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I could never put into words everything that my time at Loucon has meant to me. I stated attending Camp Loucon at the age of ten, and I was not thrilled to be there. I am from the inner city of Louisville, KY and had never really been at a camp before. On top of that I was going to CHOIR CAMP which was very uncool to me at that time. I originally wanted to go to basketball camp, but it filled up before I got my application in, so my parents thought that choir camp was a good fit for me since I loved to sing. I was so unhappy about the situation that I cried from Louisville all the way to the gates of Camp Loucon.
I wouldn’t shed another tear of sadness within the gates of Loucon for another 12 years when I said goodbye to my fellow Loucon Staff members as I left to follow the call of teaching in the most impoverished ward in Washington, DC. My first summer there I surrender my life to Christ. Year after year I would go to camp for a week and be on fire for Christ for months, but that fire would slowly begin to go out until it was time to go back to camp and rekindle it. This happened for many years, and even though sometimes I would stumble, or wander away from Christ my friends from Loucon never gave up on me. They continued to love me and believe that God had something special for me and encouraged me to stay strong in my faith. My counselors didn’t stop being my counselors at the end of Choir camp week; they were my counselors all year long.
As a camper I loved rock climbing, zip lining, rappelling, and all the other great camp activities. But there was nothing like the discussion afterwards, even as a camper I enjoyed discussing how the zip line was related to being a Christian, and how I could apply things on the zip line to my life outside the gates of Loucon. I have felt GOD move the strongest while at camp, I can only describe by saying that if Heaven were one house, Loucon would be on the same block, if not right next door. That is how strongly I feel that power of GOD when I’m there. I have had the holiest experiences there, kneeling at the altar surrendering my life to Jesus, almost exactly ten years later kneeling with a camper at the same chapel who was ready to surrender her life to Christ. Sitting on Newsong stage listening to echoes of children singing worship songs, watching kids pray with each other at the foot of the cross, and watching campers I had counseled follow the calling to work and sacrifice a summer of time with their family and friends to serve Christ. I can’t put into words how it feels to be used by God, and watch lives be changed dramatically over a period of time.
My time on Loucon’s camp staff were the best three summers of my life. Every week I saw kids come in homesick, stale to religion, or afraid of what it meant to be a Christian and I got the chance to not only teach those kids about Christ but show them the love of Christ. By Friday those same kids were crying because they didn’t want to leave. That is what Loucon does for the people who drive through the gates, it becomes home, not only for that week but for forever. Week after week I saw lives transformed, and I was overwhelmed at the fact that GOD would use me as a tool for life change.
While my time at Loucon as a camper, counselor, and staff member were some of the happiest times of my life, they were some of the most challenging as well. Earlier I mentioned that I surrendered my life to Christ my first summer at a camper—I never said I knew exactly what that meant. I knew it meant to love my enemy, follow Christ and his will for my life, and to spread his word. It sounded simple to me when I was ten, boy was I wrong. I’m not sure I knew what it meant until I began working at Loucon. I had told people about Christ, and I loved even those people I didn’t like. I had never laid down my life, but learned how to do that and what that looked like while working at Loucon. While working at Loucon I’ve been challenged to lead worship, Bible studies, dozens of hikes which turned my legs to Jello, put on a brave face when I was afraid, lead children to Christ and push myself beyond exhaustion. With those challenges came great reward, I found my love for worship leading, I’ve learned things about myself through those Bible studies, the hikes were tiring, but the memories some of my most cherished. I learned that putting others above myself is the way that Christ lived, so putting on a brave face for our smallest campers during big thunderstorms is just a small action of love. I got the honor of bringing another person into this great family of Christ, and maybe most importantly I learned that my strength is not my own. On those days that I was tired I was told to look to GOD for the strength to make through and He pulled me through every time.
If I have learned one thing from my time at Loucon it is love through the act of sacrifice, I’ve heard about it, I’ve seen it, and lived it while at camp. Who knows when I’ll be back at camp, hopefully soon, but if not that lesson and my experiences will last a lifetime. While on staff we would remind ourselves each Sunday that we have one week to make an impact for a lifetime, ONE WEEK. Well, one week in July 2000 Loucon made an impact of a lifetime and I am forever grateful for my experiences at Loucon, and I look forward to many more. It is my home, and always will be the place where I feel God’s presence the strongest on this Earth.
This article originally appeared on www.loucon.org.