Scenic view of trees at camp

Camper Story: Celebrating Salvation

by Mario Zandstra

Cheering at Family Camp

Opening days at Pine Cove are filled with festivities. As families are driving into camp, the college staff are cheering and jumping, welcoming the arriving campers to camp for another exciting week. No matter the circumstance, the enthusiastic staff can put a smile on the most skeptical face.

This particular week at the Bluffs Family Camp, a mom shared with our staff Sunday night that her husband was tied up at work, so he would not be attending Family Camp with her and the kids.

As the week progressed, the mom and her kids were having a blast. They were enjoying everything Pine Cove had to offer, including horseback riding, water rocketing, zip lines and the blob in the pool.

At one point during the week, after spending time with his counselor and the other staff, the young boy began to ask questions about life and exactly who Jesus is and what He should mean to us.

After more discussions throughout the week, the Lord took hold of the boy’s heart and he eventually started to understand the Gospel – that we are all sinners and that sin separates us from God. However, God being rich in mercy gave his one and only Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins by shedding his blood and dying on the cross. His death and resurrection pays for our transgressions and makes us new again so we can live eternally with Jesus.

That nine-year-old boy trusted Jesus as his Savior that week at Family Camp and his life would be forever changed.

On Thursday night, the mom called the boy’s father and asked him to please join them on Friday night.

One of the other families at camp that week was from Nigeria. All week long the father of the Nigerian family wore his African garb. This man and his family were full of joy and throughout the week they taught the other families praise music in their native language. It is amazing to be able to worship God as one people in different languages.

Friday night during camper share, the young boy shared with all of the families that he had trusted Jesus as his Savior. The place erupted in cheering.

As everyone cheered, the African dad ran over to the boy and began to sing one of the African songs and as he did, he held the boy above his head as if he were offering the boy to God.

At that instant, the boy’s father, who had been asked to join them on Friday night, walked in. As he saw his son being held in the air by the joyful Nigerian man, joy then filled his heart.

At that instant, the boy saw his dad, jumped down and ran to his father. With tears in his eyes, the father opened his arms and waited for his son. The boy could not wait to share what Jesus had done in his heart!

This serves as a great reminder that Pine Cove exists to be used by God to transform the lives of people for His purposes and His glory.

Posted Feb 27, 2014

Mario Zandstra

Former President and CEO of Pine Cove

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