More than 75 Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) children and staff members arrived Friday, August 7 at Crowders Ridge Camp near Gastonia for a three day camp experience hosted by the student ministry of Scotts Hill Baptist Church of Wilmington. The student ministry group had worked almost a year planning the event. The youth, college-aged students, and leaders more than equaled the number of their guests. This is the first time in BCH’s history where one church hosted BCH facilities from around the state for a camp.
“We look for opportunities every year for our students to reach out from where they normally serve,” Scotts Hill’s student ministry director Ryan Ortego said. “We look to work with ministries that we are already partnering with – the Children’s Homes was a perfect place to turn. We decided to produce Mountain Camp for the residents.”
Ortego said the church works to create “longevity in our partner relationships.” He said sharing ministry experiences over time is good for Scotts Hill and good for the larger church.
“We were blown away by this group,” BCH’s statewide director, child/residential services Linda Morgan said. “As soon as we arrived at the Camp, their focus was our childen.”
Morgan had worked with the church’s planning team since early this year. “The group planned every detail. Throughout their planning, the focus was on keeping Jesus at the center of everything.”
“It was our prayer that Jesus be made known to those who didn’t know Him and that those who did know Him would be encouraged to walk more closely with Him,” Ortego said.
Mountain Camp consisted of worship times and preaching. Everyone was divided in to small groups for biblical enrichment. There were fellowhip times for the children and the student group members to interact and grow relationships, and free time provided chances to swim, enjoy lake activities, and play volleyball and basketball.
“Almost from the very beginning of the Camp, our students did an amazing job connecting with the kids,” Ortego recounts. “God brought a sense of peace over the group. It was a time orchestrated by Him. BCH’s kids and our students experienced something real – genuine.”
When the weekend was over, three of BCH’s children had made decisions for Christ. Many of Scotts Hill’s students returned home more determined to share Jesus as they started back to school. The church’s leadership agreed it was something they would do again.
“”This was totally worth every bit of effort and planning we put into it,” Ortego said. “We will begin looking at next year soon. We’ll want to seek how we can take it to the next level. It will be exciting to see what God will do.”
“We are so grateful,” Morgan said. “Thankful for this church, thankful for the children saved.”
Learn more about how you and your church can get involved at Baptist Children's Homes by visiting www.bchfamily.org/involved.