6/22/2007

The Joy of Bible Camp

I love camp.

When I was 7 years old, my mom sent me off to boys camp at UPBC (Upper Peninsula Bible Camp). I was not very good at it. I made few friends, hated the water (I sink), and even at that age was annoyed at the way the campers only liked songs where they got to yell or jump around.

Still, there were three very good things. First, we got to go on a one-night camping trip. I could hike around the edge of a lake for long periods of time by myself, or stare into the fire and think. I quickly fell in love with camping.

Second, we played a lot of capture the flag. At the time I was too short to outrun people and get the flag, but I was quick enough to be very good at defense.

Third, I had my birthday during the week, and one of the staff girls gave me a kiss on the cheek in front of the whole camp. Very cool.

So, I came back. And then came back again. And again. With only a couple of exceptions, camp became my primary place to relax and grow as a person during the summer months. At camp I did the ropes course and swung from trees, learned to kayak and canoe, camped, and built relationships. I was introduced to what would become one of my top-two favorite sports, Ultimate Frisbee. I learned how to relate to girls. I learned to work hard, serving on staff for half a summer. I learned how to be a teacher and a leader, and eventually a pastoral figure by being a counselor. I was taught manhood and godliness. I had opportunity to see solid men of God wrestle with tough discernment issues. And of course, I heard the Bible preached clearly and with great passion.

I would not be the same without camp. Life made up of struggles and frustrations, strengths and foibles. Camp brought those out and taught me to understand them in ways that were more intense and more revealing than daily life in school ever could. It was one of many powerful shapers of my thinking and personality growing up.

Today we begin our trip back to camp, to yet again experience camp in a new way. I’m nervous and excited, worried about doing well and yet certain the Holy Spirit will accomplish his purposes. Once again, I am sure God will find a new way to teach, expand, and strengthen me for his purposes. I hope that whatever you are doing this summer, you are able to find experiences that do the same for you.

UPBC, here we come!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just stumbled upon your BLOG and wanted to say thanks for wanting to be a great male role model for the young men attending UPBC. I don't know which session you will be at, but my son (he's 12) is attending boy's camp for his second year in a couple of weeks and I am excited about the opportunity for him to interact with Godly men.

I am in prayer for you as well as the other men and women who are giving their talent as leaders and speakers to the boys (and girls) at camp.

If you are a regular attendee of UPBC, you might know my pastor and friend, Bruce Black. He and his family have been a blessing to me and my family for the last several years, and I know they are very involved in UPBC as well. If you see him, tell him the Kirby's said "hi!"

God will surely bless your time at UPBC - His word never returns void. Keep plugging along, and I will definitely check your BLOG now and then to see how school's going! God bless!!

Anonymous said...

camp was amazing.
just amazingggggg.

-graceyfaceyyyy

amanda said...

it is great to see your eager anticipation and how God worked through this...