Our eldest son Thomas was just 2 and a bit months old when we witnessed his Uncle being baptised at what was formerly known as Camp Orion. Over these past years Camp Orion has evolved into what is now known as Camp Talmid 12 years later and the precious little baby that I cradled in my arms on that beautiful day attended Talmid for the first time.
In the last eight years, Thomas, together with his younger brothers have been attending Christian Day Camp run by the Lipscomb students. To write honestly, Thomas was never overly enthusiastic about attending, and would rather spend his holidays building with Lego, reading a book and relaxing at home in his own little world. However as a mother I believe that it is important to challenge our children. To get them just outside of their comfort zones so that they can grow.
Our second son Harrison on the other hand looks forward each year to attend the three days of Christian Day Camp and KIDZ day. Whatever the team does, he wants to be there! Harrison loves people, and I am so thankful for the experience and valuable lessons that both these camps provide. I find so much joy in hearing about their days, the new songs and lessons they have learned and friends they have made. Our youngest son Patrick at the age of 4 will start his Day Camp journey next year and oh what rejoicing there will be!! Sometimes it’s tough being the youngest and always missing out on the fun stuff. He has been a part of the KIDZ day the last couple of years though and for that I am SO thankful! It is wonderful to just sit in class and listen to the words of God being taught. I am usually teaching bible class or sorting out sibling arguments in the middle of worship, so it’s not often I get to hear guest speakers without the distraction of children.
Camp Talmid, KIDZ day, and Christian Day Camp, I think all three events teach our children that this fellowship of believers is SO much bigger than our little piece of the world. I love that they have this opportunity to fellowship with their friends from other congregations, denominations and even other cities/countries.
For Thomas, Day camp was the foundation stone to prepare him for the extended experience that Camp Talmid provides. It was just a little taste of the interactions and fellowship that he would experience on a much deeper level at Talmid.
I don’t think I will forget quickly, the day I drove him to camp. Camp is only 15 minutes from our house, but seeing as Thomas had been having mixed feelings about going, I drove as slowly as I could, just to give him the opportunity to talk and share his thoughts. He was anxious, yet at the same time so excited, his major concerns being, would he be allowed to go to bed at 7:30? And how would he remember all those names! I think because of his feelings, I began questioning our decision in letting him go. I questioned my own belief in pushing him outside his comfort zone. Is he ready for this? Is he too young? Will he remember to brush his teeth, change his socks and put the sheets on his bed? Will he remember to use his manners?….you get the idea.
It was then I heard the quiet whisper saying, “I am all over this!”
Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” So trust I did and with it came such peace and contentment in knowing that he was in a place where He would experience Christ and see His love in action.. A place where he was amongst students and leaders who had sacrificed precious family and holiday time to serve and be mentors to Thomas and his peers. But I also experienced a sense of joy in knowing that this camp was a part of our family’s history, it was a camp that his uncles and aunties had experienced before him, he had listened to their stories, and seen their photos. He was ready for this time of growth (and I think deep down so was I)
As someone who grew up in a small church of about 20 people and with no other children my own age, I can fully appreciate the amazing and often lifelong relationships that can develop over a shared camp experience. I will be forever grateful to the family who gifted me with my first camp at the age of 14. Like me Thomas was also gifted with his camp Talmid experience and for that we are beyond words grateful.
That little baby boy I held so tightly in my arms, all those years ago…he was excited to attend Day Camp this year because of the experiences and relationships he encountered at Talmid. Thomas is growing up before our eyes and is beginning to take his own faith steps. He is learning….learning one of the most amazing and rewarding lessons, what it means and what it feels like to be a part of the extended family of God and most importantly a disciple of Christ!
Holland Park Church of Christ
Wife to Simon
Mother to Thomas, Harrison & Patrick
Natasha Krelle, sister Sarah Potts, brother Jared Potts moments after he was baptized at Camp Orion as he was seen here holding baby Thomas and Momma Potts