camper stories

When I met my camper and looked into her big coffee-colored eyes, I knew there was underlying pain and depth to her story. I found out she was Cambodian, and I just happened to have gotten back from living over in Cambodia this last year. She really wanted to learn the language, Khmer, so I was able to teach her some throughout the week --a perfect way for us to connect!

Throughout our one-on-ones (a scheduled time when a counselor spends 30 minutes with a camper off to the side of the main group) I realized more and more that she reminded me of a younger version of myself. She was so curious about my mother (who was addicted to drugs and alcohol), and how I got through living in those situations.

Wednesday night, she broke down and told me all about her difficult past. “My parents were addicted to drugs and they never loved me,” she wept. She had to grow up fast and take care of her siblings. You could just see in her every action how desperate she was for that lack of love in her life. However, as the week went on, you could see her heart being filled by the Lord.

During the singing times, she worshiped so beautifully. She wanted to know more about God, and I could tell she really understood that God is the way, the truth, and the life. And nothing was more beautiful than holding that precious girl in my arms, and crying, telling her she is a daughter of the King, that He loves her so much, and her knowing it and believing it too.

A little girl’s life was transformed that week. It was difficult to say goodbye, but I know, and have full assurance, that the Holy Spirit is living inside of her, and God is going to take care of her. He loves her and she knows it.

- Irene Hackett (Camp Alandale counselor)