Each summer, families from our church travel to Macomb, IL to facilitate a week-long summer camp at Serenity Lake Retreat for inner-city kids from Compton Heights, MO. Campers enjoy this overnight experience as they dig deeper into God’s Word through Bible study, high-energy worship, organized games, crafts, and of course, lake activities!
Our first Family Missions experience allowed families to come together for a week-long summer camp experience; carrying out the great commission on the mission field at Lake Serenity Retreat in Macomb, IL. Our team of 21 volunteers served, loved, and showered compassion over the 24 inner-city campers that were placed in our lives that week.
The camp was designed to use “fun” as the vehicle to share the love of Jesus, develop relationships, create teachable moments, and share about the importance of having a relationship with Him. Each activity and lesson executed was planned with intentionality and purpose. Through each activity, our focus was to point the children towards a relationship with Jesus. The days were jammed-packed with Biblical teachings, skits, crafts, recreation, team building activities, large group games, hang time, lake time, and bedtime devotions. On Thursday, we ventured off-campus and enjoyed singing many of our camp songs to residents at local nursing home in Macomb. What a beautiful blessing it was to see the smiles of happiness and contentment as the residents watched the young, precious faces sing praises to our Creator.
There were many life-changing moments where we could see the Holy Spirit softening the hearts of the campers as the week unfolded. God revealed Himself in so many ways:
- They began to trust us and accept the love that we were extending to them and reciprocate that same love.
- The salvation message was given and three campers accepted Christ for the first time!
- During bedtime devotions, campers began to ask “real” questions about God; wanting to know more about Him.
- Our team was forever impacted as he revealed Himself in so many different ways to each of us.
At our last team meeting, leaders were asked to use one word to describe our Family Missions Week at Serenity Lake Retreat: Humbling. Awesome. Rewarding. Grateful. Incredible. Life-Changing. The depth of feeling behind each of the words described reminded us of the privilege we were given to serve alongside each other and to ultimately give God the praise for the work He performed that week.