For those that don’t know, the Step Up kids are our preteens that are in 5th and 6th grade (10 to 12 year olds). I often call Step Up “Youth Group Lite” because we do lots of things that the youth group does but on a smaller scale. It’s a great chance for our church members and their friends to come together, get to know each other and focus on their faith. They have Sunday School together each Sunday morning in the Loft (the old swimming pool game and snack area on the roof level of the Hunter Building) with their Lay Leader, Denise Tindall, who loves getting to know them and working with them each year. We also have monthly meetings or socials to do mission work and fellowship.
Camp Turkey has become an annual event for the Step Up kids that I truly look forward to each year. In the month of November, we retreat to an out of town location to have a lot of fun and spend time with God and each other. Our kids have loved this get-away and so have the adults that have chaperoned.
Mr. Joe and Mrs. Dee, Joe and Delores Robinson, are owners and directors of Redeemed Ranch Camp in Heflin, Louisiana (just past Minden). We’ve gone to their camp two years in a row now and hope to keep going annually. Many kids go there for summer camps or short camps during school breaks. One parent can be quoted as saying, “My kid thinks Mr. Joe and Mrs. Dee walk on water.” I have to admit that I feel the same way! The joy, faith and love that oozes from them on a daily basis is profound. They have a gift of ministry to children like I’ve never experienced.
Last year, we focused on 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” This verse stuck with me like never before when I saw Mr. Joe use it over and over as the kids experienced new things. Some had never ridden a horse before, so Mr. Joe calmed their fears by having them repeat the Bible verse with him. Some had never tried to climb a rock wall before and they were afraid of heights. Mr. Joe held their climbing rope and recited this this Bible verse again and again as they climbed all the way to the top to ring the bell. How amazing to see these life lessons being taught and absorbed!
This year, we focused on listening to God. Mr. Joe read to them from 1 Kings and talked to them about how God is always with us. He talked to them about how God will not yell at them or hit them over the head, but He will speak to them in a still, small voice. It was amazing see then kids listen to His stories of hearing God in the simplest things and knowing that if they listen, they can hear God, too. Four kids prayed with Mr. Joe for salvation before we left for home. They listened to God’s call and answered. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our Camp Turkey experiences. If you’re looking for a great Christian camp that’s close to home, Redeemed Ranch is incredible. For now, I’ll be looking forward to next year’s retreat the whole year through and wondering what Mr. Joe and Mrs. Dee can teach us next year!