Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"The Wild's really is wild!" - Paris Gray

I’m climbing these steps one step at a time. I can chose to skip one to step onto the next but not without looking silly and/or risking a nasty fall.

There are stairs everywhere here. I climb each and every one. As I climb, I hear voices in the background. One says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night” and another, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way.” Memorization and Mediation is drilled into each one in attendance.

There is joy on almost every camper’s face. The waiting was hard, but, we’re finally here. They are so blessed to be at this place, and I wonder if they even know how blessed.

 The counselors here are exuberant about running up and down the stairs. They’ve build up a lot of strength up until now. They’ve climbed these stairs thousands of times. Practice makes perfect. It’s hardly a task for them.

And my littlest friend and I keep walking and we pass others sojourners and they seem winded by the climb and it’s good to know that I’m not alone. It’s a tough climb for all of us. It would be so much easier to just stay at the top and not come down, and then I’d never have to climb. But to get anywhere you must be willing to go. And it’s not always a ‘Mountaintop experience’. If we didn’t have to climb we’d never know the joys of reaching our goal.

 And as I keep on upward I think of the potential that these counselors meet with face to face every day. Our kids. Do they realize they are changing lives? I hope so, because they are. My husband wouldn’t be Tyler, the Preacher, today if it had not been for faithful camp staff, with hearts to serve the Lord. He would maybe be Tyler, the T.V. Salesman, or Tyler, the Lawyer, but not Tyler the Preacher. He would most certainly be, Tyler, the man running from God.

Here in this place there is so much joy. Joyful campers, joyful camp staff, joyful cooks, waitresses, janitors, office staff, guest speakers. Everyone here is so joyful! Ready to assist, prepared to aid, waiting to serve. Handpicked by God and placed here for a season. And I begin to think that joy is pretty contagious.

The preaching aimed specifically for the teenage soul, the verses chosen to penetrate the heart, one cannot leave this place unchanged, unless…unless they’ve decided to quit climbing. They have become weary of the trek, exhausted on the trail, winded by the challenge. They’ve sat down and fallen asleep. The hot and humid breeze of sinfulness fills their lungs, and there are bodies weakened by dehydration from the lack of the Water of Life.

But this place! This place is like the cup of cool water poured over their head to awaken, refresh and revive all those who would seek to be stirred. This is the time to arise and keep climbing, my camper friend! “Trying to walk in the steps of the Saviour, Upward still Upward we follow our Guide…”

There’s another on the stairs in the dark night. So difficult to see, he must be patient and most of all, he must follow One Who has walked these steps before. Thanks be to God that he has not left us comfortless. We are not without a Guide. His hand is there to lead, and it is mighty to save! “How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Saviour, Stepping in the light, Stepping in the light, Lead in paths of light.”

Higher and higher I continue to climb, until at last, I reach my destination. And I think to myself that God is great and that He is exalted in this place. And I know that even though these steps may be hard to climb, that I can reach the top. And with His help I can keep stepping through this life and when it gets hard and when the mountains I face seem insurmountable, He is with me.

He is everywhere and I’m glad He’s here. Here at the greatest Christian Camp in America!

Tori Gillit, signing off for now at the Wild’s of North Carolina.

Sunday/Monday, July 19th

It started at 8:35, this long long long long long trip to North Carolina. It started with a tired-from-a-long-day-at-church-baby. And thankfully it ended, with a baby that did surprisingly well. He slept all night only waking at bathroom stops and going back to sleep as soon as we pulled out of each gas station.

The sweet baby, watched the trees pass through the window, flirted with the girls, laughed at the boys and did so well, I thought maybe that we might actually have a good time at camp.

Tuesday, July 20th
This has been my first year at camp as a mom. And boy! What an experience it has been, for lack of a better word. I used to look forward to the service times, now I get sad, because I know it’s bedtime for the littlest camper. And who will make sure he is all tucked in, if I’m not there?

Today we took a hike down to the 2nd falls. Tried to take a ride in the giant swing. As I stood there in line, tears raining down because of nerves (yes, you heard me right, tears) Teddy, my would be partner on the swing saw her daughter crying because she was sick. "You're off the hook," she said. I stood there relieved and sad at the same time. Oh well.

We walked down to the nurses station, checked Gabi out of camp, then headed to her cabin to get all of her bedding and clothes. She slept all day that day, with a fever and sore throat.

Wednesday, July 21st
We did what we could, Will and I. He slept while I went to the Sponsor picnic and Tyler stayed in the room and watched him. I saw some old college friends there and that was pretty sweet. Later that night, because Teddy was in the room with Gabi, I got to go to Fun Night, watch the hilarious skits and take some pictures of our kids.

Thursday, July 22nd
We went to the "Family Reunion" at 1:00 in the afternoon, where we heard lots of testimonies and enjoyed seeing our whole youth group in one place. We had the best time together and got lots of pictures. The Sponsors went out and found a cake for Tyler and I to celebrate our anniversary and even bought me a beautiful plant.

The highlight of Thursday was that because Gabi was feeling a little bit better we (Teddy, Gabi, Will and I) decided to go tubing down the creek on the campgrounds. It was so much fun. When we got near the end, these boys were at the top of the bank shooting water guns at us. I used Will as an excuse so they didn't shoot me. Teddy tried to stay near me so that they wouldn't but it didn't really work. By the time we got out, she was sopping wet. Gabi started feeling bad again so they went back to sleep. She got up just in time to attend the service later that night. The Floyds watched my sweet sleeping baby while I went also!

Friday, July 23rd
It was the last day and I wanted to make sure that I got everything packed and still got to spend lots of time with the kids. In the afternoon, Teddy and I wandered down to the basketball courts where we found some of our girls. Elizabeth, Lauren, Gabi, Paris and Monica had just ridden the Giant Swing, and ya, I was a little jealous. I didn't even get to take pictures! Oh well. Elizabeth, Ethan, Emily, Gabi, Lauren, Teddy, Wilbur and I meandered into the Craft Shop, where we made some super rad leather bracelets. Maybe one day Will's bracelet will fit him ;)

After 2 or 3 trips to Cool Beans (the coffee shop) and what seemed like a million trips up and down stairs, it was finally time to go the the last meeting.

Bro. Farrell preached hard against sin and harder against the hold that is has on so many lives. He didn't mince words about following Christ. He told the story of Elijah and Elisha. Of how Elisha went home and burnt his cattle as a sign of 'no turning back' from the call that God had placed on his life. Of how he served others instead of always looking for someone to serve him. Of how even in death God used him.

Many lives were touched, a few were even changed, I believe. I was able to go out afterwards and pray with one or two. It was such a blessing to see the Lord continuing to work, even up until the last moment.

The trip home seemed so much longer. We didn't get started until 11:30pm. Tyler drove from 11:30pm until 8:00am and then slept a little and drove again later. We finally arrived to the church at about 6:00pm. Will was more ready to get home than anybody else, I think. I had to have been a close second.

Testimony service the next day at church was an encouragement to many. Tyler was given the opportunity to preach and he ran with it. He spoke of a real change of lives instead of just a decision made away from home, and of adults who strengthen the young ones around them with prayer and support.

It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. And having been to camp every year since I was about 12 years old, that's saying a lot. Eighteen years and this was the best of them. Amazing God, Amazing place. There's nothing else to say.


  1. Meredith WimberlyJuly 29, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    what an incredible week at camp that i, for the first time, missed! it's so amazing to read about the great week every teenager, and worker, had...i felt like i was there after reading! i miss every teen and every worker so much and it's awesome to hear such an incredible report! love you all so much!

  2. Thanks for the sweet, encouraging comment, my love. We missed you. Sorry we waited until you graduated to go. But, like I said the other night, you never know what the Lord could use you to do one day ;) You might end up taking your own group in the future.


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