Summer Camp Stories 2018
By Alice Clarke
It’s official: summer camp this year was EPIC!
Here’s a roundup of highlights from Catch The Fire camps in Raleigh and Toronto this summer.
Kids Camp: Catch The Fire Toronto
Theme: Valuing and Understanding
“We don’t do kiddie stuff at all,” said Sandra Abrahams, kids pastor at Catch The Fire Toronto. The kids camp theme this year was about understanding the value of God’s presence and the value of God’s glory, and learning how to focus on that.
Miracles in the Lake
“The lake was the huge highlight!” said Sandra.
This year, the campers lost an unusual amount of things in the lake, including a wedding ring, two pairs of earrings, glasses, a bracelet and sunglasses.
Brandon, Sandra’s husband lost his wedding ring early on. Sandra recalled the story: “One of our little girls, Willow, was in the lake three days later. There were 60 kids playing in it for four hours a day. She said ‘Holy Spirit, I want to find Mr. Brandon’s ring.’ Holy Spirit said, ‘Stop, and bend down.’ So she bent down and brought up a huge handful of sand, and there was his ring!”
Anna, one of the campers, said, “I lost my earring. It was a tiny little stud... I was way more sad than I should be. [A few days later] I’m in the lake just goofing off and I feel something poking me at my side that I didn’t feel before, and I go to see if it’s something in my bathing suit, and the earring is there. And I lost it days before!”
Everything that was lost in the lake was found!
“We had 6 kids saved and 8 or 9 baptized in the lake,” added Sandra.
Worship for hours
“Worship was amazing,” said Esther, one of the campers, “Every day we would go for three hours straight and you could just feel the presence of God.”
“I asked 20 kids what their favourite part was, and they said worship,” said Sandra, “They’re less inhibited. They get 100% caught up. It’s innocent and it’s really sweet because there’s such an authenticity there.”
Rebekah shared her experience at kids camp, “We were praying and asking God for a miracle because we were learning about miracles. So, of course, I was praying for a kitten! That was Wednesday night. My auntie found five kittens the next morning on her doorstep. Later, I saw my dad’s messages, and I saw this picture of this adorable kitten, and I’m like, ‘Daddy are we getting a kitten?’ My mum does not like animals in her house. So it was completely a miracle because she told me when I grow up and move out I can get a kitten. It’s a miracle, I have the kitten at my house right now!”
Youth Camp: Catch The Fire Raleigh
Theme: Born Again
“We felt the Holy Spirit press it upon our hearts to talk about what it actually means to be born again and how we can live that life,” said Aaron Ninaber, youth pastor at Catch The Fire Raleigh.
“We had an incredible time,” said Jess Ninaber, youth pastor, “God crashed in as He always does and encountered us, met us, and transformed us from the inside out. We had a ton of fun doing it too!”
“We had someone healed of deafness,” said Aaron, “He came with hearing aids. A couple of our leaders prayed for this guy named Michael. He had his hearing aids out and they were whispering and stepping back and he could hear them perfectly fine. He had also been in a motorcycle accident and snapped his thigh bone, and couldn’t run. And he was running and participating! It was awesome!”
Overcome by the Holy Spirit
Ava, aged 15, was impacted by the Holy Spirit: “Earlier this year in March I lost a really good friend to suicide. It shocked me because you hear about these things and then when it happens, it’s real. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it a lot, so I just kind of kept it inside. A girl came up to me [one night] as I was receiving, and she was like, ‘any pain that you feel that you have to carry for someone in your family or a close friend, God’s saying it’s off of you.’ I just started crying and I just could not speak English and from that moment on until I woke up the next morning. Tongues were the only thing that could come out of my mouth.
“There was another girl who was speaking in tongues and we could understand each other perfectly fine, but no one else could understand us. It was crazy to be touched by the Lord in that way.”
Youth Camp: Catch The Fire Toronto
Theme: All In
“The prize is Jesus,” said Melanie Rogato, youth pastor at Catch The Fire Toronto. The theme for camp came from the story of Joshua and Caleb, who were the only ones of the 12 that went to scout out the promised land that came back with a positive report. “They decided to go for it, to be all in,” said Melanie.
“In the mornings we did the encounter weekend topics, which we’ve never done at camp,” said Melanie, “It’s like when [the scouts] saw the giants, they were afraid. So we’re dealing with the giants in the youth’s lives.”
Saved and baptized at camp
A 13-year-old boy had come to the Friday night youth meeting 5 months before, from a family that didn’t believe in God at all. “He comes to camp, full-on commits his life to Jesus, gets baptized, and is absolutely on fire for God,” said Jonatas Rogato, youth pastor.
“We had four kids give their lives to Jesus on the first night,” said Melanie.
Met by the Father
Jonatas shared another camper’s story: “This girl had a very rough relationship with her dad. The story is really heartbreaking. Then halfway through camp, she’s like, ‘God, I’m hearing about the Father’s love. I’ve never felt it, I’ve never felt that love from my father, but could I feel it from you?’ All of a sudden in the ministry time she feels a hand touching her arm, and she hears ‘Daughter, I love you, and I’m here with you.’”
Walking with no pain
“We do crazy games, absolutely insane games,” said Jonatas, “This is what camp is about, it’s about fun and presence. This guy runs into a picnic table and drops on the floor. I needed to carry him a long way back to his cabin. He used crutches the entire week.
“On the last night, the presence was so thick while we were worshipping. None of the leaders were praying for him. One other youth touches his leg. Immediately, he feels the fire shooting down his leg and his back, and he drops his crutches and starts walking with no pain at all!”