There are no words to describe the blessing it was for Trina and me to be at TPS summer camp June 2-8. Approximately 120 students plus some families and staff gathered for this annual event at Miracle Mountain Ranch in NW Pennsylvania. TPS --- The Potter’s School --- is the outstanding online school through which I have been privileged to teach online classes with high school students for the past six years. Little could we have imagined six years ago the seeds of relationship that would form over that time. Over this period, it has been our joy to not only teach and share the Word, but also to walk with students and families. As Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “So affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us (2:8).” It was an honor this year to be asked to be the speaker for the evening chapel services at the camp as well as speaking for the morning devotions for parents and staff, along with delivering the commencement address on Friday evening to our graduating seniors. Jesus spoke faithfully and powerfully through His Word during this week, answering many prayers, and the response to Him was amazing. But in addition to these powerful times in the Word, the camp also provided the special opportunity to just be in person with students, families, fellow teachers and staff. One of the challenges of online education is that we do not get to see one another face to face. While we may become well acquainted with one another’s voices in our live classes (and the students become well acquainted with all my corny jokes!), it is quite a different thing to know a person face to face. I related to what Paul said later in that letter to the Thessalonians, when he stated, “But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire (2:17).” Some of the most joyful moments were when a student would walk up to us and introduce himself or herself, saying, “I am _________.” But even beyond the initial introductions and placing familiar names with faces, it was a joy to just be together, share and talk together, and to pray together. While many of the students and families expressed their gratitude for us being there, it was actually Trina and I who came away from this camp perhaps more encouraged than anyone there. The spiritual environment of this camp was incredibly powerful, and the Spirit of Jesus was so evident. God showed His faithfulness yet again, answering so many prayers. He reminded me powerfully again that He works through His Word, and that He brings the harvest in His time. Trina and I would echo what one of the students emailed to me after the camp. “Normally, I come home from camp exhausted, and the camp let-down hits hard. This year I came home and felt revived and energized (especially spiritually).” To that, we say, “Amen,” and we are forever grateful to have been a part of this special event.
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father