Families come to Living Waters for training, connecting and resting.
Hear how campers were impacted by the Senior High Camp program.
By nature, camp creates a unique place where strong bonds of friendship are formed. Camp has the potential for these friendships to last a lifetime. It also creates a unique platform for campers to bond with returning staff and dorm leaders in a special way. Daniel Habel (dorm leader) and David Landis (kids camper) are a prime example of this.
Daniel has been coming to camp since he was a young camper. Over the years, he has returned as volunteer summer staff to serve as a dorm leader. For David, this past kids camp was his third summer attending a full week of camp and he has loved every minute of it! During Daniel’s first week of being a dorm leader and David’s first full week of camp in 2015, these two were placed in the same dorm not knowing what was in store for them. That first week was challenging for them both with new experiences and things to overcome, but as Daniel says, “David is the reason I keep coming back to Kids Camp.”
Knowing what is best for His children, God has richly blessed these two with a friendship built on trust, care, spiritual growth, and just plain old fun, as they have been placed in the same dorm over the past three summers.
You never know what form God’s blessings will come in or how He will bring Himself glory through our relationships and circumstances. So take it from Daniel and David that being open to new things and people could open up a door of growth and opportunity to let the light of Jesus shine through your life and in turn, draw you closer to Him.
It's been 35 years since I (Paul Thompson) was a Boys Camper. I have fond memories of running around playing capture the flag, competing in athletic events, swimming and even committing my life to the Lord. I loved camp so much and only dreamed of one day serving as the director. Well, this year my dream came true. With the help of my good friend Andy Douglass, I directed Boys Camp!
On June 25th, we welcomed 57 Boys Campers and 23 volunteers into the valley for an exciting week of camp. We played games, experienced nature programs, studied God's Word and all around had a great time. Just like I used to when I was boy!
Directing was certainly full of challenges, joy and personal growth. Our theme was 'Built On The Rock' and we learned about Jesus' parable of the wise man and foolish man from Matthew chapter seven. I must admit my own view of this parable was challenged and stretched. I had a picture, in my mind, of a small house built on the rock and small house built on the sand. A little bit of wind and rain comes and down goes the house on the sand. Boy was I wrong! At the beginning of the week we showed the campers a video of a lighthouse built on rock engulfed in the ocean tide. It stood strong against massive waves! This is the new picture in my mind of what it's like to build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ and what it is like when the storms of life come.
In talking with the young men at Boys Camp, it became evident that many of them live a life like this lighthouse being beaten by heavy waves. They come from difficult places and live hard lives. My heart is broken for these young men, but I rest assured that they heard the truth of God's Word, the only thing that will help them in hard times.
Directing Boys Camp was a true blessing. It was so encouraging to witness 57 young men beginning to build their own "house" on the rock. As they leave camp, I pray that they will continue to lay spiritual bricks on top of the firm foundation begun at camp. And, Lord willing, we will all return next year to learn even more.
This year’s Foundation Campers “failed” more TAC (Team Adventure Challenge) elements than any other group in past years; but because of that failure, they became some of the most teachable. Designed specifically for those interested in developing a solid foundation for growing in their spiritual life, Foundation Camp is an intense, two-week Bible Study and personal assessment that will reveal both strengths and weaknesses. Through teaching times, TAC, service projects, and evangelism training/experience the campers were challenged to grow both physically and spiritually. As taught in their “Core Training” sessions, growth happens at the point of resistance. Sometimes it takes multiple failures and wrong turns for a person to start paying attention to what God is saying to them and begin to make changes in their life. By experiencing defeat over and over again, the campers learned valuable lessons that united them in the end.
One specific TAC element that was especially a challenge was the jump rope. To describe in words: two people hold a 30 foot rope and swing it around. The group needs to organize themselves so that they get 10 groups of people under the rope in ascending order, starting with one person, then two, and so on. This means that some people in the group need to run back to the other side to go through again. And again. And again. The Foundation Campers attempted to complete the jump rope challenge several times on two separate days. But they never finished it. It was a source of frustration for many and yet they never gave up.
However, not every moment was as discouraging as the jump rope. Something that the campers excelled at was being teachable.
One of the campers shared that she enjoyed "learning about God’s story in their early morning Bible study--how the Bible is all one big picture." (Makala Willette)
Another camper mentioned a highlight of his was "when the whole group circled up to pray in the evenings before heading to their covered wagons." (James Swim)
“During one TAC element, we had to put all of our weight on another person to keep ourselves up. This was supposed to resemble how we need to put all of our hope and trust in God, not just some, but all.” (Emma Everhart)
“I think that one of the lessons I learned/was reminded of was how powerless we are to stop sin and therefore we desperately need Jesus as our savior.... and we need Him after we're saved, we don't just use Him as a tool for salvation and then throw Him away. We have to constantly come back to Him for guidance and to grow in our walks.” (Josiah Riley)
Throughout the two weeks, the team leaders coached their campers to work towards a personal growth goal. Every person was willing to make changes in their life and responded with humility when a team leader pointed out a growth area. But the top highlight of the two weeks came on the very last day.
At the end of their closing ceremony when the parents were gathered together with their sons and daughters, the campers were told they would have one last chance to successfully complete the jump rope challenge. Almost immediately, they circled up to form a quick strategy and to pray one last time. They were given just one practice and one final try. Running through a practice run, they almost completed it. Finally, they went for it one last time. They counted down: five...four...three...two...one! And one-by-one, each group ran through the rope all the way up to ten. The campers could hardly believe it. Everything they had worked towards came together at the very end. It was a picture of the past two weeks--a pattern of failure, then reflection, then action.
“I learned that it's in the hard times, when you're most tired, most miserable, when your heart is most in turmoil, that you find God. I found that His unconditional presence in my life and His never failing peace were most vivid when storms were raging around me; in both a figurative and literal sense.” (Sofia Hadley)
How you can pray for the Foundation Campers:
Pray that the lessons they have learned and the goals they set over the past two weeks would not be forgotten now that camp is over but would carry over and become habits.
Pray for accountability partners and people in their lives that would encourage them to finish the race strong.
Pray for leadership opportunities and ways for them to grow through the “failures” in life.
Every year, around 15 young adults (12 this year) come together from various states to spend the summer working side-by-side. They leave their homes and families and exchange familiarity for novelty. They sacrifice their comfort zones for challenges and growth. Some are drawn by the opportunity to teach the campers about God’s creation through nature programs, while others want to serve behind-the-scenes--handling paperwork, guest services, and media. Many are in between making important life decisions, such as which college to attend, and they hope that a Christian camp experience will encourage them in the right direction. Others are simply drawn to the strong community of fellowship between believers and they find themselves coming back year after year. But the motive that truly brings all these people to the same place is the mission to glorify God by serving where He has called them.
A few of the 2017 summer staff shared some of their thoughts on their experience of camp so far:
What brings people to want to join summer staff (either for the first time or to return)?
“Past experience knowing how much I’ve been able to learn and grow here,” Lydia Siler describes as the reason she is about to spend her third summer on staff at Living Waters. Many experiences are meant to stretch a person and bring them out of their comfort zone enough to experience spiritual growth.
Another veteran, Aubrey Hart, adds, “Camp would not be camp without the people.” The community is strong because most are working towards the same purpose and have many shared experiences.
Kristin Green, a new addition to the team, hopes to work in camp ministry overseas one day and jumped at the opportunity to serve close to home in a similar environment. She says Living Waters is a “great way to be able to serve here and be used where I’m at.”
Fellowship. Encouragement. Growth. The chance to serve close to home and use the gifts God has blessed each person with. These are a few of the reasons that draw people to camp.
What is involved with training?
Summer staff members spend a week-and-a-half preparing for the campers. They go over camp policies and safety procedures and are trained to run activities such as the climbing wall. TAC (Team Adventure Challenge) is both a part of their team building and leadership training. Each department prepares them to assist the full-time staff in specific areas around camp.
Lydia Deitz recalls a highlight for her during the past week, “Definitely the trust fall,” she says. “It was way out of my comfort zone and it required me to rely on people who I didn’t know very well yet.”
Makala Willette mentions her highlight was “getting to know each other before the rush of summer.”
How can you pray for the summer staff?
Unity: Being able to work together as one is essential when so many people are involved.
Grace with one another: Lack of sleep and different personalities can contribute to tension or misunderstandings between people. Pray that the summer staff would be quick to listen and forgive.
Energy and endurance: Working at a computer and teaching a nature program both require mental/physical stamina. Also, without a maintenance summer staff position filled this year, the overall workload is increased for everyone.
An attitude of thankfulness! Energy is enough to “push through” a task but the goal is to fully take joy in the Lord and this ministry.
Focus: It is easy to get caught up in needs at home and decisions to be made after summer ends. While those things may need to be addressed, it is important to be able to focus on what needs to get done today so that those things outside of camp can be addressed at another time.
Above all, please pray that the summer staff would be a reflection of God’s glory, that all who come into contact with Living Waters Bible Camp would come to know the Creator better through how they are taught, loved and served by the staff.
If you would like to contribute financially to the summer staff please click here.
In today’s busy life, families are being pulled in every direction. Kids are involved in school and sports programs. Parents often feel more like a taxi service than a family. Working adults are stretched by work and ministry commitments. For many, the thought of a vacation is alluring but elusive. Planning, packing, cooking, and expenses are often too much for a working parent. Sometimes the trip itself is more exhausting than regular life!
Yet the vacation is an essential part of building bonds as a family. Time together is possibly the single most important priority a family can have.
If you are looking for a wonderful and memorable vacation for your family, consider joining us July 5-8th at Living Waters Bible Camp. Here are three compelling reasons why Family Camp is right for your family!
1. The kids love it! This will be a vacation they will talk about for years to come. Camp is the best place for a kid. There are lots of new friends to meet and many meaningful activities such as:
- Creation based nature programs
- Climbing tower
- Zip line
- Groups games and free time
2. It’s easy for parents! You pack the bags…we’ll do the rest. Drive into the valley and join the program. No need to plan anything!
- Wonderful meals you don’t have to cook!
- Kid Caddy (Living Waters staff member) to help watch and care for your children
- Affordable! Register for camp and that’s it. All the activities and programs are included!
- Dorms include bathrooms and air conditioning
3. Time with family in a Christian community. Camp is a safe place for your family.
- Worship time together
- Creation programs for the children
- Sessions on Biblical parenting practices for parents
- Programs with a purpose
- A safe Christ focused environment
- Fellowship with other believers
This spring marks the end of the second year of the Living Waters Teleios program. It’s hard to believe we’ve already completed two years. The word Teleios is a Greek word found in the key verse Colossians 1:28-29, “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature (Greek: teleios) in Christ. To this end we labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in us.
The mission of the Teleios program is to propel students toward maturity in Christ, so that the power of the life of Christ can be unleashed in them as they obey His command to make disciples of all nations. In this second year of the program, we welcomed Simon Maurer from Belgium and Makala Willette from Minnesota. Makala has been a longtime camper at Living Waters while Simon literally had no idea what he was getting into. He just came to learn English.
Through serving at camp, evening Bible studies, Teleios classes, prayer meetings, and living with a family in ministry, the students are challenged to grow in their walk with Christ and their service to His kingdom.
Simon said that he “came to learn English but God brought him here for another purpose.” You see, Simon knew about God but did not know Him as his Lord and Savior when he came to Living Waters. Simon committed his life to the Lord this year and plans to return to school in Belgium to study linguistics. He says he is considering a calling to Bible translation someday.
Makala came to learn more about food service but also grew emotionally and spiritually. She started in the kitchen last fall helping where needed and now she is a head cook for meals for our guest groups. She also testifies of the growth she has encountered this past year. She plans to continue to serve in the kitchen this summer as Summer Staff.
Makala and Simon served long and hard alongside the full-time staff at camp. It was such a joy to watch them grow through challenge and learn from experience. It is with sadness that we say good bye to Makala and Simon but we are grateful to God for the way He worked in their lives and through the ministry of Living Waters. Simon returned home last week and Makala will soon return to serve on Summer Staff.
If you or someone you know would be interested in the training available through Teleios please review the program on our website.
Preseason is just a few days away and the team will assemble at camp soon. Preseason training will be intense but the team will be ready when the regular season opens. Opening day will be here before we know it! No, I’m not talking about baseball, I’m talking about the 2017 Living Waters Bible Camp Summer Staff. June 7th marks the arrival of our exceptional team members who will be serving this summer.
Fifteen young people will commit the next 2 and half months of their lives to serving the Lord at camp. Their duties will vary from answering phones to facilitating nature programs. Each one will go through a week and a half of training, while a few first timers will continue for two more weeks of training in Foundation Camp. All of this training will prepare the team for seven weeks of intense service.
Please pray for these young people. Serving on Summer Staff can be one of the most spiritually and physically challenging experiences of a lifetime. Pray that the team has hearts and minds prepared to continue the mission and goals of camp, and that they stay focused throughout the summer.
This year’s staff includes; Lydia Dietz in Guest Services, Jmee Felten in Dorm/Kitchen, Aubrey Hart in Photography, Rebekah Loew in Program, Kellyn Maurer in Marketing/Media, Lydia Siler in Program, Jacob Campbell in Program, Kristin Green in Program, Caleb Hadley in Program, Ethan Hart in Video, Makala Willette in Kitchen, Joelle Cannon in Office.
If you would like to contribute to these young adults serving at camp please visit the donor page. We hope you make it down to camp this summer to meet each one of them!
The Door of Hope is a Pregnancy and Family Help Center in Viroqua, WI. By providing pregnancy and family services they are able to minister to people in their time of need. On April 8th, Living Waters Bible Camp hosted a special 25th anniversary banquet for supporters of the Door Of Hope.
The first time event welcomed about 80 area Pastors, supporters, and those generally interested in the ministry. The program included several speakers:
Sue Berg who started Door Of Hope 25 years ago in obedience to the voice of the Lord.
Rachel Niemeyer, Director of the Door Of Hope, talked about what is happening now and what the vision is for the future. Rachel shared how, in the past month, the Door Of Hope has had over 90 hours of one on one time with clients in need. This is where they partner with parents emotionally, physically and spiritually through one on one classes and discussions educating them on parenting from pregnancy through the teenage years.
Pastor Bruce Milleman encouraged participants with a pro-life message. Patti Broxham, the newest member of the board, shared a heart-warming story of the provision provided to a new client, as well as video testimonials about other clients and what The Door Of Hope has meant to them.
The banquet opened up with prayer and closed with heartfelt thanks to all in attendance and to all who have been faithful supporters over the years.
Door of Hope leadership said "Thank you to Living Waters Bible Camp for partnering with Door of Hope and making it a wonderful night for us all. Living Waters is truly a wonderful and caring place. They truly serve their community. The wonderful dinner that Living Waters prepared and served made for a great time of fellowship and learning more about The Door Of Hope."
By partnering in ministry with Living Waters, The Door Of Hope achieved their goals of community awareness, fundraising and enlisting volunteers.