April/May Update

Dear Friends,

This month we want to take some time to tell you about the ministry we are a part of, and the place it holds in our hearts.

This year specifically, I have become aware of how deep within our hearts camping ministry runs. My (Danielle) grandparents served for 12 years at a camp ground in New Mexico, and this year they will have a building dedicated to them on Bonita Park Camp Ground: the Thornton Aquatic Center. I know that my grandfather, Joe, is cheering it on from heaven!

I spent seven years of my childhood at Bonita Park -- my dad always said that a Christian Camp ground was the closest thing he’d ever found to a mission station! Having lived on both a mission station and on three camp grounds, including now LifeChange Camp, I would agree! Both mission stations and camp grounds are small, close-knit communities of people who are dedicated to living their lives all about the ministry they are involved in. They both are places set apart for the glory of God, a “city on a hill,” for the purpose of showing the world the light and love of the Gospel. In both a mission station and a camp ground, the team of people we serve with becomes our family -- through the good and the bad! We learn lessons together about teamwork, Christlike love, sacrificial service, uplifting conversation, and fearless faith.

What is this “camping” ministry we are all so crazy about? Well, it is certainly not just about a bunch of cabins in the woods! It is about creating space for God to work in the lives of those who come: children, teens, families, women, men. The Christian Camping Association (of which we are a member) reports that the average US child spends less than 40 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with their parents. These same children watch, on average, 270 minutes of day of television, and 7.5 hours a day on electronics. (powerofcamp.com) Some studies have indicated that the action- and stress- packed world in which our children now live is a major factor in the rising rates of depression, ADHD, and other mental disorders. (http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood)  

While we cannot fix the entire world for these children and families, we CAN provide one entire week out of the year in which these kids can get away. Can we show you where we work and what we do? (note: this video was uploaded using YouTube, so it gives you an option to watch other, unrelated videos by other users once this video is over. Just a heads up.) 

One aspect of LifeChange Camp is that it is a partner-supported ministry. This means that we rely on people like to you to be a part of our team: either financially, through volunteer work, or through prayer. In order for us (the Stephensons) to serve here, we need an average of $2000/month, 75% of which is provided by LifeChange. Of the $500/month left for us to raise, we are currently averaging 25% support.

We would love for you to prayerfully consider joining our team: eight $50/month or sixteen $25/month partnerships would allow us to reach our goal!  You can give online here: http://lifechangecamp.org/get-involved/giving

We also want to invite you to join us in prayer this summer, especially for these requests:
  1. We NEED male counselors for this summer! Please pray with us that God would lead some young men to come pour their lives into these kids this summer.
  2. For our full-time team here to continue to work together in harmony and exhibit Christ-like love throughout this busy, hectic season.
  3. For continued leading and provision toward the goal of housing on camp for our family.
  4. That God would be preparing the hearts and minds of all those who will be joining our team for this summer: counselors, assistant counselors, dishwashers, lawn mowers, garden weeders, song singers -- every person who will be ministering here.
  5. That God also would be preparing the hearts and minds of the kids who will be passing through our doors. That the words we will say to them and the songs we will sing with them and the lessons we will teach to them would fall on “good soil” … that they will be able to absorb the love of Jesus during their week here, and would leave renewed, refreshed, and with Lives that have been Changed.

Finally, if you think you would like to volunteer here for a portion of the summer: woohoo! Write me and let’s talk about it!

Thank you guys so much for being a part of our lives. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Morgan, Danielle, Theron, and Lula Stephenson

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