Sunday, August 21, 2011

Camp Consequence

As missionaries, we know we must often meet a person's immediate earthly need before he will have any openness to the gospel. For example, a hungry person will only think about food until you give him some. Only then will he be able to focus on something other than his growling stomach and be in a position to digest the concept of God's love along with his sandwich. Likewise, a person whose house is in foreclosure--something we come across quite often now--will be much more likely to hear us if we offer him money to catch up on his bills. When he is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can more effectively share the light of Christ and give him real hope.

We've had a surprising revelation since returning to the United States just over a year and a half ago. In attempting to do here just what we've been doing as missionaries overseas, we've become aware that the immediate earthly need of almost every family we meet is simply learning how to be a family. Marriages are falling apart everywhere we turn, and children are largely disobedient with no respect for authority. We recently read an article in the paper depicting marriage as an archaic institution which is quickly going out of style--and the columnist was happy about that!

We have been praying for help in addressing this dire situation, asking God to show us how we can be most effective in meeting the needs of these broken families. Recently a fellow homeschool dad told John about a program a bit to our north in which a former marine and professional football player whips not only kids but also their parents into shape. This dad believes in the program so much that he left his ministry position to pursue a job with the program. Since then John went twice on his own--once to witness the information conference which is a prerequisite to all the other programs and once to participate in Camp Consequence, a weekend spent on prison property where both the kids and their parents rough it in a boot camp environment. Most families are sufficiently healed after that and need only to continue weekly support with the rest of the group. Those who aren't may go on to send their boys to the program's boarding school. (There are plans for a girl's school in the near future.)

We all went as a family to the support groups last week and witnessed a roomful of people who had been brought to their knees and are healing from devastating family struggles. We stayed on the property where the boy's school is located. Here's the school:
And this is part of the 25-acre farm that houses the school:
Here's the truck they use to advertise the program (along with my boys reenacting the scene so common in households across the country):
Here are the teens doing work detail after breakfast:
And here's where they use the bathroom when they misbehave and get stuck out in the woods in a tent:
We stayed in this pop-up trailer as we observed the program over the weekend:
And this is what we drove around the farm:
I was proud to allow my well-behaved boys to enjoy the benefits of farm life for a couple days:

And did they ever enjoy it!:
But something tells us it wasn't enough just to visit and give our fruitless approval. We are intrigued by what's going on in this remote part of Florida to help families. We believe that God is answering our prayers by putting us in touch with this program and the godly people who run it. Now we will continue to pray with a new emphasis on how we might be connected.


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  2. very good