I Heard God's Voice at Sunset Lake Camp

Every once in a while, if you listen really carefully, you can hear the voice of God. It doesn’t happen often, but if you hear it, you’ll never forget it.

This summer at Sunset Lake Camp, I just happened to be listening when God spoke. No, He didn’t speak in the thunder that threatened the Friday afternoon swimming competition, and He did not speak through the small campfire that almost became a big campfire. He spoke through a beautiful little camper whose name I don’t even remember.

It was a hectic Sabbath afternoon. Counselors and kids were gathering at the banks of the lake for a baptism when I spied a group of campers who were not properly dressed to observe a baptism. Somehow the counselor had not gotten the word. The campers came dressed in swimsuits, and no doubt planned to swim after the ceremony. Well, I was going to stop them in their tracks.

After years of working as a wrangler at camp, I have this little way of addressing campers as “partner” or “cowgirl” as the case may be. “Say there, cowgirl, why ya dressed in your swimsuit for the baptism?” I asked.

She replied in an indignant voice, “You know why, Pastor Craig!”

The truth was I didn’t know why, or at least I hoped I didn’t know why, so I pressed the matter further.

“Are you dressed for the afternoon hike?” I asked, hoping that maybe this was the reason for the swimsuits.

In an impatient tone, the precious little camper said, “Pastor Craig, you know why we’re dressed in our swimsuits. We’re going to be baptized today.”

That’s when I heard the voice of God say, “…and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

This precious group of campers had heard me say that we would have a baptism that afternoon. All on their own, five little kids from Michelle Itschner’s cabin decided then and there that they wanted to be baptized. They all came dressed in swimsuits to be baptized. They heard the voice of God, and they obeyed. That was it. No muss, no fuss. They heard the voice of God, and they obeyed. It was as natural as breathing.

There is something almost magical about the way kids respond to the call of God at camp. Take away the TVs, computers and Walkmans, and all of a sudden kids can hear and feel the still, small voice of God with clarity.

This summer 1,077 campers came to Sunset Lake Camp, and 160 made the decision to be baptized. Eighteen of them just couldn’t wait and were baptized in the lake, right there at camp.

The camp staff is making sure that each young person who made a decision for Christ this summer gets hooked up with a local pastor and church. Which brings me to the most amazing statistic of all.

We keep track of “unchurched” kids who come to camp. This summer we had very close to 40 percent non-Adventist or unchurched kids in attendance. Eighty percent of the unchurched kids who filled out a decision card indicated they wanted to give their heart to Christ. Amazingly, 50 percent of those kids asked to be baptized.

God is very much alive—and audible—at Sunset Lake Camp.

November 01, 2003 / Washington Conference