On Thursday more than 200 children and teenagers impacted by incarceration arrived at Camp Harlow in northeast Eugene for a three-night camp designed just for them. They were met by an incredible team of volunteers, men, women, and in many cases, entire families, who are invested in bringing the hope found in Jesus Christ to these young people.
When Camp Agape came to Oregon in 2012, UFC was the driving force behind this camp and its associated year-round mentorships. Today the non-profit Agape Families provides oversight and leadership with Faith Gilchrist directing the daily operations and the organization’s yearly camps in Marion County in July and in Lane County in August. Last year with COVID restrictions, the overnight camp was offered as a weekend day camp, but this year the campers — in masks for protection — are back for a three-night adventure.
Here in Eugene the youngest campers (1st through 7th grades) number 170, while the older campers (8th-12th grade) number close to 40. More than half of the 200 volunteers, who make the weekend happen, are from UFC. The rest are from churches throughout Lane County. Whether we are physically helping at camp or are elsewhere this weekend, we can all pray for these volunteers, the campers, and their families.
This week was a juggle for camp leadership as they switched gears more than once to keep in step with changing COVID guidelines. Please pray that everyone will adjust to the changes with grace.
Ask for God’s physical and spiritual protection over the campers and volunteers, that the camp would be free from sickness and that the spiritual forces of darkness would be thwarted at every turn.
Please pray for cabin leaders to have endurance through long days and encouragement as they move from one activity to another from sunup to sundown and long after with the kids.
Ask the Holy Spirit to flood these leaders with wisdom and insight, so they can better understand what they are hearing and seeing from these kids.
According to Agape Families, an estimated 22,000 of Oregon children and teens are impacted by the incarceration of a family member and are growing up in homes broken by strains in relationships, financial insecurity, health challenges, academic hurdles, and lack of housing. “Without hope or resources, these youth are placed on a trajectory of continued poverty or incarceration, with many of the choices being handed to them rather than made for themselves. This is why we are here — to increase the likelihood of these youth succeeding by providing various programs for not only youth but an entire family unit” (agapefamiliesoregon.org).
PRay also for…
- Parents and caregivers, many of whom are grandparents and foster families, to find rest and refreshment while their kids are at camp — and that they would see the love and hope found in Jesus through the volunteers.
- The leaders to have wisdom and insight into what they are hearing and seeing from the kids.
- The kids to feel safe and at peace.
- Gospel conversations throughout camp.
- The seeds of the gospel that are planted in the hearts of the campers to bear fruit. This year our very own Brianna Hines is joined by Joben and Mica Jarvis as the camp speakers, and a team with Charis Odell from UFC is leading the worship times.
We hope that many of you will commit to wrestling in prayer between 7 p.m. and midnight as this is the time when many campers struggle with their emotions, act out, and some try to run away. Pray against the need for disciplinary action.
We are excited to share a report with you next Friday about how the weekend went and how you can continue to pray for this yearlong ministry and for these children and teens.