Checking in on our teams the last night of camp, one of the counselors told me they couldn’t find Mike*. The last they had seen him he was in a hammock, but he was gone now. I found 6 ft. tall Mike curled up in a ball by the Ga-ga ball pit, his face streaked with tears. But he didn’t want to talk. With a little coaxing, Mike got up and I was able to guide him down to the front porch of his cabin. I kept making my rounds to the other cabins and would periodically stop by to ask Mike if he wanted to talk, and each time he said, “No.”
When all the cabins went silent, I asked him again. This time Mike opened up. He was disappointed about not getting the invitation to the July Support Staff Training. As we talked he opened up more and more. Mike shared about his mom’s boyfriend beating on his mother, and her being gone with her boyfriend for days on end. Big Mike’s body shook as he cried. He hated the loneliness of being left alone for weeks at a time, and having to just eat what he could find in the house. Camp was the one highlight of his summer each year, and it was the one place he felt loved and cared for. Camp was a place Mike called home. Sitting on the porch we talked about his troubles, life, and God. I hugged Mike before he headed off to bed.
At times I wonder if camp is worth the effort. Camp can feel like an ER room on the sinking Titanic.There was not a miracle for Mike that night. He still went home to all the pain and loneliness, and I couldn’t save him. My one comfort was that Mike had felt loved while he was here, and that Mike went with the knowledge that God was with him and watching over him.
Please pray for the thousands of children of prisoners around the world who have no place to go for love and comfort. Pray that God would send more people into their lives to share the love of Christ with them.
Jesus said, ” … if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42
*Name changed for privacy