walking, it was slight challenge to shuttle everyone there and back, but in the end it was totally worth it.

The morning started out overcast and rainy, and to be honest, I was a little concerned that the day was going to be ruined by the weather. However, God proved His sovereignty once again by allowing the rain to persist while we had our worship service under the newly painted, covered meeting area, then sending sun and blue skies for us to enjoy while we picnicked and played. Looking back, I’m confident that the rain kept many people in the meeting area and listening to the word of God who might have chosen to skip the service and explore the camp during that time otherwise.

As I watched this group of about a hundred people, adults and children, Portuguese and American, both believers and unbelievers gather to sing worship songs and hear the message of truth from the Bible, I had a moment of realization. This is what it’s all about. This is why this place that used to be corn fields has been turned into a camp. All the work, all the money, all the time invested in this place happened for this reason: to glorify God and bring the gospel to the people of the Azores.

As I watched children playing soccer and volleyball, swinging and climbing on the playground, running around with these huge smiles on their faces, I felt this incredible joy and hope swelling up inside of me. Joy because these kids are experiencing the love of God through this place. Hope that soon this place will be filled with children and families on a regular basis, experiencing the beauty of God’s creation and learning about Jesus through camps. I felt like God was giving me a glimpse into the future of camp here. It was a moment of affirmation and reminder of why I’m here.  I’m excited because I have seen Him work through camps in the lives of numerous people, including my own. I’m excited because I know He is already working in the hearts of the people on this island, and this camp is going to provide many opportunities for the gospel to be shared. I’m excited because He’s allowing me to be a part of this! I have visions of cabins and counselors and worship services by the campfire dancing in my head!

Like I said, we ended the day with plenty of sunshine and everyone had fun. But more importantly, we ended the day rejoicing with the angels in heaven because we gained another sister in Christ! Maria, one of the Portuguese ladies who’s been attending ABC for the last few months, finally decided to give her life to Christ and accept Him as her personal savior, sitting right there, under the covered meeting area!! Our God is mighty to save! He is at work, and He’s called us to be a part of it. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless the work being done at camp and multiply the ministry for the gospel on this island.  

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