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Dear God, I Love Blue Lake
by Tonny Algood

Every summer, we take 40 boys and girls, ages 9 to 14, from our programs at Taylor Park to Blue Lake for a week of Camp Discovery. Each year we take three or four who, if they were left behind, would make for a much more peaceful camp. We also know that these are the ones who need the experience at Blue Lake the most. William was one of these and he was nine years old when he went to camp for the first time. We knew that William was one to have outbursts of anger with threats to get physically violent. From the Monday we arrived, William had problems. It seemed as though no matter what the staff did, William's temper was always getting him into trouble and he was always brought to me.

I went around to some of the campers doing KP duty after breakfast on Wednesday morning and I asked each one what could Rev. Algood do for them to help make this the very best day of the camp for them. One little boy said he would like an extra treat. A little girl wanted me to get some boys to stop picking on her. William surprised me with his answer. He said that he wanted me to pray for him and I promised him that I would.

I followed William's group to arts and crafts so I could observe how he was doing. They were decorating paper plates that would be filled with dry beans and then sealed to make Blue Lake tambourines. With a wide array of colored markers they were drawing flowers, butterflies, suns and the names of their BFF's, plus everything else that comes from a child"s imagination. I looked at William"s plate and the only words that he had written with multiple colors were "God Bless You and the Holy Spirit." I knew then that this was a special child and his anger must come from some deep hurt.

I left the arts and crafts to check on another group, and shortly after that William was brought to me as he had been several times before when he had an outburst of anger, disrupting the group he was with. I learned in talking with him that a couple of years earlier William had gotten into trouble at school and he had been beaten without any clothes on by an uncle. Anytime that he felt threatened, or someone made an aggressive move toward him, all he could think about was that beating. I assured William that he was safe with us at camp and at Taylor Park.

I was pretty drained by this time. I told William that I was tired, and out of the blue, I asked him would he pray for me. Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed both my hands and started praying. I don't ever remember having such a beautiful intercessory prayer said for me before. William prayed, "Dear God, I love Blue Lake. I love all the workers here and I love the other campers. And, dear God I love Rev. Algood. He's not feeling real well now, so please help him to feel better, and may we all have a good time." And, we did. When we returned home, we continued to show the children God's love through our words and actions. I am happy to say that William's behavior continued to improve. He still goes to Camp Discovery with us and he is now one of our model campers.



For more information about Camp Discovery, contact Phyllis Murray at director@bluelakecamp.com or 334-222-5407.

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Camp Discovery at Blue Lake is one of the nineteen Conference Advance Ministries in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. The Advance program was created to give churches and individuals the opportunity to go the extra mile in giving. 100% of each gift given through the Advance is used for its intended mission or ministry. Your gifts through the Advance fulfill both physical and spiritual needs to make a life-changing and long-lasting impact. For more information about giving through the Advance, visit www.awfumc.org/advance. You can also make online donations at that link.

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