Throughout their stay here in Birmingham, our campers are celebrating several different American holidays. As we celebrated “the fourth of July” tonight, my thoughts kept returning to the word “freedom” and what it really means. There are so many things in this world that can hold us captive, but to be free from anything is something that should truly be appreciated.
When I arrived at the farm this afternoon, everyone seemed to greet me with the same statement in reference to how the morning had been: “The kids are really getting…..comfortable.” I could tell by the way they carefully chose their words and by the smirk in their eyes that “comfortable” could be replaced with “free” – free to laugh, free to joke around, free to be silly, free to share their feelings…. Even though this freedom meant that there were moments of what appeared to be chaos, I cannot begin to describe the beauty of watching these 13 precious souls experience it. Oh, how I long for each of them to know the freedom of being loved by their forever families one day!
I have already mentioned that freedom can look chaotic at times. Tonight, in particular, there was one moment during the Bible story time when I looked around to see one child blowing bubbles, another child popping the bubbles, yet another child petting a dog, and one sweet girl who had found her place on the stage “helping” the volunteers teach. (She was doing a great job, by the way. She is definitely a leader!)
After the story was over, I wanted to offer encouragement to the generous volunteers who had worked so hard to present a lesson that was meaningful. I promised the lady who was translating for the children that they were listening even when we might not think they are. Her eyes and voice immediately grew serious as she leaned in to tell me about an encounter she’d had earlier with one of the boys. She told me how he had noticed a figurine of “Noah’s Ark” and that he was able to explain the whole story in great detail. When she asked him how he knew that story, he quickly told her he’d learned it here at camp. “They’re listening,” she said. “They get it.”
As the children hear each story and experience each moment, we pray that she’s right – that they “get it” – and that they are coming closer to understanding the gift of the Gospel. There are so many new and different things that we are excited to show our campers, but the most exciting thing we have to offer is the love of Jesus. I invite you to join us in praying that each child can find the most precious freedom available….the freedom they can have in Christ.