This amazing tesitmony was written by one of our long time campers and recent camp staff members Robyn "Red" White...
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 is tattooed on my wrist because this verse reminds me every day that God is in control and has a special plan for me. I don’t think we will ever understand God’s plan for us, or even begin to understand. His love for us is so wide, deep, vast, unimaginable and unbelievable, and if you would have told me ten years ago that a small camp could make as much of an impact on my life as it has and even begin to demonstrate the love that God has for me, I would not have believed you.
I do not come from your typical Christian home; my family does not go to church every Sunday but we do go every Christmas Eve. We don’t say grace before we eat dinner except for every odd thanksgiving and we don’t really talk about our faith. Except me, I’m the odd one out. I guess you could call me the “Black Sheep” of the White family, pun intended.
Way back in 2003, little Robyn trekked off to Camp Douglas for a very much-anticipated “Super Awesome Cool Week at Camp”. I went with a friend from Girl Guides who had been going to Camp since she was five. We were nine years old. I loved it! I had the best time! There were super cool cabin leaders and the greatest group of girls in my Jr. Cabin. Every year when I got home I would start counting down the weeks until next summer, until I could go back to the beautiful beach, the spider-filled forest and the warm smoky campfires.
After a couple of summers questions started stirring in my heart. I always knew about God and Jesus’ sacrifice but I had never really understood or dedicated my life to Him. My super keen cabin leaders answered all of my questions and everything just made sense. In 2007, I remember waking up super early to the sound of the rain, my favourite sound in the whole wide world! It was a surprisingly warm morning with the most gentle and beautiful sound of falling raindrops on the roof of Spruce Cabin. I stayed in bed for a little while but then decided I’d much rather watch the rain drops dance in the puddles around our cabin’s porch. So that’s exactly what I did. I crawled out of my bunk, creeped across the creaky floor and opened the door just barely wide enough for me to slip outside and I sat, and I sat, and I sat. And then I started praying. I talked to God like I was talking to an old friend, casually, lovingly and genuinely. I felt this overwhelming and calming peace over my entire body, the sky cleared up but the beautiful rain kept falling and I was in my happy place. Just me at Camp Douglas with God and the sound of the rain. It was that morning, while the camp was still sleeping, that I asked God into my heart, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and it was that day that Jesus changed my life.
Fast-forward two years; I’m now fifteen years old and just finished grade 9. High school isn’t as fun as it is made out to be and I desperately wait for my favourite week of the year: the week that I get to spend at Camp Douglas. Every year since 2009, a big group of us head to camp for the same week. It’s a group of super awesome people, who I have grown up with during our weeks at camp; and who to this day are still some pretty amazing friends of mine. Before I went to camp that summer I decided I wanted to get baptised. I knew that it was something I wanted to do, a public declaration of my faith and a huge step in my walk with God. That week at camp was not just the highlight of my summer, but also the highlight of my year.
On Friday, August 14th 2009 I was baptised at Camp Douglas, in the Pacific Ocean, and it was INCREDIBLE. The water had been ice cold and super choppy all week but that day it was bathtub warm and peacefully calm. On either side of us, walking deeper into the ocean, the water was mucky and you couldn’t see the bottom, but where we were walking there was a straight path deeper and deeper and the water was completely clear. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” And on that day that’s exactly what He did, a clear straight path to exactly where I needed to be, professing my faith through the action of baptism.
My baptism at Camp Douglas was so special to me, it is where I came to know God, accepted Him into my life and really grew in my faith. I was baptised in front of the people that helped me answer all of my questions and some of my best friends who are still my best friends to this day. Every day I am thankful for Camp Douglas and all Camp ministries.
For the past three years I’ve been working at Camp Douglas and I’ve met some amazing kids; some who come from strong Christian homes and others who don’t. By the grace of God, I am able to share my story with all of those kids and connect with them on different levels. I am able to help answer questions, pray with and for them, and help them have a “Super Awesome Cool Week at Camp,” just like I had for all of my summers as a camper.
If you had told me ten years ago that a small camp could make as much of an impact on my life as it has and even begin to demonstrate the love that God has for me, I would not have believed you. However, no matter how small the camp or group of kids, no matter how young, old or difficult the child may be, God works in the coolest ways to bring His children to Him. I am forever grateful for Camp Douglas and all of the staff and campers that I have gotten to know over the past eleven summers.
-Robyn "Red" White