Scenic view of trees at camp

Even Bigger Than We Could Have Imagined

by Kelsey Kaigler


“I can’t get over what a miracle it is watching You transform hearts right in front of me. I don’t deserve it. May I never forget it.”

Silverado counselor Emma Cate “Pink Princess” Williams wrote those words in her journal after her hangtime with Madison Maddux, a fifth grader from Waco, Texas. And she couldn’t have imagined how God would answer that prayer.

Because of plans to move away from their home in Waco, camp wasn’t on the Maddux family’s radar for the summer. So when a friend asked if Madison could come to Pine Cove, they tried to register, but were put on the waitlist.

“We were shooting from the hip if she could even go,” Madison’s mom, Carrie, recalls. But in God’s perfect timing, a few months before camp, Carrie received a call that a spot opened up for Madison at Silverado.


Madison was a first-time camper, but that didn’t stop her from jumping head-first into everything camp had to offer: new adventures (like a zip line, crazy skit characters, and a puppy palace!), new friends, and, of course, time with her counselor, Emma Cate, or “Pink Princess.”

“If there was one word I could describe Madison with, it was eager,” Emma Cate remembers about the impression Madison made. “You could see the joy of camp in her.”

Madison had arrived at camp with an understanding of who God was, but hadn’t accepted Him as her personal Savior. During her hangtime with Emma Cate, she heard the Gospel – the good news that Jesus came to earth, died for her sins, and rose again to give her eternal life – and she understood it.


“She was able to say, ‘I believe it,’ and I could tell she did. And so we prayed outside of the puppy palace,” Emma Cate reflects. “It’s the sweetest thing in the world… how simple the Gospel really is through their eyes, and just the joy that comes from knowing and accepting Jesus.”

Both Madison and Emma Cate were filled with joy! Madison immediately ran around camp telling people the good news that she accepted Jesus. And when she got home, it was the first thing she told her mom.
“I was overjoyed!” Carrie says. “I saw just how impactful a week like that can be… Yes, she’s there to have fun, but she had time to truly think and make that decision. There was meaning behind her decision… She was in the right place at the right time – it was meant to be.”

And the story was only beginning.

At camp, Emma Cate, who is a student at Baylor University, discovered she was a member of the same church in Waco as Madison and her family. She ran into Madison at church a few times throughout the following months, and each time she was greeted with a big smile and an enthusiastic hug.

“It was so sweet seeing her there,” Emma Cate remembers.


As life after camp continued, Madison’s eagerness for camp turned into eagerness to follow Jesus, and she started talking with her mom about taking the next step in her newfound faith. Carrie asked if she felt ready to be baptized, and Madison said yes! After signing up for the church’s next baptism class, Madison was asked who she wanted to baptize her, and she didn’t hesitate to say her counselor, Pink Princess.

With no idea what God had been doing in Madison’s heart, Emma Cate received a text from Carrie asking if she would be willing to baptize her daughter. She was amazed – and so excited.

And she remembered her prayer to not forget the miracle of how God transformed Madison’s heart that week of camp.

The day of her baptism, Madison was – you guessed it – eager. With Emma Cate beside her, she read her testimony out loud to the church.

“I accepted Jesus at Pine Cove this summer,” she declared. “My counselor said, ‘Do you know what accepting Jesus and God in your heart is?’ And I said, ‘A little bit.’ So she explained it to me, and I understood. I was so excited. I am being baptized today because baptism is a symbol of my love and commitment. I am proud to be a Christian and love God.”

Then, as a symbol of her new life in Christ, Emma Cate baptized Madison.


“The Lord truly orchestrated all of this and has a plan long before I could even think of one,” says Emma Cate, calling to mind Ephesians 3:20-21:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

Carrie shares Emma Cate’s amazement over what God did in her daughter’s life. “You can’t try to do that,” she marvels at all the details that fell into place. “…getting into camp, having Emma Cate as a counselor, especially at the last minute. It was even bigger than we could have imagined.”

Posted Jul 26, 2023

Kelsey Kaigler

Former Staff

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