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June-July 2017

The Power of


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one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists



The following note was written in 1993 by a nine-year-girl, just before she attended a Free Will Baptist youth camp:

I will sleep with Bonnie on a bunk. Me and Bonnie will sleep with my Mickey Mouse bed spread. We both hope we will get best bunk plus be on the sam color of team. I will need to bring shaving cream and a water gun because the shaving cream fight and water gun fight. Merrie and Jenna will sleep below us that will be so cool!!! I just hope Bonnie a Merrie don’t get in a serious fight bummer dude. Camp is so fun because you never get board good exuse huh. OH Yeah I just hope Jenna won’t get home sick and my mom take her home. And plus Jenna will get to play with me that will be fun I just hope she just won’t embarrs me to much.

In the next few months, young people from local Free Will Baptist churches across the country will assemble in summer youth camps. Countless young lives will be eternally and positively impacted as they enjoy a brief respite from their normal routines and spend time in a safe, spiritual environment. Lifelong friendships will be forged. Some will trust Christ as their Savior. Others will respond to God’s call to Christian service or ministry.

As a denomination, we owe a great debt to the men and women who give of their time, efforts, and financial resources in order to make church camp a reality. We applaud those who serve as camp directors and take care of administrative duties. We salute the sponsors who supervise and look after the campers. We appreciate the teachers and camp evangelists who faithfully teach and preach the Word of God. We tip our hat to the musicians who capably lead in worship. We admire the commitment and hard work of those who prepare the meals. We offer kudos to those who serve as camp nurses, activity directors, security personnel, and in other roles too numerous to mention.

Needless to say, youth camp is near and dear to my heart. It is where, in the summer of 1970, I answered the call to preach. Was there anything sacred about that campground? No. Could God have called me in a different setting? Of course! But He didn’t. And for that reason, that experience at that location will forever be special to me, permanently etched into my memory.

That nine-year-old girl I mentioned earlier is now a 33-year-old woman. She’s just as excited and passionate about youth camp today as she was back then. She serves as the children’s director at a Free Will Baptist church and will be responsible for taking a large group of children to church camp this summer. Her parents are very proud of her. I should know—I’m her dad.


About the Column

One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.


©2017 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists