Well, dear ones, we are right at the cusp of officially kicking off the first camp of our 67th Camp Del-Haven season. What a wonderful testimony of the Lord’s presence and working. Plus – there is something both timely and significant that we want to share with you in this regard. In keeping with our Hos.6:3 devotional theme – we received at the end of May an email from a dear lady who attended our very first girls camp back in the early 60’s! Her testimony declares the glory of Christ our Savior. Her name is Evelyn. Here is her testimony — in her own words:
A very long time ago, shortly after the cave man, early 60’s, I was a young Catholic girl who begged my mother for permission to attend a week camp session at Camp Del Haven in Lone Jack, Missouri. The Salvation Army was recruiting girls and paying for our week stay. Camp Del Haven is a non-denominational Christian camp. Rev Don Carpenter and Mary Lee Carpenter, along with their sons and daughter ran the camp. It was the first year they ran a program for girls. The camp had previously been predominately working with troubled boys from various organizations in Kansas City.
My friends and I were anxious to begin a week away from the eagle eyed parents. It was a glorious week, swimming, crafts, and campfires, except for all the praying you had to do. You had to pray when you got up in the morning, pray before eating, after eating, evening services, before going to bed. I went ahead and said a prayer before going to the bathroom, just in case. I won awards for my crafts and for memorizing bible verses.
Friday came all too soon with Hamburgers on the menu. Being a good Catholic girl, there was no way that me or my friends were going to eat meat on Friday. I informed Steve Carpenter, the oldest Carpenter son, that we were Catholic and could not eat meat on Friday. He took me (only me) into the office and asked me where in the bible did the Lord say we couldn’t eat meat on Friday. With my great intelligence, I informed him that was not a Catholic bible. He told me to wait while he left the room only to return with a Catholic bible. Once again he asked me to demonstrate where he could find that information. My great intelligence abandoned me and having to save face somehow, I blamed it on the Church and their teachings or lack of. I informed him we never studied the bible and only memorized Catechism questions and answers. Steve took a lot of time to explain how the Lord works, but I blocked most of it out and kept true to my upbringing. I did not eat the hamburger, but all my friends did. I never accepted the Lord that summer.
Back at home, life continued as before until one night when for some reason I seemed to be in a great deal of trouble, but hadn’t been caught just yet. The night was sweltering and the fan blew hot air, while the sweat ran down my face. The bed sheets seemed to stick to my skin while my mind would not give in to the darkness and allow me to sleep. Over and over, I replayed my actions and what recourse I might have when confronted by my mother. In that moment, the words of Steve Carpenter all came back to me. All the teachings of that week flooded my mind. I heard the “Knock on the door” verse, the promise of the Lord to always be there for me and that Holy Spirit who lives within you. In that moment, I asked the Lord to help me. I said I was sorry for not listening to Him before and I really needed that Holy Spirit to be my friend always. Lightening didn’t strike me, but I was filled with a warm, fuzzy feeling before drifting off to sleep. I told the truth to my mother when asked, and the world didn’t end that day, but had just begun a very long journey for me and the Holy Spirit.
Many times, I found myself in situations where the Lord has saved me. Whenever I drifted too far from His side, he sent people into my life to reinforce that warm sensation the Holy Spirit provides.
I think all of us can be that messenger to another who is struggling, providing just what the Lord orders.