Each year at Easter thousands of teenagers around New Zealand go to camps where they learn about God and the story of Jesus – all the while having an amazing time together. Here’s a story about a life impacted by a family’s kindness and an Easter Camp 40 years ago.
When our youngest son was 16 years old, he asked us if we would cover the Easter Camp costs for a friend who had recently started attending his school – a girl! We secretly questioned his motives, but our son had a habit of befriending people who were a bit down on their luck.
We understood that his friend came from a very dysfunctional family. Her mother was an alcoholic and lived south of the Bombay Hills, and our son’s friend had decided to go flatting in Mt Eden to try to take more control of her life. He would often take her something from the pantry for her school lunch, and invite her home for dinner for our family camaraderie.
We knew she would certainly be in no position to pay for the Easter Camp fees. We quietly paid the fees so she could go – at the time it was $16.
She went along to Easter Camp with our son and other teenagers from church and school, but in no time at all she had moved on, goodness knows where to. We wondered if she’d gone to a new home and how she was.
About 20 years later we received an intriguing letter in our letterbox. The envelope had half a dozen of our previous addresses crossed out until it had finally reached us at our present whereabouts. The senders name and address was unknown to us. It was from Australia.
We opened the letter and discovered it was from our son’s friend - that lassie of long ago. It told of her changed life, starting at that Easter Camp so many years before. She explained she’d decided to become a Christian at the camp, and that choice and the people she’d met there had changed her life forever. She was so grateful that someone had given her a break – it was all she needed to get her life in order.
She’d moved to Australia not long after the camp, saying “not long after that I went to university and met Michael [her future husband] who I led to the Lord. Since then my sister, mother and father have come to the Lord…I am so grateful to the Lord for the abundant life he has given me.”
What a blessing it was to us to receive confirmation that her life had turned around, and that Jesus had held her in the palm of his hand all these years. We really felt that $16 had been one of our best investments.