blog post by Elaine Lim
On a warm, sunny Wednesday in the mountains of Gore, Virginia a transformation had begun. Our first day of Camp Hope, held by Chinese Bible Church began with enthusiasm and hope that as counselors, we could share God’s love with the children of Little Lights. Many of us had never been to Camp Hope before, yet sensed God calling us to step out in faith to help make a change in the kids’ lives and in ours. As the kids spilled out of the van with more energy than we had and began to shout the Camp Hope cheer, I knew we were all where we should be. The theme this year was Changed, derived from Romans 12:2 about being transformed by the Spirit of God, bearing fruit and becoming more Christ-like in our walk with Him. This centers on the very essence of becoming a Christian--leaving an old self behind while evolving and discovering a new one. On many occasions I experienced this with my child, Shamya, whom I mentored.
Shamya is a very bright, talented young girl who likes science. We bonded over music and even made a dance routine which we performed for the other counselors. The days of camp went by quickly as we had fun practicing the drama, looking at the mountains, finding Easter eggs, jumping rope and worshipping by the bonfire. Yet the most valuable times were my one-on-one times with Shamya, where we shared things we wanted to change in our lives and prayed together. One of these times, I asked her about reading the bible and discovered she had a strong desire to learn more about it but never read one before. We began reading together regularly during our sessions and I promised her we would get her a children’s bible when she returned home. By the end of the camp, seeing this transformation taking place in my child, I felt that I was the one renewed, changed for the better.
This was the tenth year of Camp Hope. and while some aspects have remained the same there were still many new relationships and lives transformed during our time together. We left with the theme song resonating in our heads, “I won’t go back, I can’t go back, to the way it used to be/before your presence came and changed me.” Forever changed.