New friendships, experiences, stories, and commitments mark these campers in ways that they didn’t anticipate.
It’s exciting to dream about what Camp Daniel might be in 2009. This ministry continues to grow. Stay tuned!
Thursday, July 24, 2008:
There are over 9,100 Team D2BD Members around the country, just like these 130 campers! Every time that I’m around these young people, I’m inspired.
All the campers came together for the final session of training, where they were encouraged to develop meaningful relationships.
After dinner, of Chicken Parmigiana no less, the Campers had one more “Big Event” before the final commitment service. They all went to the Trading Post Pavilion for skit time … so fun! And afterward, everyone danced to “Cotton-Eye Joe.”
Then we had the students vote on their favorite design for the next Team D2BD apparel – the newest hat! (They picked one my favorites …)
The commitment service began with the Shelly Moore Band; their songs focused on the bigness of God. This group of campers loves to sing and worship! Nick then led us through Psalm 24 and described what that might look like in today’s generation, if today’s young people lived that psalm and were a “P24 Generation.”
Nick told an amazing story tonight about putting Daniel training into practice. See, Nick was on his way out to eat Tuesday evening with John Cass (BGEA Director of Children’s Discipleship) when they came upon the scene of an accident — an SUV struck a cyclist just moments before, and the cyclist had been killed.
Nick noticed two teenagers who had witnessed the entire scene. He and John prayed and sensed the Holy Spirit opening the door to talk about life with these two young people.
Putting into practice some of the skills Nick had just taught the Daniel campers, he was able to lead them to Jesus Christ. They both ask Christ to come into their lives. As Nick shared this story, the Team D2BD Members were on the edges of their seats, realizing that all this week’s lessons aren’t just theory.
We expect these students to do great things.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008:
I wandered around a bit this morning to see some of the campers doing camp stuff. This camp ROCKS! From the High Ropes course, to the Intermediate Ropes Course, to Pool Olympics (which includes a belly-flop contest – OUCH) to horseback riding, whitewater rafting…Camp Cedar Cliff is really an amazing outdoor experience.
Nick led the first session of the day – Daniel’s Witness – sharing the Gospel with our friends and family. Though these campers have already gone through the Dare to Be a Daniel training, it was still a great reminder of the “Why” we need to share Christ.
In following with James’ exhortation to be “doers” and not just hearers only of the Word, Nick handed out blank sheets of paper and envelopes. Campers then wrote letters to friends they knew that needed a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for them as they very intentionally share Christ with these friends in the coming weeks.
The afternoon was filled with not too unusual camp stuff. Half of the campers left out at around 5 p.m. for a “pack out”. They go up to a remote part of Little Cedar Mountain to fully immerse themselves in a real camping experience – it’s awesome!
Dinner was great and much quieter with only half of the campers in the Dining Hall. For this session, entitled “Daring to Be There for a Friend in Crisis,” we brought a drama team from Grace Church in Asheville, NC, to help us illustrate the lesson.
Statistics show that students are either in some form of a crisis themselves or know someone who is. I invited Jack Munday (Director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team) to help us explore how to appropriately share Jesus with a friend in crisis.
We not only unpacked some of the stages of grief, but illustrated how to connect with someone and “be there” for them in any stage.
Discussions broke out after the session ended, and went well into the night. Cabin groups spoke about crises in their own lives, or their friends’ lives, and talked through how Jesus might come into those situations in a very real way.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008:
Camp buses hummed outside the dining hall at 8:30 this morning, ready to take dozens of our campers white water rafting on the Pigeon River.
I didn’t get to go, but the campers told me it was thrilling, and for many, their first time white water rafting. They dodged rocks and paddled frantically as they flew down the raging river in giant rafts with their fellow Daniel friends!
Following their hours-long adventure in the water, the campers plodded into the Dining Hall looking tired and sluggish. But when a stopwatch screen started up, counting down the time to start the session, the students came alive with the great energy of youth! They were on their feet yelling and cheering.
By the time the Shelly Moore Band fired up their tunes for the session, the kids were ready to dive in to the moment.
Instructor Nick Hall’s session was on the Victorious Daniel. Campers, who are all Team D2BD Members, were reminded that our response to adversity builds character and can be a platform for the Gospel.
As friends and family see our responses to life’s tribulation, the door can be opened for dialogue about the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). God has a history of making beautiful things out of broken things …
Tonight, I’ll be joined by Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. He and I will show D2BD campers how to appropriately share Christ with friends that are experiencing crisis.
OK, so we had this activity, you can guess the name.
Adventure Ball is an infamous game, a kind of combination of ultimate frisbee and dodge ball. I’ve discovered that it’s the number-one game that kids talk about after they leave camp.
Many of us older folks discovered we weren’t quite as young as we thought when we were introduced to Adventure Ball pandemonium on the giant, grassy field at Camp Daniel.
Dinner was delicious. We all enjoyed a picnic of hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings before Adventure Ball. We were honored that Will Graham and his family came down to join us for dinner – Quinn, or little William Franklin Graham V, ran around fearlessly!
I had the privilege of leading the evening session, called “Daring to Listen to the Holy Spirit.”
Simple truths from God’s Word reminded us about the person, the role, the power, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our response to the Holy Spirit is just as important now as it was when God first drew us to repentance through Jesus Christ.
One student summed it up well. She said, “The more we know God’s Word, the easier we’ll know God’s voice when He speaks.”
Campers hurried to bed to get rested for the great adventure that awaits them tomorrow!
Monday Morning, July 21, 2008
The campers, counselors, staff and I are starting to notice the effects of robust physical activities combined with sleep deprivation … we’re already exhausted!
Well, at least I’m exhausted. The campers seem fine. I’ve narrowly avoided getting soaked several times by kids who were a little overzealous with some huge water guns … super soakers.
I couldn’t go to Nick Hall’s morning Dare to Be a Daniel training session session because, in addition to directing Dare to Be a Daniel, I’m also daring to be a dad of a two-year-old and a three-month-old baby.
So some campers shared their reports of this morning’s session with me. One camper said, “This morning’s time was awesome!”
Another said, “The part where Nick showed us how important it was for us to really hold on to God’s Word … I’ll never forget that!”
And then a third said, “I’m not really looking forward to school, but I am looking forward to putting stuff that I’ve learned so far into practice.”
And finally, my favorite quote about this morning was from Nick. He said, “Chad, if you want to sleep in, just do it. Don’t make up stuff about your family and skip my session.”
I’m praying about how to respond to that.
The Shelly Moore Band, an indie group from North Carolina, gave an acoustic concert of original worship music in the Camp Cedar Cliff Dining Hall. The Team D2BD campers loved it! After a short break, we got into the evening session around 9:20.
The session was titled “Daring to Listen to Others.” We started with a review of some of the basic principles of what it meant to dare to be a Daniel.
Although our students have memorized great verses from Scripture that help communicate the simple truths of the Gospel, I cautioned them to avoid approaching evangelism as a formula.
Jesus was identified as a friend of sinners, and we’re supposed to follow His lead. While we’re discerning with our relationship choices, we should still be engaged with those who don’t know Jesus.
The campers were reminded that actively listening to others earns us the right to be heard … And boy, do we have a story to tell!
Sunday Morning, July 20, 2008:
After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and all kinds of cereal in the dining hall, the morning kicked off with Nick Hall’s session entitled, “Is He Lord?”
The session challenged Dare to Be a Daniel team members to examine their relationship with Jesus Christ in light of His title as Lord. Nick pointed to blind Bartimaeus’ cry of passion (“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! … I want to see”) as a directive for followers of Christ to cry out and have our eyes opened to see Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.
Saturday, July 19, 2008: As 130 campers, ages 9–14, arrived at the brand new Welcome Center at Camp Cedar Cliff in Asheville, N.C., there seemed to be a genuine excitement among parents as to what the week would hold.
Some drove and some flew from places across the United States: Utah, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, Tennessee, and more. But everyone came expecting a great week of transformation.
All of the kids at camp this week have completed the Dare to Be a Daniel training course and are, therefore, members of Team D2BD. Anyone can complete the course online at daretobeadaniel.com, learn more about faith in Jesus Christ, and be empowered to share their faith with others.
The campers unloaded their backpacks, sleeping bags, bug spray and Bibles and assimilated quickly into “cabin life” as they began connecting with new friends and their counselors.
The young adult counselors led the evening session and shared testimonies, funny stories, and life lessons, but everything they said had this common thread: “You’ll get out of camp what you put into camp. What will you put in this week?”