Here are some of the great things to celebrate as we have been blessed at Widji this past summer.
- 42 decisions for Christ
- 84 Bibles given out
- Full leadership team with age & maturity (8+ staff over 20)
- During Royal City’s week alone, 27 bibles were given out
- This summer we had 328 campers plus 26 volunteers from our five Ignite Partnership camps. We have had 1756 Ignite campers to date over 10 summers that started with 30 campers from Malvern! WOW. God is good.
- We had an increase in our Ignite week and open enrollment week attendance on the whole. We had a total of 587 camper weeks this summer, up 51 from last year, which was up 34 from the year before. This is the most campers we have had at Widji since at least 2008.
Some encouraging stories for your encouragement
- Campers from Capstone Camp banded together to raise funds for a new to Canada camper to be funded to come to camp. This means that we have campers helping campers help campers to come to camp.
- The funding for Ephraim’s Place made it possible for the campers from Ephraim’s Place to go into their community and bring new campers who have no or little contact with Ephraim’s Place. This has equipped them to share the gospel and share their programming with more kids in their community beyond their circle.
- During Escape Camp, Derek shared with me that there was a cabin of boys that when discussing it shared that none of them have dads. Sad Sac has shared with me that one of the compelling drives behind the Capstone week is to reach boys without a dad, and to be a father to the fatherless. This has been a frequent reality for the campers coming this summer – the need for dads. 2 nights ago, one of the volunteers from Ephraim’s Place shared with me that his guys started talking before bed, and for a few minutes all of the facade came off, talking about their dads, and their desire to have a good dad in their life. This transparency was unheard of from these boys.
- During Fresh Air Camp we had a couple of boys that would run off property and were highly disruptive; one of which was named John. The group home that sent him decided he should come home, and we had him packed up to go and while waiting a couple of staff started talking about their lives. He listened from a distance and occasionally chimed in. Afterward, he decided he wanted to stay, and half way through the week had started to help the service team sweep and move benches and clean. I joked with him that I would have to start paying him for the work and he said yeah right. At the end of the week, John told me to save him a position on service someday, and he’s planning to come back.
- Knowing the home situations some campers come from is humbling and sobering for me. The bus driver for Escape Camp told me that on her way up she overheard a conversation between 3 girls. One asked another how her house was doing. Another girl entered the conversation and asked what happened to her house, to which she replied that all of their windows had been shot out, but it was okay now because they were boarded up.
- The past three years I’ve seen a first nations camper come to camp and he’s always a handful, but generally has a good week on the whole. He told me one day, while we were hanging out in the hammocks, that he could speak several languages. So I opened up google translate on my phone and had him speak a whole lot of Japanese and Korean and other languages he “knew”. The translations were hilarious and we laughed about it together for quite a while along with some cabin leaders and he confessed that he was making it all up but loved to see what the translations would be. It was great to see him finish a week at camp with memories and value.
- We had 2 campers who came with an Ignite week, brother and sister, who then chose to return to camp for 4 weeks this summer. This was in part such a praise item because not only would they never have come to camp otherwise, but they both had what we thought were horrible weeks last summer. It turns out that those weeks, though hard for them, played a part in building a relationship they never thought possible, and this summer were pretty much fabulous – becoming a fixture at camp that everyone knew, and even helping other campers in their experiences.
- This has been a summer there we as a staff have felt so edified by God’s work in kids lives, and these are only a few of the many stories from this summer.
From Scott Veals with Youth Unlimited Toronto, here with Ephraim’s Place
A youth who has light involvement with gang & drug activity softened considerably!
The morning cabin discussions were amazing, with many youth sharing openly & moving closer to full commitment to Jesus!
The whole camp atmosphere felt anointed! An amazing week at camp!
We thank each person who donated, prayed and offered encouragement this summer. God did His amazing work and chose to use us to do it. God is good! All the time!
Josh Heyoo Laverty & Mike Moose Greenfield