I made a new best friend at summer camp this year. Here’s an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote during “God time” while we were at camp.
July 8th, 2015 – – This morning I went on a hike with Aadan, a 12-year-old boy who gave his life to Christ last night. This was the first morning of his new life. I was dressed and ready to slip out of the cabin on a hike, alone, when I saw him searching for his glasses by our bunk beds. I told him I would go fill my water bottle from the well by our lodge and then wait for him by the stairs coming down from our room.
The water was winter cold and I filled up my aluminum bottle and slipped it in my backpack because it was too chilled to hold. Aadan still wasn’t outside yet so I waited for him while watching sparrows make flashes in the underbrush. I was on alert because I knew there were mountain lions and even black bears near our campsite. I still felt weary from the night before – – a 12-hour drive straight through from Kansas City to Colorado Springs followed by a late night, fireside revival.
When our pastor had finished his message about the next generation of Christians “taking the land,” he made a call for those among us who hadn’t given their lives to Christ to come forward. In the firelight, Aadan made his way to the front along with the dozen or so other campers. We repeated a prayer with Aadan’s group and when it was over, I spoke to him by the fire pit. I congratulated him and he told me he felt like he was speaking directly to God while he was up there. I warned him about the enemy and how, knowing that Aadan was with Christ now, he would immediately face challenges meant to undermine his faith.
That brief conversation must have made an impact because now only a few hours into his new walk, I got to spend some time with him on the mountain trail. Finally he came outside with his shorts and a sweatshirt bearing the name of his swim team. We walked south, under the high evergreens and through the wild Columbine. We found the places where some of the group activities would take place later in the week – – Frisbee golf and miniature golf courses, softball diamonds, tether ball poles, and a smash ball court. We found a red spruce sprig which Aadan said, according to Native American folklore, marked the spot where an angel died.
I challenged him on this: “I didn’t know angels could die.”
“Yes they can,” he said.
And I began to realize that if an angel can be born, why couldn’t they expire? Lord knows we have seen the found get themselves lost again.
We walked on trying to find the trail-head for the more rugged climbs but in the process Aadan found a table full of high school girls eating breakfast to talk to. The girls were eating the same breakfast we had: bagels smeared with strawberry cream cheese, cereal and bananas. We told them about the things we’d found and they began to ask us questions that would help them fill in our backgrounds.
“Is this your son?” one of them asked.
Since camp just began, I haven’t spent much time with my daughter yet, so it was a reasonable assumption.
“No, we just met,” I said. But the more appropriate answer might have been, “Yes. Now that he’s a Son of God, he belongs to all of us now.” That didn’t occur to me right away — and even if it had, that might have seemed an odd thing for me to say so early on after befriending the boy.
The girls finished their breakfast and went off to get showered, and Aadan and I found separate places for our morning quiet time. I opened my journal and started scribbling down these notes. On the morning of my first full day at camp, I was part of something more meaningful than anything I’ve ever accomplished in a day at the office. This was how Aadan’s new life began: a relaxing walk, aimless at that, surrounded by the beauty of humanity, the glory of the Lord, and majesty of His kingdom. I have always thought one of the most powerful aspects of Christianity was bringing the lost to the Lord. But there’s something deeper than that: being in the presence of those feeling His love for the very first time.