In Delaware, Ohio, “everything” goes – at least from June 8-14. That was when the Delaware Grace Brethren Church hosted “Operation Everything,” a camp for junior and senior high students.
This year’s camp theme centered around “Reach In… Reach Out… Reach Him.” Guest speaker Tim Sprankle (Leesburg, Ind., Grace Brethren Church) challenged students throughout the week to pursue Christ and make the most of the time away from their normal lives. Sprankle focused on Psalm 24:3-4, which reads, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (NIV).
Campers spent six days focusing their hands and hearts on pursuing a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Amid the usual camp chaos of obstacle courses, challenging games, and spontaneous adventure, campers were exposed to a variety of spiritual growth exercises. Each morning, the kids attended workshops on seeking practical truths from the Bible. Pastor Gary Underwood led a Q&A session where, as he tells it, “It was a blast! One moment, we’re talking about creation and evolution, and the next moment, we’re talking about puppies.”
In the afternoons, they divided up into teams of five to eight teens to serve various people and organizations in the Delaware community. One group helped near Associate Pastor Darrell Anderson’s home. They offered to mow the lawn at one home, not realizing the father traveled frequently and the mother has had nine surgeries in the past three years. This family was so grateful that they questioned Pastor Darrell, saying, “Who ARE these young people?”
As Delaware Youth Director Rhett Edwards said, “We really want to reach out and serve our community in the name of Jesus Christ.”
In the evening, students gathered in the chapel for energetic worship, drama, and teaching by Sprankle.
“It’s an intense week,” observed Billie Lang, who served in her second year as camp coordinator. “The nightly music and teaching really helped kids focus their hearts and minds on Jesus.” On Friday night, at the close of the camp, students gave testimonies about how God had opened their eyes throughout the week.
For 95 students and dozens of adult leaders and volunteers, O-E has become a fixture on the June calendar. Pastor Underwood noted, “Operation Everything has really helped us have a positive presence in Delaware. These students and volunteers realize that we’ve got to get out and let Christ’s love shine through us into our community.”