This post was submitted by our Program Director, Marcus Harden.
Every summer Camp Ithiel collects an offering that goes toward a ministry we believe is taking Jesus seriously. This year we decided that we would come behind International Justice Mission and their efforts to bring an end to modern-day slavery. We primarily want to focus on their restorative work such as therapy after someone is rescued from slavery, education and training for new skills, job opportunities, etc. Bringing an end to modern-day slavery is not just about freeing those caught up in slavery situations, but also providing healing and a fresh new start for them as well. What is awesome is that 100% of money collected will go toward the IJN’s ministry.
Our campers begin every day with something we call Morning Watch, which is a time when our Chaplain explains the biblical theme for the day. After our Kids Camp Chaplain did her brief devotion for the campers, I came up to explain our summer offering and collect any gifts campers brought with them. I shared that slavery is when someone forces someone else to work for them, for little or no pay. Slavery is a mean practice of owning another person. And then I gave practical examples of slavery today. It seemed like all but one camper struggled to understand the concept. So, I invited her peers to chime in and explain what slavery is. We got good responses from other campers. But one camper’s response stood out to me the most.
Before I share what this camper said, it is important to know that we start every camp off with a Camp Covenant. We sit down and brainstorm together different expectations and rules that we agree to live by while at camp, to help us live in community together. Specifically for Kids Camp every year, we read “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud during this time and explain how we want to fill one another’s buckets with kindness and respect, compassion and service.
During Sunday Morning Watch, the confused camper’s peer explained slavery in this way: “Instead of filling someone else’s bucket, slavery is when you force someone to fill your own bucket.” This explanation was amazing! Especially coming from a seven year old. It blew me away and perhaps every listening adult, too. My prayer is that our offering this summer fills the buckets of those of whom we may never meet. For the glory of God and the good of all people. Amen.