After a long summer spent pouring themselves out for the sake of the Gospel, approximately 150 Pine Cove staffers won’t go home to catch up on movies, do mountains of laundry, or start preparing to return to school. They’ll stay at camp for an extra week to keep on pouring.
On August 7th, those 150 staffers will jump in the gauntlet one more time. But this time they’ll be jumping for campers that come with five Texas partner programs. These 300 campers will arrive at Pine Cove—half of them in Central Texas and half in East Texas—for Rally Week, an intentional five-day window set aside for ministry and outreach.
“It’s a week where the whole region gets to come together to put on camp for inner city ministries to come in and have a week to end their summer programs,” Annelise shares. “It’s just fun, and they get to learn about Jesus and experience camp and have an experience that they normally wouldn’t get to have. And so through this partnership, we get to provide free camp for 152 kids who normally wouldn’t be able to come to camp!”
Ellie “Lunar Toons” Buchanan, Associate Director at the Ranch, knows the time she and the rest of the East Texas Rally Week staff have with the kids from the Mentoring Alliance, For the Nations, and STARS is limited.
“Rally Week is shorter than a normal week of camp. And so how could we have eyes to be really effective with that time and not waste an opportunity to really invest spiritually in these campers, even if they aren’t here for a full week or even if they come from backgrounds or families or nations that we aren’t familiar with?”
One of the coolest aspects of Rally Week is the picture it paints of unity.
“Last year’s Rally Week was the clearest view of the Kingdom of Heaven,” Ellie shares, “And how so many different nations and so many different races and so many different backgrounds were represented at camp and just the sweetness of that imagery of people on camp property of all different skin tones, all different races, all different ethnicities, symbolically coming together.”
That unity also extends to our summer staffers, who step up from all of our Texas locations to help run camp for these kids.
“Last year on opening day, our gauntlet was all different colored opening day shirts. And so just seeing the unity that was on display was one of the most visual lessons that I feel like the Lord taught me of like, ‘Oh, wow, this is such an accurate view of the world and of God’s people,” Ellie recalls.
Annelise echoes the same sentiment. “It’s really cool for our staff to not only come together as a region and experience the unity that comes when you’re an Outback staffer, working next to a Ridge staffer, working next to Silverado staffer, and kind of doing camp altogether, but also in getting to connect with kids that wouldn’t normally get to come to camp.”
These kids that come experience camp, many of them for the first time, will get to participate in everything that makes up a week at Pine Cove, from the activities and theme nights to Club, skits, and more. One of the best parts is that they get to experience this right alongside their mentors and leaders from the programs that come along with them! It’s a perk that ends up blessing the mentors as well as the campers.
“We just give them a chance to play and not have to think about work, and for them to also get to experience the fun silliness of camp!” Ellie explains. “So one of the parts of it that I love the most is getting to just encourage and bless and create space for ministry partners—the adults themselves—to just get to be refreshed by their time at Pine Cove.”
Just like any other week at Pine Cove, our staff has their eyes fixed on one main goal: sharing the Gospel.
“Hebrews 4:15-16 says, ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,'” Annelise shares. “So that’s our theme of Rally Week this summer in hopes of communicating to campers: you have a Savior who is close to you now. He is not distant. He knows what it’s like to live on earth. He knows the pain that we experience, He’s petitioning on our behalf and allowing us to receive mercy from our Father and find grace in times of need. So I’m excited for how that verse will stir in the hearts of campers this summer.”
We are so thankful for the many donors and supporters who partner with us to make Rally Week possible. We truly would not be able to do it without them!
Another way you can partner with us as we embark on another year of Rally Week in just a few days? Kneel down with us and petition the Lord on behalf of these staffers and campers.
“This request is the pretty obvious one, but our staff gets tired and it’s literally asking them to go one week more and after a really full long summer,” Ellie says. “So pray for endurance, for them to not grow weary of doing good and that they would genuinely be connected to the source, and not just be trying to live out of their own strength and energy and power!”
You can also be in prayer for the campers who will be on their way here soon.
“We asked in our meeting with our ministry partners how we could be praying for their kids,” Annelise shares. “And both of them said there’s just been a lot of heavy things happening in the communities that they’re based out of, and some have directly affected the kids. And so I think the biggest prayer is just that campers’ hearts would be soft to the Gospel, that they would come to camp knowing that it’s okay to be broken and it’s okay if things this past summer were hard or confusing, but that the Lord wants to come alongside them and help in their time of need. So be praying for campers to have soft hearts. Be praying that the Lord would stir in the hearts of His children and that people would be drawn near to Him through the week as well.”
Posted Aug 1, 2022