During the 2013 HOG CAMP, it rained 5 ½ inches in less than 48 hours. Sound successful yet?
Despite constant rain, parents and kids didn’t miss a lick. They hunted and fished despite the downpours. I still remember the scene on Sunday morning one hour before daybreak. Exhausted, we all stood under a dim floodlight in the pitch-black dark, with rifles shouldered and rain splashing in puddles on boots and rain pants. Kids and parents stood ready to catch one more ride on the Bad Boy Buggy and head off into the mosquito-infested Oconee River swamp bottom below.
During that CAMP, a young lady named Chelsea Yearwood killed her first hog while hunting with her daddy Steve. That moment was special to me.
But here comes the real success of that 2013 CAMP. The result of nearly half a foot of rain last May meant we all stayed huddled together under a 20x30 tent most of the weekend. The result of that was possibly the best example of togetherness I’ve seen during a 30-30 CAMP. It “forced” us to get to know one another, to open our lives, to share Christ and enjoy fellowship. I believe God used the rain and that tent to help three kids place their faith in Jesus Christ during that soggy weekend.
Fast forward one year later: HOG CAMP 2014 was a success, too. You may be wondering: How many were saved this year? Three more? Four… five? Well, none, at least that we know of…
I used to label the success of a CAMP based on the number of salvations I saw. Don’t get me wrong… salvations are the No. 1 reason we host CAMPS. We want to see Jesus save people, but the fact is that we don’t see a salvation at every CAMP.
So what made HOG CAMP 2014 a success this go-round? Let me share with you several things that made this CAMP successful.
• A hunting guide shared Jesus with a youth in a ground blind in the middle of the Oconee River swamp. When the boy got home, he told his dad, “We need to be going to church.”
• We were allowed to serve alongside Rusty Rhodes and his fantastic family. Rusty is the hunting manager at Oconee Ridge and does a wonderful job to ensure the best hunting experience possible. He has a real heart for this job. Rusty’s two sons, Brice and Austin, volunteered, too. And then there’s Rusty’s wife, Belinda. Even on Mother’s Day weekend, Belinda volunteered her entire weekend to cook for hungry hunters. Watching this family serve alongside one another because they believe in the 30-30 mission was an incredible blessing.
• A 30-30 volunteer was able to provide comfort to a teenager whose 6-year-old brother was tragically killed in a vehicle accident last month.
• We heard three great speakers who have a real passion for sharing Christ with those who need Him.
• 30-30 had the opportunity to host a pastor and his son for the weekend. This pastor gets very limited time off from his demanding job, and he was thrilled to be able to come to HOG CAMP and simply relax with his son. Yes, pastors need time to get away and relax! It was great to provide a platform for him to have some downtime with his son.
• We had a man in CAMP who shared with us that it was the first weekend he’d ever spent away from home with his stepson.
And I can’t help but think about what else the Lord was doing through HOG CAMP—things we’ll never know this side of Heaven. One of our parent campers put it to me this way: “The next Billy Graham may very well be here this weekend.” Now that’s a cool thought!
Yep, I’d say the Lord allowed us to be a part of another successful CAMP as His will was carried out.
More to come this fall. Stay tuned!