Our 4th Annual IBF Church Camp

Camp has become an Easter tradition for our church family. Last week, I recounted the way this tradition started, and was reminded what a remarkable story it is. Here's a short timeline of how it all began...

May 16, 2009

  • It's literally twenty-four hours before we move to Malawi. Rachel and I are seizing every opportunity to tell God's people about His work in Africa. That has led us to Faith Bible Church of South Orange County.
  • We meet a couple named Matt & Brianne Kopp. They tell us they're adopting from Ethiopia, and maybe they can stop by and visit. We tell them we'd love to have them, knowing it's like inviting someone to stop by Winnipeg the next time they're in Los Angeles.

April 15-17, 2011

  • Surprise! Matt & Brianne come visit on their way to Ethiopia!
  • I'm teaching at youth camp at Lake Malawi that weekend, so I invite "the other pastor Matt" to teach the first session.
  • As our families watch the sunset on the lakeshore, Matt K. asks if there are ways their church in California can partner with ours in Malawi.
  • I was just thinking of ways to encourage fellowship among our church body, so I wondered out loud about the benefit of doing a camp for our whole church.
  • He lights up. "Our church's family camp is one of the biggest events of the year. We love family camp!"

April 6-9, 2012

  • We hold our first IBF Church Camp, at a nature preserve, where zebra, ostrich, giraffe, impala, and other animals roam free. 
  • A team of 3 guys from the church in California take care of the teaching and the kids programs.

  • That lets 70 people from our church in Malawi – folks who are usually busy teaching kids, leading worship, or making tea on Sundays – enjoy undivided fellowship with the rest of the church body.
Now, three years later, everything has just gotten better. Our church is starting to love family camp too. We had 101 people come this year. More importantly, people are coming not just to be served, but to serve. One family joined our church after attending camp two years ago; this year they helped organize camp, share meals, and lead a discussion group. And for the first time ever, we had more people offering rides, scholarships, meals and tents than we had people requesting them.

As you peruse the photos from this year's camp (below), join us in praising God for orchestrating this wonderful opportunity for our church to practice Christian love for one another. Please pray that times like this will continue to strengthen our church.
International Bible Fellowship Church (at least a good number of us!)
The FBC team doesn't get ostriches at their family camp. Unfortunately.
Matt Kopp challenged us with a great series of sermons on how the gospel transforms all our relationships.
Naomi and I went for an early morning walk, and found some new friends. They weren't afraid of her, so I had to jump in when she got too close!
A campfire under the stars was the perfect setting to introduce some new worship songs - and s'mores!
Telephone Charades. Titus is acting out "Throwing money at a wedding." It eventually turned into "Picking fruit off a tree." 
Volleyball is another camp mainstay, though it's more about having fun than winning.
One way to quantify the fun level of camp: by how much laundry needs to be done afterwards.
Special thanks to this year's team from Faith Bible Church for helping make camp happen!

Personally, I hope that IBF Church might someday follow your example–helping another church host their own family camp...