Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Beginning

Adam suggested the other day that I start doing "Throwback Thursday" posts every week, where I re-post old blogs from the very beginning of the journey that led us to where we are today in inner-city ministry. Since I haven't posted anything all week, and I have strangely been finding myself at a loss for words the last couple days/weeks, I decided that Adam was onto something good. . .

So I looked back through my oldest posts on the blog, and the whole thing really began with our time at Camp Grace (which I knew, although the truth is that the beginning was much farther back. God had already been working in our hearts when we pulled up to camp that summer so many years ago).

Originally posted in July of 2007. 

Camp Grace


I've been putting this post off for a while because I'm not sure where to begin and what to tell you about our time here at Camp Grace this summer.

It honestly has been a humbling and life-changing experience spending a month with these kids. First of all, let me give you a little background on what Camp Grace is. Four years ago, it began with a day camp which bussed inner city kids out of Atlanta each day -- now it's an overnight camp in Cleveland, GA where kids from the poorest areas of the city come for a week to play basketball, volleyball, swim, fish, hike, cook, do arts and crafts, play lots of fun games and learn a lot about the Lord. Basically, the goals of the camp are to love the kids, introduce them to the ideas of Christianity and the person of Christ, and to offer them a joyful and exciting break from the poverty, crime and other stresses they experience on a continual basis in their day-to-day life. Throughout the year, Vision Atlanta raises money so that the kids only pay $30 for a week of camp. Groups like Kellar Williams, and individuals from churches etc (like my parents) sponsor the other $360 dollars it takes to send them here for the week.











Most of the kids who come bring only one or two changes of clothes. Some dont have toothpaste, soap or bedding. Many of them exhibit a hardness when they first get there that tends to wear down over the course of the week. Those who fight the hardest and curse the most tend to be the ones most heartbroken to leave. I wish I could do a better job describing how precious it is to be a part of that moment when they grin and run into a hug, especially when earlier in the week they are determined to be tough and prove that they dont need anyone . . .

These kids have stories that will make you cringe, stories of ministry leaders shaking roaches off their clothing to pack them for camp, of entire cabins of girls not knowing who their fathers are, of gang activity and daily violence . . . their stories break my heart, and cause me to examine my faith.

If I proclaim to be a Christian, yet do not serve and love the forgotten (the "least of these") then what will have to say for myself when i stand before my Savior one day? If I take what the Bible says seriously, than I cannot know about what these kids are facing and do nothing to help them . . .
So now I am back at home, in my three bedroom house with two cars, a puppy, lots of clothes and friends . . . and it becomes easier to ignore the poverty and violence than to make the effort to go serve - especially because serving now means getting out of my comfortable chair in my cozy home and going into a world that's dangerous and unknown . . . but I cannot allow myself not to go because I cannot help but think that the dangerous, unknown world of these kids is exactly where Jesus would be.

7 comments:

  1. This made me cry. I am so glad you go Becca. Thank you for going to camp. And thank you now for living there in the city. I drive to a city every day and I think of you as I pass the outskirts and get into the worst of the worst neighborhoods. I imagine living there and I say in my head "I am glad Gary doesn't want to live here. I am glad Kaish won't grow up with a corner store and abundant poverty." I do. I am not proud to say that I say it, but I do say it. So, tonight, to you and to Adam and to your little family, I say thank you. Thank you so much for not just going and telling the people that Jesus loves them, but for living among them and showing them how BIG and wonderful God is. You are my hero.

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    1. I love you Becky! You're too sweet and you are a continuous encouragement to me! :-) thanks friend!

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  2. What a great idea. I love it and you look exactly the same.

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  3. I worked at a similar camp for a summer during college. It was the first time in my life that I felt that absolute peace of knowing I was exactly where I needed to be. It was not easy, but I felt like I was created for it. This line: "If I proclaim to be a Christian, yet do not serve and love the forgotten, then what will I have to say for myself when I stand before my Savior?" - I wrestle with this every day as I go about my life of ease and abundance. I know I need to be doing more. I know we were created for something bigger than 3 bedrooms and a minivan.

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    1. Tara - I totally understand that feeling of "we were created for something bigger than 3 bedrooms and a minivan" . . . Praying for you as you continue to wrestle, and I'm reminded that wrestling requires a closeness with your Savior that will produce fruit in your life.

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  4. "Exactly where Jesus would be." So true. Thank you for being His feet and hands! You encourage many by sharing the story He's working through you.

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