Not Just a Name
Counselors and staff gathered in the chapel, and Darren picked up the mic. It’s his job to get camp started.
He went over the rules, the expectations, the what-not-to-dos and introduced support staff. Then he started his talk. As he spoke, “not just a name on a piece of paper” caught my attention. How many times have we felt that way? Just a number, name on a page somewhere? Don’t need your name, just your email, driver license number or last four digits of your social security number. No one seems to want a name anymore.
Our kids, God’s kids, that we are ministering to this week, are very familiar with being on a page. Their name is written in a file, on a court document, school transfer papers, and notes home regarding behaviors. Their name might include worthless, can’t sit still, does poorly on tests, can’t read, bully or bullied. They become nameless, faceless statistics in social work classes across the country.
But not to God.
God has their name tattooed on his hand, just like you, just like me. On his hand! Not on a piece of paper, not in a long list, but on his hand. He sees them as they are, where they are, and he sees their name constantly.
That’s why wearing nametags is so important at camp. It identifies them as belonging here, being a part of something bigger than they are. At the same time, it lets others know their name so we can use it.
Because of how things work, yes, they do indeed start out as name on a piece of paper, but it doesn’t take long until they have left that page and are living, breathing people that we have all come to know and love. As we sing the song, we know for a fact that God has changed their name to loved, precious, His, written on His hand for all time. And it’s not written in pencil to be erased, or pen that he can wash off, he’s tattooed it so it will last, forever.
Onward & Upward is our weekend-long retreats for 13-15 year olds. The retreats use a curriculum focusing on character traits of godly men and women. We began this semi-annual program in 2004 with 39 teenagers and 46 volunteers.
SUMMIT is our weekend-long retreats for 16-18 year olds. The curriculum focuses on skills that will help them function better as adults. Examples include managing bank accounts, completing job applications, & mock interviews. We began this semi-annual program in 2007 with 12 teens and 16 volunteers.
RISE is a weekend-long retreat offered in April for teen boys and November for teen girls, ages 12-18. OFC will continue to use a 2:1 teen to counselor ratio at RISE, and the curriculum and activities are designed to help teens build self-esteem and navigate gender-specific issues.
Our Father's Children exists to provide HOPE to children of abuse and neglect in Texas, ages 16-18, in camp settings, weekend retreats, and in mentoring clubs. We recruit volunteers from a variety of cities, churches and organizations who have a heart for offering these kids hope in Jesus Christ. Whether as a volunteer or donor (or both), we would love to have you join us in providing hope to these kids!