04 December 2012

Bethel Camp

“His voice leads us not into timid discipleship but into bold witness” (Charles Stanley).
What distinguishes us, as Christians, from this decrepit world? How are those of the world to know that we are His disciples?  According to John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." The very essence of love is what separates us, so we are, in the words of Britt Nicole, to “look like love” in all we do. This is my prayer—what about you?  When I think of a place that “looks like love”, so to speak, the first place that comes to mind is Bethel Mennonite Camp—the very first place my abominably wounded and overlooked heart found rest.
The very first time my trembling feet entered the doors of this camp located in Clayhole, Kentucky, I was scared to death yet strangely set at ease by the incomprehensible love overtaking every corner; my scandalously disregarded self—sexually, verbally as well as emotionally abused—remained wholeheartedly confused as to why she even mattered and convinced as to never be worthy of love—true and selfless love, however that looked. After but a week spent here, I was convinced this was no typical camp but indeed a bold witness for Christ—a place distinguished from this decrepit world. Convinced of these things, I was able to begin the arduous journey of allowing God to heal the incapacitating wounds and scars camouflaging my fragile body, both inside and out, and to embrace my identity as a Beloved Daughter of Christ. No matter how many times the devil shot debilitating arrows at my penetrated and vulnerable being, God’s plan as well as unending love for me never changed but indeed strengthened my feeble legs. Grounded in truth, I was now able to fight back—no longer a victim but wholeheartedly protected for the first time from the devil’s wicked schemes. No matter what came my way—abuse; trauma; a seven hour surgery fusing my 60° spinal curvature to less than 20° with 21 screws, 2 titanium rods and multiple hooks as well as bone grafting; the life-threatening disease of Anorexia determined to absolutely annihilate my life by causing me to fear the one essential to survival: food, leaving me at the verge of death countless times; these scars as well as immeasurable others could not come close to separating me from the unrelenting love of my Pursuer and Creator—my God. Had I not been exposed to the atmosphere of love Bethel Mennonite Camp expressed, my life may look drastically different, I dare to argue.
Even though I could only attend this camp several times as a camper, due to infinite Anorexia treatment centers and hospital admissions as well as a newly fusing spine, my life was undeniably changed. This summer, for the very first time in several years, I was able to set foot on this very same ground I’d once entered with fresh wounds oppressing my being--now completely healed by the undeserved grace of God. Even though I was not a camper but a videographer, of which I was scared to death to attempt, the experience was not the least bit disappointing but absolutely unforgettable and encouraging. Truly, I cannot put into mere words the astounding experience of being surrounded by fellow disciples, encouraging one another in this so called battle of life. Though I can never repay this camp for the unending work they do to merely keep it running, I am not about to let that stop me because my heart, after all, was created to fight for life; discipleship requires unending sacrifice but it is my dream to play a part in awarding these selfless beings with but a glimpse of the provision God has promised as they blindly walk by faith. I imagine it is quite costly to run a camp but this has not stopped Bethel Mennonite Camp from continually keeping their doors open; they've had the same facilities for countless years, lacking the commodity of air conditioning despite the high ninety degree weather as well as a single dining hall now outgrown by the increasing number of campers--over fifty from my area. They are hoping to build a new dining hall as well as chapel, with an aim to reach as many people as possible with the incomprehensible love of Christ, but finances are not in their favor, so to speak: $360,000 is needed by the end of March in order to make this dream feasible but $150,000 is what remains in their hands thus far. I am well aware of the fading as well as corrupting economy, especially that of the nearly nonexistent middle class, but out of faith I am asking you to consider giving in some way to this life-changing camp, whether through time, money or prayers. If God has called you to give financially, CLICK HERE where debit/credit cards can be  used via Paypal or the money can be sent directly to Bethel Camp at: 2773 Bethel Church Rd., Clayhole, KY 41317. For more information, see http://www.bethelcamp.org. Your help is much appreciated! 
“What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything” (D.L. Moody).
What we see now

What we hope to see

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