Recently I was reminded of why Camp Arcadia’s ministry matters. I got to read confessions of faith from Natalie Janke and Kathryn Moorman – confirmands that have grown up coming to Camp Arcadia. They were just confirmed and had the opportunity to deliver their speeches to a packed church – Living Word Lutheran church in Plymouth, MI. Their words express their faith and how their time at Arcadia has been influential. I want to share parts of their speeches with you.
Natalie Janke: I’m not afraid to die, because I know in Heaven, I will be with Jesus. I think Heaven will be a lot like Camp Arcadia. For me, that is the closest thing to Heaven on this earth. I’m with my best friends, the food is amazing, and I never have to complain about the weather. But best of all, everyone there is ready to worship and glorify God. I have not yet had a major God moment in my life, but when I am at Camp, the Holy Spirit seems more present than ever. I never have to worry about someone judging me for my sins, or actions. We all sin, but God has promised that Christ died for me, and in Him, I am a new creation in God’s eyes.
Kathryn Moorman: I’m sure many of you can think of a time when you were awestruck by something so beautiful, it left you speechless. Last summer that happened to me at Camp Arcadia. … I have been going there since I was a baby. Every time I am there it is so beautiful and has the most wonderful sunsets. But it is more than that. It is a place where I feel closer to God.
Last summer at camp there was a dedication of an outdoor chapel on the beach. The week my family and I were there they opened the chapel. Everybody from camp was there. We were all singing songs and praising God while the sun was setting. It was so stunningly beautiful it left me speechless, and at that very moment my faith became stronger.
My faith is my relationship with God. I believe that Jesus is the son of God; he came down to earth and died for me. He gives me the opportunity to love and follow him. In return he offers me eternal life with him in heaven. He loves us very much and is a gracious God who shows us compassion even when we don’t deserve it.
There have been challenges in my life that have tested my faith, but I know I am never alone. God will help me through anything. And just like that day at Camp Arcadia where I felt God’s presence while worshiping him at the chapel on the beach, today I declare that Jesus is my Lord and I will follow him always.