Good things are happening at Camp Living Stones. Other than the fact that my brother and dear friends live/work there and that's awesome enough, they have completed and now dedicated their brand spanking new chapel. And it is breathtaking. The Ford fam ventured out Saturday afternoon for the celebration with other friends and family of the camp.
You see, CLS has a unique mission and "style" of camping. First off, it is a family-owned and managed operation, dreamed up by the Smeltzer family several years ago. Their first summer with campers was in 1998 and I believe at that time there were three buildings total ( give or take a few, correct me if I am wrong). Part of the deal is that the students who come with the church groups get to lend their hands and hard work at a mission project, usually involving construction or camp beautification. I was there in the summer of 2000 when they put the walls on the dining hall. When I got there it was just a concrete foundation...one week later the walls were in place. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever been, and I've been to many camps. Many others pale in comparison, and to think, the majority of the work has been done by teenagers and their leaders. Amazing. My parents have lent their skills as well - my dad on the chapel, library, cabins...my mom in the kitchen and other projects around camp. It's quite incredible to love, sweat, and tears that have been poured into this place. How many places can you go and say "I helped build that"... not many, right? Unless you are Bob the Builder or something...
I learned the other day from Mama Smeltzer that there is a man at their church who repeatedly reminds them, since they started, that they are crazy for doing what they do. And in most cases, it probably sounded like a pipe dream. But these people have heart, have hope, have faith in the promises of Jesus and his grace. They would be one shade shy of insanity if they were going at it alone, but their faith is so big it envelopes you when you share in conversation and laughter with them. You feel like you're at home, like your presence is appreciated, like you're part of the family.
I am proud to be a part of their extended family and honored to share in their mighty blessings. Here's to you, Camp Living Stones, for twelve years of ministry and many more to come.