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November Encouragement!

November Encouragement!

Hello again, friends! Welcome back to the blog, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

I genuinely cannot believe it, but somehow it’s already November!

So many exciting things happen this month! The Father Son retreat happened over the weekend- and I’m sure it was a wonderful time! Here’s what some friends had to say:

Stephen & Andrew Van Bueren

As we pulled through the gate on Friday night and passed by the “Camp Swamp” sign, a flood of feelings and emotions came sweeping over me (Stephen). I have been coming to camp since it began in 1992, when I was 11 years old, which just so happens to be the same age as my son (Andrew). Regardless of whether it was Camp Woodmont, Camp Lee or now here at Camp Swamp, those feelings and emotions have always remained the same…

Joy, Excitement, Anticipation, Happiness, Safety, Security, Peace and an Escape from the world.

When I asked Andrew what his feelings were as we pulled into camp, he shared many of the same things, to include looking forward to hanging out with his friends. This is the amazingly wonderful and special thing about camp…whether you are 40 years old or 11 years old, Camp brings out the childlike wonderment in all of us…which is something that I think Jesus said something about.

So what has our experience been like this weekend at the Father/Son Retreat?

Andrew:

Unlike when I go to school, being here at Camp and the Father/Son retreat, it is so much fun to be around everyone who is loving and kind to each other, building one another up as opposed to worrying about being torn down because of our differences. Being here this weekend, I felt such a great presence of the Holy Spirit around us, like a shield protecting us from the rest of the world. One of my favorite parts was getting to go down to the firepit with my dad on Saturday morning and sitting with a bunch of other dads and sons and listening to everyone pray. I bet there are not that many places where dads and sons will gather together and pray.

But probably my favorite time was being able to build our awesome Orange & Blue race car with my dad. It was so much fun being able to have that experience where we got to take something from nothing, work together with my dad and create something so cool. Plus we came in 2nd place which was awesome. I’m just so grateful to be here with my dad and all the other Father’s and sons.

Stephen:

Time is such a precious commodity. When you are young of age, like Andrew, it’s hard to really grasp and appreciate time and how fleeting it is. I see him having so much fun and enjoying life in the moment, and when you are 11 years old you don’t really stop to think that these moment and times won’t always be there.

For me as Andrew’s father, now 40 years old, having time with my son this weekend is the most precious and valuable thing that I have/”own.” I understand that it will only be a “few” years before these times may cease, when he is off to college and beginning his own adult life. And so when so much of my time is spent commuting to and working at my job, to be able to escape from it all and to come out to the Father/Son retreat with Andrew…a place where it’s almost like time slows way down…well to be honest, there is nowhere else in the world that I would have rather been this weekend, and nobody that I would have rather spend my time with than my son. Getting to watch him run around with his old friends and the making of new friends, getting to listen to the sounds of the screams and laughter…what could honestly be better.

What makes this experience so wonderful?

It’s knowing that even in the midst of such a crazy and chaotic world that we live in…during a time in history that everyone is judged and criticized and “cancelled” for every little thing…I can bring my son out to the Father/Son retreat and where he know that he will be loved and accepted just for who his is…just for who God created him to be. And that is something that Jesus did with everyone he interacted with…loved and accepted. This is why these retreats are so special and awesome. It’s a place that I can bring my son where he can so intimately get to experience Jesus and a little bit of what heaven will be like.

What do I look forward to in the future?

One day, when I am much older, with a lot more grey hair, and many more sore muscles and creaky bones…I will come back to camp for the Father/Son retreat as a grandfather, seeing Andrew running around with his son and experiencing all of these same things together…

Joy, Excitement, Anticipation, Happiness, Safety, Security, Peace and an Escape from the world.

How encouraging was that!? Thank you so much to everyone who shared, and a special thank you to Gabby Basilio for making this blog possible!

Not only that, but Thanksgiving is also this month! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m so excited to go home and see my family!! There really is no place like home for the holidays. I hope that everyone has a great time. :) (More to come about Thanksgiving- check back with me later! <3)

Well, friends, that’s all for me this week! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog. As usual, I’ll be praying for each of you to have a safe and encouraging week!

Much Love,

Bri <3


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