What is it about a little camp in the backwoods of Mississippi that could possibly prompt families to drive hundreds of miles just to attend? Why would all that dirt, the mosquitoes, and the heat seem so desirous? If you've never attended, you probably wouldn't understand, but for those who show up year after year - you know. It's where the Spirit of the Lord is poured out richly. It's where lives are changed. It's where the gospel is preached over the sound of torrential rains (remember Abe Fulmer that one year?), and songs are sung at the top of our lungs. It's late night conversations and prayers. It's ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, basketball, softball, ping-pong, and canoe races...and the challenge. It's kitchen duty, and cooking for 300 people. It's laughter from countless children and friends and family reuniting from all over the country.
For us in Maryland, it's a thousand miles. It's a twenty hour drive and it's worth every minute to spend the best week of the summer with the people best loved.
I wasn't entertaining the slightest hope of being able to come to camp this year. I thought it far beyond my reach - and truthfully, it was - but the Lord has been opening the doors one by one, and I couldn't be more thrilled at the prospect of getting to spend a week Walnut, MS and hear the name of Christ proclaimed.
I wrote that three years ago this week. Then, like now, I didn't know I'd been able to go until the week before, and I was and am thrilled. This year, I'm not driving from 20+ hours overnight from Maryland. Praise the LORD. I don't think Hattie and I could do that. But 4.5 is plenty far, and close enough to just pack up and come home if we get entirely out of sorts.
The last time I was at Camp, the heat index was 113 degrees. It was stinkin' hot. (Quite literally, I assure you.) But I also got to see my dear Beau (Mr. Emery himself) for five evenings in a row, and it was then that he knew he loved me. The first night of camp, and the first I'd seen Emery in almost a month (we lived 20+ hours away from each other), I was kind of jittery and didn't know what to say, and before I knew it, I'd been drafted into helping serve the evening snack. So there I was, dishing out cheese/crackers/pepperoni to 250-ish people without so much as a spare moment to tell Emery where I was, and he had to go leave before I finished and we didn't even get to say good night. And I was upset. Distraught. "He's going to think I just wanted to get away from him!" - I lamented mentally - and that certainly was not the case. But the next morning, he came for breakfast before work and he had written me a little letter. I slipped off after he went to work to read it, and there it hit me "Dearest Elizabeth" and signed "Love, Emery"
He didn't think ill of me one iota for the evening before, and appreciated my servant's heart (if only he had known!).....and it was then, during camp, that I knew I could love this sweet sweet man. Even if it meant going gluten free with him and picking up his dirty socks - I was just trying to be prepared on that one, Emery does pick up his own socks.
I'm sad Emery won't be there to reminisce with me. Our short and sweet courtship days. But it's been a BEAUTIFUL three years. And I'm awfully in love.
Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about camp.
Well, camp is great. Hattie is going to have a ball making tons of new friends, and I'm going to really enjoy catching up with many old ones (and maybe some new ones too). I'm very excited about it all.