I owe an enormous debt to Free Church Youth Camps.
I began to attend back in the 1960s. I recently met a young student who seemed to know a whole lot about the ’60s. I discovered she had chosen the period as a module in her history degree!
So how did Jesus use these long-ago summers in my life?
Camps were used by him to open my eyes. Growing up in two small churches in Easter Ross, I assumed Christianity was just for older people. I remember my surprise when I met other teenagers at camp who had the same interests as me (mainly football and music) but who were also committed to Christ. I came to realise that Jesus was for my age group too and he opened my eyes to the relevance of his gospel.
Camps were used by him to widen my circle. Every year I would meet friends from past camps and make new friends. When I went to university in Aberdeen, I already knew lots of young people in the Free Church there, from all over Scotland, almost every one of whom I had met at camp.
Camps were used by him to open my mouth. As a camper and then a leader, camps gave me my first opportunities to share my testimony, lead discussions and give talks. This led eventually to full-time ministry in very different contexts: a Highland village, a theological college, a city congregation, a church plant and then part-time preaching in the Hebrides. All because of camps!
May Jesus continue to bless the ministry of our Camps for a long time to come.