Recipe with Global Impact
Prepare with countless hours of prayerful planning. Mix together 40-60 campers ages 9-13, three to five missionaries-in-residence, 10 to 12 volunteer counselors with a heart for missions, and a team of energetic support staff. Stir in generous helpings of thematic programming, innovative activities focused on articulating one’s faith, sharing the gospel, and prayer. Combine with heaping tablespoons of creativity, team building, initiative, problem solving, and leadership development. Add hearts full of enthusiasm for reaching the world with the good news of the gospel. Blend in plenty of humor and hard work. Allow time for God to soften hearts. Simmer for five days as the Holy Spirit leads. Keeps forever. Serves countless people around the world.
The above “generic” recipe provides a general overview of Kid Missions Camp. Each year a different theme spices up the focus of challenging campers as we explore an unreached people group, world religion, or people at risk. The results are never the same as the combination of campers, staff, missionaries, and guests changes every year. But a broader worldview, greater understanding of God’s heart for the world, and sensitivity to his call to “go and tell” are guaranteed regardless of the mix.
Kids Missions Camp began 13 years ago with the vision of Doug Hazen, Northwest regional director of WorldVenture, a missions organization celebrating 70 years of serving as a catalyst for global gospel movements. Doug knew that many current missionaries were children when they first responded to God’s call to serve abroad. He was also aware that a generation of long-term missionaries was reaching retirement age. “Who will be the missionaries of the 2020s and beyond?”, he asked. “How are we equipping the children of today for a very different world of missions than previous generations?”
When God connected me with Doug at Mission ConneXion (Portland’s annual missions conference) nearly three years ago, I didn’t know he was going to have to give up Kids Missions Camp or that many people were praying this wouldn’t happen. Doug didn’t know someone with a calling and passion for kids, missions, and camp was open to whatever God had in store. You could say it was a recipe he’d been planning all along.
A professional camp perspective has added some new dynamics to the mix of Kids Missions Camp. We’ve articulated our philosophy and are seeking God’s direction as we develop a ministry plan. We’re transitioning to the name of WorldVenture Camps, moving to Tilikum’s Northridge site, and planning a weekend Family Missions Camp for summer 2014. I am trusting God to increase my “larder” of support funds and welcome partners whose hearts have been stirred to keep the provisions stocked. Our vision is to take the recipe and ingredients for these programs beyond the Northwest and ultimately around the world. We already have invitations to Jordan, Italy, Mexico, and Bangladesh.
God has cooked up some exciting results with Kids Missions Camp alumni over the years. Some have pursued missions as their college major. Others have served overseas as teachers and missionaries-in-training. Chazz coordinates WorldVenture’s Journey Corp program for post high school—young adults who want to explore how God might use them in missions. Lauren and Leslie returned home and started their own non-profit ministry at the ages of 13 and 14. Six years later Hope2Others is operating in 34 states.
Hannah’s journey is one story that’s been brewing for a while. In the three years I’ve known Hannah, her call to missions has continued to grow. Our theme in 2012 was Refugee Life. This year we explored how we are chosen to help spread the gospel (2 Peter 2:9) and how to share the good news with God’s chosen people. Toward the end of camp, Hannah stated she thinks she wants to work with refugees. She then asked, “Are there any Jewish refugees?” I couldn’t help but smile as I responded, “all over the world.” It will be exciting to see what God’s recipe for her life will yield in the future. How is God stirring your heart to fulfill his mission?
Doug and I will be sharing more about WorldVenture Camps on Sunday, November 17. Join us at 12:15 in the social hall for food, fellowship, games, crafts, and more.
Learn more about Mission ConneXion—January 17-18, 2014, by clicking here.