Tuesday, July 23, 2013

tin cans and Bible verses

It was always right near the end of the summer, not too far after all of the Independence Day celebrations but certainly late enough to be thinking about back to school shopping and doing the last fixings on the haying equipment so they could be put away for the winter. When the mornings were warm, unless you stood in a long stretched shadow from a big cottonwood tree. The time of year when the grass still has green in it. But just like graying hair on an aging grandpa, the green begins to be less and less and the brown more.
I can still smell the canvas of the big army tents. They were no longer in commission as barracks but now were used to house little kids for one week. Not just a regular week but a life changing week for many where friendships, familyships is a better word to describe, were made and woven tightly into something unable to explain to people who've not had the opportunity to experience them personally. Wood was carved, a lot of good food eaten. Speakers spoke and our hearts grew closer to our Savior which was the most important thing.
It was Bible camp. Every summer from the year I celebrated my eighth birthday you could find me in that deep canyon that God carved out of the South Dakota sod just so that kids would have a place to meet and visit with Him. The director, anyone helping for that matter, had to be a very special person who could teach Christian principles, assist during craft time, play "capture the flag," go down the water-slide etched into the side hill, enforce rules and listen to Bible verses.
Oh and the Bible verses weren't just something to hide in your heart. Whoever memorized the most Bible verses by the end of the week was rewarded with something very special. One of the years I won it was a king sized chocolate bar - definitely a prize to keep your eye on! But those verses are still in my memory. Many times when a situation has me all caught up, I think of words written by one of the major prophets or spoken by Jesus himself. They're always helpful and one of my very best resources.
At Bible camp we would scoff at the thought of drinking water from a cup or glass. On the day we registered we'd be given a tin can. One that had held tomatoes, beans or corn. Now it held fresh spring water hauled in by an area rancher. I was given a tin souvenir cup last week and as soon as the water from that cup touched my tongue I went back in time to all of the drinks of water I'd had from those tin cans at camp. They were also great for water fights. We'd fill them up and dump them on the next person in the water line. Of course that caused a domino effect. One time I'd dipped my tin can into a water tank and planned to pull it out and dump it on someone. As I yanked the can back out of the tank another camp goer - and a very tough ranch boy - had leaned in to the tank to fill his own can. I hit him right on the eyebrow with mine and he still has a scar to this day. I always feel bad when I make boys bleed but now he'll never forget Bible camp either.
There's no relationship sweeter, memory more satisfying or place more nourishing for the soul than that camp. I still try to make it back for at least one service a summer. Every time I'm there, I'm rejuvenated. It's like God's presence is just a little bit stronger there where so many have faith like a child. It's because they still are children but one day, because of that blessed Bible camp in the canyon, they'll be well founded adults ready to run the race.
Tin cans and Bible verses, just another great memory from Bible camp in the country. 


  1. Oh Trinity, reading this just brings a tear to my eye. Unless you have experienced Cedar Canyon Bible Camp, there is no way to explain to people what a powerful, magnificent place it is to foster relationships with others and with our Almighty Father. It is there that I have formed life-long friendships and will never forget the spiritual impact this place has had on my life. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Larinda, You are so sweet! Thank you for all that you've put into camp! It's people like you who've changed the lives of people like us! God bless you!