Camp Aura, Aura, New Jersey
July 6-10, 2009
Upon our return from Rockford, Illinois, on Saturday (the 4th), we met Mom at the Pittsburgh Airport. She drove up all by herself to meet us and to bring other luggage we needed for the next week of camp. We took time to eat with Dad and Mom and then picked up a few items at Wal-mart. Just a few items. As if we could get anything else into our already crammed Subaru!
Then it was off to Gloucester City, New Jersey--about a six hour trip. I'm still not sure how we made it there--all I can say is the Lord was gracious to us. We did have a few struggles finding the right street, but eventually we located Rick and Lynn Vincent's house. This couple has put us up before (and put up with us!), and their wonderful little attic room was such a refreshment after our trip. Not to mention the bathroom that they fixed up since the last time we stayed with them. They dedicated it especially to us. Now wasn't that nice of them? (You don't suppose because we spend so much time in there getting ready? Hmm...)
We spent all day Sunday with the Lighthouse Baptist Church. Pastor and Mrs. Jim Doster were just as kind as ever, and we found that many of the same folks that were here four years ago are still here. Imagine that! It doesn't happen all the time, but it's nice to know that many families out there aren't giving up and quitting on God. The church had a meal on the grounds and we were able to spend time with various members of the church.
Bro. John Barnes and his family were in the services this Sunday. Bro. Barnes preached all day--his messages were sorely needed. We met his family--his wife, Teresa, and their four sons: John, Jr., Joshua, James, and Joel. Their family is from International Baptist Church on Long Island. Bro. Barnes teaches at International Bible College.
On Monday we were able to catch up a bit on our sleep, do some laundry, check our e-mails for the first official time since leaving home (Internet access had literally been non-existent the past two weeks.), and generally act like lazy brats. Later in the afternoon, we followed Mrs. Vincent to the camp, where we unloaded piles of junk into the dorm room where we would spend the week.
Dad and Mom arrived several hours after we did. It was good to see them after being separated for a little while. We began our week at the Lighthouse Baptist Family Camp in anticipation of what God would do.
Camp Aura was started in 1901 by three men who had been saved at a Billy Sunday meeting. They came home from the meeting and built a tabernacle as a place for people to come and hear from the Lord. In 1927, Billy Sunday himself came to preach at the tabernacle. Some of the original posts are still in place, although the concrete floor is cracking in places. What started as a holiness camp is now owned and operated by the Calvary Bible Baptist Church, who have done much remodeling and upkeep. What a thrill is was to think of the days gone by and what God has done in this place!
There were roughly 50 or 60 in the core group who stayed at the camp all week. Others came for the evening services as they were able, and still others from different churches showed up throughout the week. Dad and Bro. Barnes preached and we sang, along with the tour group, "Sounds of Rejoicing" from International Baptist College.
If you listened hard enough each morning, you could hear Pastor Doster's amazing rendition of "Rise and Shine". No one could stay asleep after that! The atmosphere this week was mostly relaxed, but activities each afternoon kept us from getting too lazy. Tuesday was volleyball day, Wednesday we played softball, (at which us three absolutely stunk!), Thursday we went canoeing, and Friday most of the camp headed for a day at the Zoo. All in all, it was a ton of fun and we had a time!
Pastor Doster had asked the three of us to help with the Memory Verse competition for the kids. There were three different groups: Beginners, Juniors, Seniors. We were to be the "verse counselors" and the race was on to see how many verses the kids in each category could quote before Thursday evening at 11pm. So far as we could figure out, Joanna had 83 verses quoted to her, I had 108, and Monica won with 165 verses quoted to her. It was special to see the youngest one who particpated get her trophy--this was the first verse she had ever attempted to quote! The top contestant was a young man who quoted 75 verses. Unbelievable. We became known as the "Sea Hags"--so many kids were coming up to us to say their verses that we began to get all squinty-eyed and...well, you get the picture.
The three of us worked on a song with the Barnes Boys (otherwise known as the "Barnacle Brothers"). What a group we made, the "Sea Hags" and "Barnacle Brothers"! We sang "Canaan Land" Friday evening and they did a great job.
A lady at the camp this week saw a young man at the softball field and went to talk to him about the Lord. He received Jesus as his Savior right there! We were all encouraged by the great preaching and the Lord did a work in many hearts.
It was hard to say goodbye to Pastor & Mrs. Doster and the sweet people of Lighthouse BC. We returned home with grateful hearts for all that God had done for us and through us the past three weeks of camp.
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