Camp FUSE, Renovation Community’s summer day camp and feeding program for low-income and marginalized families, is in full force! We have seen roughly 65 different children coming from around 30 different families. Our program costs between $1 and $7 a day for families to have an affordable solution to summer child care.
Camp FUSE draws families that cannot pay hundreds of dollars each week to send their child to a professional summer camp with all the bells and whistles. Instead, their kids come to our church, a space not developed for child care and our main gym does not even have working A/C right now. We are in constant battle of keeping the working air conditioners working to help keep the campers cool during the heat of the day when our gym can easily get to 90 degrees inside but this does not stop us. The summer heat does not stop our 4 interns from working tirelessly, nor does it stop the mission groups from coming hundreds of miles away to be a part of a work in which we are unable to find anybody else doing.
Each child that comes through our doors hears the name of Jesus that day. Through our chapel and animated Bible story time, we are striving share with these kids that Jesus loves them. But for some, it’s not always easy to hear that and fully understand. Let me give you an idea of some of our camper’s backgrounds. There are kids with restraining orders against a parent as they are at risk of being kidnapped and fleeing the country, some are adopted, some in foster care, one who’s adopted mother describes as a “drug baby.” Two have autism, one who’s grandmother said she didn’t want the girl to be in her home, another speaks very little English and another has experienced a recent passing of a relative.
So why do we do it? Why is this our 5th summer of opening our space to families? Why do we ask for continuous prayers and for volunteers to be a part of making this camp function? We do it out of love. 1 John 4: 19 “We love because God first loved us.”
This is just a small taste of the families we have an opportunity to love on. To share the true and whole love of Christ too. We hold this camp to love. Enabling parents to use their finances to better empower their family. (Ask yourself, what would you do with an extra $100-300+ a week, groceries? Clothes?) To be honest, it’s not always easy. In fact, Camp FUSE is more difficult than it is easy a lot of the time but what it comes down to is what we are commanded to do by Jesus. To love Him and to love others. And “the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
I ask you to pray. Pray for the strength of our staff to be able to continue developing relationships with these kids to be able to grow the Kingdom. Pray the love of Christ sparks a flame in their hearts to pursue Him. Pray that it is then taken back to the family and spreads like a wildfire. The unstoppable love of Christ will win, it starts with just a small flame and will grow.
So, because God first loved us, we love. We love our campers and their families and we choose to do everything in our power to love them. When it is difficult, we will love; when it is easy, we will love. When a child is crying or talking back, we will love. When our strength is low, we will love. When a parent is upset, we will love. We will use our resources to love our community for the sake of the Kingdom, because He first loved us.
What do you have at your disposal to be able to love on others? Do you have a car and your coworker needs a ride home? Do you have extra money and see a man in need of food?
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the create of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” Matthew 25: 34-36