“But when adults speak up for the vulnerable and the weak, working and demanding that safety and respect prevail, God’s little lambs are protected and nourished. They know they are not abandoned; they are loved. And the world becomes a little more like heaven as a result.” – Wess Stafford, Too Small to Ignore:Why Children Are the Next Big Thing
I work for a kid’s camp that shares the gospel with precious little people who I’ve come to love and care for with a deep part of my heart. If you were to draw a diagram of my (metaphorical) heart, a huge part of it would be sectioned off for my sweet Camp Good News Kids.
They’re the reason I keep coming back year after year to the CEF headquarters in Paris, Ontario. They’re the reason I’m ok with the long hours, sun burns, exhaustion and busyness of summer camp life.
I first got involved with Camp Good News (CGN) when I was seventeen. I was painfully shy, but wanted to try serving others like my older sister did, so I committed to working in the kitchen at camp for a week. Working in the kitchen lead to leading some small groups for girls at camp, and then becoming a counselor for a few weeks the next summer. A few years later, I interned for CGN, and now this is my third year working for Camp Good News as camp administrator.
I’m passionate about working with children because I see that, so often, children get overlooked. They don’t always have the same opportunities that adults have, the same ability to stand up for themselves, or the same discernment to know what choices are safe and good for them to make. These factors make children vulnerable. It makes them in a position where they need love and guidance, encouragement, care, positivity, and prayer for them to thrive. And not all kids get enough of those things.
You know the age old concept that when a ship is sinking, women and children are the first to be helped into the life boats? The young, the elderly, and the vulnerable are the ones who, in this traditional view, are helped to survive, and then the strong find their way after helping the weaker ones. Secular singer-rapper Dessa wrote a lyric that illustrated how she believed the concept of “the vulnerable are helped by the strong” is a myth. She says, “Women, children – Let me tell you, I’ve been both – and it’s a lie, we all swim for the lifeboats.” She’s saying that she’s been a child, and she is a woman, and it’s all a lie – we all do what we can to survive, and no one pauses to help the other. It is survival of the fittest, of the strongest, and of the fastest; and the slow, weak, young or old are left to fend for themselves.
In God’s kingdom that is not the way it should be. In God’s family, we look out for each other. We care for one another, especially the vulnerable ones.
This is the very heartbeat of God, as it says in Psalm 72:4, “May he vindicate the afflicted among the people; may he save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor”, and again in Psalm 140:12, “I know that the LORD upholds justice for the poor and defends the cause of the needy” (BSB).
When we love the vulnerable, we are living out God’s instructions on earth, and as a result, the earth looks “a little more like heaven.”
In His justice, Jesus will return to instigate the Kingdom of Heaven, where the last shall be first, the poor and downtrodden will be lifted up, and God will reign in perfect love. That day has not come yet, but God has told us to live according to the rules of His kingdom already – to live out His instructions on earth.
“The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. It beckons us to gamble all, to trust radically, to come and die so that we might live–to give our lives away. Giving life away is a paradox. It’s losing so we can win. It’s giving so we can receive…It’s faith. ” – Ken Wytsma, Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger Things
In God’s kingdom, we don’t spend our time seeking our own glory, our own safety, or our own “lifeboat”. No, we love others like we love ourselves, because we love God more than anything else, and He gave us this love to give away.
“This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – (1 John 4:9-11, BSB)
That’s why I keep coming back to Camp Good News – I want to share the love of God with children like God has shown love to me.
If you are interested in praying for the ministry of Camp Good News this summer, financially sponsoring a child to come to camp, or receiving a few periodic updates from me with stories, prayer requests, etc from my time working at camp, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading and God bless!