Voices from McCall
Voices from McCall
If you have never experienced Camp McCall first hand then you don’t know what it is like to actually stay at the camp. However, you can still know something of what camp life is like through those who visit and minister there. The following contains a series of summarized interviews I conducted on July 9 and 10, 2012.
Camp McCall is a good representation of what heaven will be like. It is multicultural. The afternoon I arrived at the camp a thunderstorm forced the campers to seek indoor activities. I went to the covered basketball court where I watched boys of three different ethnicities play basketball. As I watched the boys play ball, I noticed the staffers interacting with them. They worked hard at forming relationships with the boys. I took advantage of the opportunity of having all those boys in one place and began talking to a few of them.
Three came from United Baptist Church and all three were Hispanic. The first boy I talked with was Oscar. It was Oscar’s first time at the camp. He liked the activities, including basketball, which is what he was playing when I talked with him. While talked with Oscar, his friend Alejandro sat down on the floor next to him. This was his fourth trip to McCall. He too enjoyed the activities, but he also said he liked learning about God. Our little group soon expanded with the addition of Martin. This was the first time Martin had been to the camp, but he thought that it was cool.
When the rain began to abate, I walked up the hill to the activities building where another large group of boys had gathered. The staffers were playing several different games with the boys. Some were playing corn hole while others played ping pong and a modified form of racket ball played with ping pong balls and paddles. I noticed one of the boys standing by the wall taking a break. His name was Ethan. This was his third year at camp. He had come with his dad to one of the Lad Camps the previous years. He said that he “just loved being up here and liked learning more about God.”
I also had the opportunity to talk to some of the staffers while we waited out the weather. Rudder, who was working as a staffer for his third year, said that for some of the boys this would be the only time the entire year that they would hear the gospel. While the boys had come with church groups, not all of them were active in the church. Some were visiting the camp because a friend had invited them. According to Camp Director Eddie Pettit, many of the boys attending camp that week were on scholarship. That was the only way they would have been able to be there and to hear the gospel.
Later that day I talked with Pomp, a fourth-year staffer. Pomp had been attending camp there since he was in the first grade. I asked him what he loved about the camp. As a member of the staff he “loves it for its lasting staff relationships and its ministry to boys and men.” He went on to say that he loved “being able to work at a place where we get the opportunity to model godly manhood.” I asked him why he had become a staffer at McCall. Without hesitation, he replied that his dad had encouraged him to pursue it.
That evening we gathered outside the chapel before the worship service began. Behind us was Satterwhite Chapel, a building dedicated to the worship of God. Before us, in the distance rose the mountains, a sight which inspired awe for the God who created them. Thus we prepared for corporate worship in the cathedral of nature. Again, this experience brought home to me the fact that this may be the only corporate worship experience some of these boys would have all year.
The chapel service itself was centered around the proclamation of the gospel. We were reminded of the reality that there are many who have not heard of Jesus Christ. We were also told of our need for Jesus to save us. Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was hearing the 42 staffers, who formed the choir, sing boldly about their Savior. Even in song they were modeling for the boys what it meant to be a godly man.
The chapel services are designed to highlight what is done in the cabins. As Pettit explained to me the camp pastors all understand that the professions of faith at the camp are not solely a result of their preaching in chapel. Indeed, most of the evangelist work that takes place at McCall happens in the cabins and during the activities as the staffers interact with the campers. This is relational evangelism at work.
The structure of the week-long camps is much like that prescribed in Deuteronomy chapter six. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise ( Deut 6:5-7 ESV). At every turn, the gospel was being taught and modeled before the campers by the staffers.
If your son or another boy that you know has free time this summer I would encourage you to send them to Camp McCall. They will hear the gospel. They will be challenged to surrender their lives to follow Christ. They will have an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.