Ortoha: Reflections From Camp Speakers

Although the warmth of summer is fading, the memories forged during the three weeks of Camp Ortoha are still as strong as ever. We’ve invited two of our 2018 speakers to share their thoughts on what it is like serving campers, and how lasting those experiences are.

Jim Helleson:

“It’s a sin to bore kids with the gospel.” -Jim Rayburn, founder of Young Life

Each summer we have the opportunity to ”drop into” the high school world, just as Jesus dropped into our world [Phil 2: 5-8]. We get to listen and learn what their concerns are. We get to share their joys and sorrows, successes and failures. And it’s not always a pretty picture. Their lives are dominated by social media. And although they are “linked,” they are more isolated and lonely then ever. There is the constant fear of rejection. They are shamed if there are fewer “likes” then “favorites” on their posts. Into this world the liberating love and reconciliation of Jesus is proclaimed.

The clearest proclamation of the gospel, however, is not in what we say, but in what we experience together. The servant heart and enthusiasm of the staff. The great food and personal touches of the cooks. Sharing and eating together. Crazy fun games and activities. Family interactions. A time to reflect. Being vulnerable and empathetic, not being afraid of failing. The laughter and singing at campfire. The love and support of all the people behind the scene making it all come together.

Far from dull and boring, camp is experiencing the exciting adventure of the Christian life together.

Kim Helleson:

One of the ways I learn is “visually.” As the Bible study leader it is my hope that the campers will “hide His Word in their hearts,” and I am always hoping to find a way for the message of the Bible to become real to campers.

This summer I selected some verses from Jesus’ teaching and had the campers “act” the verse out for the others.

One of my favorite “visuals” was Matthew 7:24-27. The campers had one of their own be “a Rock” on which the wise man built his house! This is one scripture I expect the campers will remember!
Speaker Jim Helleson

Speaker Jim Helleson

Speaker Kim Helleson

Speaker Kim Helleson