I was first introduced to Camp Hope in 2008 through Dr. Denny and Sandy Nissley. The Nissleys founded a disaster relief ministry aptly named Christ in Action (check them out here: Christ in Action ) who responded to Hurricane Ike on the Texas Gulf Coast. Twelve hours spent in an SUV with Denny and Sandy changed me forever! It is to honor them I include Camp Hope postings on any deployments or other events connecting us with the Nissley’s and Christ in Action. BTW, when you check out their site, be sure to leave a donation here if you can. Camp Hope is all about spreading the love of Christ by serving others.
Many of you will probably remember Hurricane Sandy, a monstrous storm which devastated the northeast in 2012; I joined CIA for 3 weeks in November/December , below is the 1st of a 5 part series on my experience. Originally published in 2012, it illustrates the concept of Camp Hope.
0300 – God takes us seriously when we offer ourselves up to Him. It’s quite exciting, actually. An unexpected phone call 3 days ago has led to a semi-frenzy of preparation and this 3 am discussion with God about where He is sending me. Do I know it’s going to be a blessing? Yes. Do I know it will be challenging? Yes. Growing & stretching is never comfortable but it does expand our faith capacity & put us in a new place. Trusting God for finances, for my daughter’s well-being (she is staying behind with friends and experiencing her own twinges of jealousy & excitement) and all the other various needs is quite akin to feeling out on a limb. Thankfully, I know this branch is part of the Tree of Life and we will be well cared for.
As the stertorus sounds of my dog vibrate from a corner of my bed, I am thankful for the universal support I’ve received from my family. Initially, I was uncertain of the reaction, especially with my absence over a holiday but it was met with so much encouragement (thank you my sisters) my excitement began to build and peace descended as my uncertainty faded away.
I’m going north, from the semi-tropical comfort of the Houston winter to the snowy front-lines of faith-based disaster relief post Hurricane Sandy and I don’t even own a coat. I am going from the comfort of my own bed to the pleasures of a Red Cross cot and a sleeping bag. I am going to see destruction and I am going to see hope. I want you to see it, too. Yes, life with God is quite an adventure!
0845 – In the air en route to Philly – already thankful that I no longer feel hemmed in as an aisle seat quickly became available. It’s like God was reinforcing the notion that I have been released. I’ve spent a long time ‘waiting’ in a season of intense preparation these last few years. It’s nice to be able to spread my wings and fly.
Sometimes, God hems us in for a reason. He kept Noah in the ark for over a year until there was space for them to multiply. If we leave the nest too early our wings might not be large enough or strong enough to carry us where we need to go. Be willing to wait on Him and His perfect timing.
An encouraging email from a student started my day off with a renewed sense of purpose of why I am in ministry. His kind words lifted my spirits so I was no longer bogged down in the details of trip preparation but instead listening for God’s voice.
So today Lord, I offer myself up to You. May Your light shine through me & declare Your glory as Your Spirit flows out of me and into those who need an encouraging word, a helping hand or maybe just a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for changing my heart. Show me the beauty as You Lord bring restoration and hope into a place of darkness & despair.