As I reflect on my time overseas, some of the fondest memories that I have come from MK camp. I lived in Bulgaria for a total of 4 years, from 2006 to 2010, and was so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience camp, which was something a lot of missionary kids lost when leaving the states.
I still vividly remember the campground…a large house where the girls slept…several tents where the boys slept, one of which was a massive tent I always tried to claim a spot in (and indulge in long nights of playing RISK with the other boys)…a sand volleyball court where so many crazy games were played…I remember the shed where all the archery gear was kept, I remember mountain biking, rock climbing (Genesis and Exodus were their names I think?), but most of all I remember how beautiful of a place it was.
Every night a group of us would go out to stargaze and be in awe of stars so bright and big...of space so eternal and us so small and insignificant. To this day I haven’t experienced beauty so real, so serene, and so powerful. This was where I began to truly understand and know God for myself.
There was a power and excitement that could be felt the moment you arrived…you knew this place was special. It was a place we could come and feel normal again. A place where we could meet more kids similar to us that knew what life was like in another country. It is crazy to think this was over 6 years ago for me.
When people look back on their lives, there are always certain life events or changes that are pivotal in shaping and molding who we become as people. For me, one of those big life events was moving to Europe. MK camp helped ensure that the shaping and molding that occurred in me during my time there was one that was centered around Christ and His love, and His mercy, and His sacrifice, and the way that He called us to live as children of light and to serve Him in all that we do.
6 years later, I have since graduated from Taylor University in Upland, IN where I studied Exercise Science and played collegiate football, and am currently obtaining my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.
I hope to someday use my gifts in physical therapy throughout the mission field, serving and being used by Him and continuing to live a life with values and beliefs that were instilled in me during my time at MK camp.
I loved MK camp so much. It was such a cool experience to be surrounded by so many MKs from many different countries and be able to worship God with them and learn more about who he is. I will never forget all of the amazing people I met there, and all of the fun and awesome memories that were made. MK camp had a very big impact on my life. I know that I will remember all the things I learned and experienced there.
At MK camp I learned about and grew a lot in my faith and about trusting God. The theme of that week really, really helped me to grow in my journey of faith. To today, I have been able to apply that to my life when I need to trust God in every situation. This has helped me so much the past couple months, and I know it will continue to help me in the future. Everything from the deep talks to the fun games and sports has left a part of me full of unforgettable memories and growth in understanding the amazing God that I love.
My first MK Camp came at a difficult time in my life. A couple years before my family had moved to a new area of the country, and the ministry was very busy and challenging. I had left school and friends behind and started an on-line high school program. Loneliness as well as spiritual struggle were a painful reality for me.
So, I viewed MK Camp as a "get-away" with the potential to be fun. I didn't know that it would be a great source of encouragement to me -- so much so that now twelve years later, life's current struggles seem less overwhelming as I reflect on the encouragement I received from my experiences and from the leaders at camp.
The first encouragement I received was the somber lesson from the life of King David, about how important it is to study God's Word. If a man like David, a man after God's own heart, could stray so deeply into sin because of his lack of focus on God, then it was important for me to unfalteringly read and obey God's Word. The theme of camp that year was "One step closer," and I desired to trust God and to know Him more.
The second encouragement was when I approached and talked at length with an older and more experienced MK. She was a missionary and a mother of MKs, and she listened to me. I remember the stars were bright the night we sat outside and talked, and I was able to open up about some of the deepest feelings in my heart. We prayed together, and my loneliness started to seem much less overwhelming, especially in comparison to the life I was being called to live.
Finally, on the last day of camp as we were packing up to leave, the director, Uncle Steve, said to me: "Jacqueline, I've been watching you this week, And I think you have potential of being a leader. So, if you ever want to come back here, just let me know." I think those words are pretty accurate, because I wrote them down in my journal after camp -- and even more, they left a permanent imprint on my mind and heart. I really needed to be affirmed that I was a part of God's plan and that He thought I was worth training for His service. I later had the privilege of serving at MK Camp for two consecutive summers, and that time also molded and guided me in other life decisions.
I wish I could say that life instantly became easier right after that first year at camp, because it didn't. In fact, on the drive home from camp that year, I was informed of some painful events that had taken place in our ministry at home which would greatly alter our lives. My circumstances had not become easier, more difficult in fact, but I had a reassurance in my heart of God's faithfulness and love for me. You see, God used MK camp at a critical period in my life to show me that He was using my circumstances to bring about His redemption work, even when I did not always understand the pain. He used MK Camp to strengthen my relationship with Him.
Thank you, Lord, for MK Camp.
Although I have never attended MK Camp as a camper, it has impacted me with my experience on CREW. My first year on CREW was in the summer of 2015. I was only on for a week, but it was one of the best weeks of the summer. While on the team I also was leading worship and one of the photographers just for the 11-13 y/o camp. One thing I love about CREW is that every single morning after breakfast cleanup, then the team has a Bible study. One thing I love doing is talking about the Bible with others and seeing different points of view on scripture. It is an incredibly insightful time.
Over the week with the team, we developed really good bonds with one another. We would joke around and play games during our time to rest. When it was time to work, people did their jobs and it was so great to see everyone’s willing attitudes to do what they are asked. During CREW you really get to see people’s heart and love for God.
One of my favorite moments from that first summer with DPB was when I led worship and we all sang “Blessed Be Your Name.” All the campers were singing it at the tops of their lungs. It was incredibly encouraging seeing people really focus on the words they were singing and worshiping God in such a genuine way. Every single time I play that song now; I become overjoyed with the memory of camp.
My second time on CREW was in the summer of 2016. I believe that God used that time to encourage and stretch me. He brought incredibly important people into my life who fill me with such immense joy and love. They filled me with such wisdom and guidance when I needed help. The people on CREW that someone serves with are so important because God has placed them there for a specific reason and to have a specific impact on one’s life. I know that because of the people I have served with, they have impacted me for the better.
I remember asking a group of campers who would like to join CREW someday and one said he would like to. I then told him, “It is such an amazing experience, but be prepared to have a layer of sunscreen, bug spray, and sweat on every single day.” In CREW we create so many good memories, but we do a lot of hard work and it ends in taking multiple showers a day. The shared work, though, creates a sense of camaraderie because we all go through the same thing (though, the boys just carry heavier piles of wood). My time on CREW has been some of the best times with teams that I have ever experienced. Although I spent at most two weeks with them, you have a whole new understanding of people and you can know them on a deeper level (thanks to deep conversations by the campfire at night).
All in all, CREW has impacted me. It has changed the way I serve people and how I view service. It is not just something you do in order to please others, but show them the love of God and your love for God. In CREW we joke around, we serve, we love, and we praise God in all we do. In an environment like that, I don’t know how I wouldn’t be impacted. Thanks, DPB!
In the Summer of 2014, when I was 15 years old, I spent a week at MK camp. I went completely closed off to God and with two simple purposes: to make friends, and have fun. Not only did I leave having met some of my closest friends, with memories of fantastic adventures and new experiences, but I left with having given my life to Jesus Christ.
From day one of camp God was tugging at my heart. I was surrounded by other MK’s that had stories similar to mine. Everyone, from the leaders to the other kids at camp were so fun, yet they had something other teenagers didn’t have. As I tried new sports such as rock climbing, archery, and canoeing, I got to see true Christ followers interact with each other. God was so attractive in them.
One morning I woke up early. As I left my room I looked down the hallway and I saw one of the guys sitting and reading his Bible. I was completely fascinated and shocked that someone, a teenage boy of all people, would want to wake up early to spend time in God’s word.
The last night of camp, I finally gave Jesus my all. Since camp, I have grown so much in my relationship with Jesus and I can see and love people how he does. I now understand that God has placed my family overseas to share the hope that I have found in him. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I do know that I will follow him all the days of my life and I am ready and willing to go wherever God sends me.
Hello my name Avery Heston, I am 16 years old and I serve as a MK in Kosovo. I have had the fortunate opportunity to go to Mk camp twice in my life and both times it has impacted my life. Before I went to Mk camp this past year I have never realized the importance of trusting in God.
I have always had faith, but I always found it hard to trust. As we went through the life of Joseph I then realized the importance of trust alone, but ultimately trust in God. Now when a situation comes up and it doesn’t look good I can now find peace because I have trust in God.
I also realized the importance to run away from temptation. Now whenever I am faced with temptation I think of Joseph and how he ran away from it because he knew it wasn’t what God wanted. Now some months after MK camp I feel even more ready in a way that I know what I have to do spiritually to win the tests that God is challenging me with.
Before MK camp I bottled up a lot of emotion in the hope that it would just go away, but as I was at camp I felt the need to share it. I had an awesome leader who was willing to talk and help me through the hard times without judging me. After MK camp I have felt more relieved in the sense that I know more about God and I met people who I can go to for accountability and to talk with when I have hard times.
MK camp is a true blessing and has helped me know God more and His awesome power. Understanding God more has helped me continue life the way God has planned for me.