While in France, our team spent one morning working with GEM (Greater European Mission) at Camp des Cimes, a refuge for youth nestled in the French Alps below the alpine village of La Rivoire above Bourg d’Oisans. The first “Camp of the Peaks” ran back in 1967 in a dilapidated farmhouse without electricity or running water, and the first workers slept in a drafty barn in the hay! However, over time—and through years of dedicated vision and hard labor—
the tiny 200-year-old village complex of Rivoire was bought and restored, and eventually an idyllic chalet was added, turning the shelter into a dream-come-true haven in France for “God to save the lost and strengthen the found.” Our team divided into two groups. Half of us (them) chopped and hauled wood, while the other half of us (including me) cleared out and leveled
a very rocky area in preparation for making a patio. Both jobs required such strength that half a day was plenty of exertion,
and by the time we stopped for lunch, we were all ready for a change of pace. In fact, my arms were hamburger and my back toast after a couple of hours,
so I found less glorious work changing the bedding
with a group of volunteers from Canada who were just my age!
While airing out the blankets, I had the surprising joy of meeting a young lady named Amy who was doing an internship at Camp des Cimes, and as we chatted, we discovered that we have a special connection: She’s a student of my son Jonathan, who teaches at Moody Bible Institute over 5,000 west of Camp of the Peaks! Talk about a small world! One of the things I love about being a Christian is that we’re part of a global family…a very wide, very deep, but also very small and intimate world-wide web of family where you are related both by blood (Jesus’) and by love to everybody!
Thank you, Father, and thank you, Jesus! By the way, I don’t know what you’re planning to do this coming summer, but if you don’t know either, Camp des Cimes is looking for volunteers again (2016). According to their website, “Camp of the Peaks seeks to be a refuge
where God can recharge, encourage, and save everyone.” “Through the friendly environment and the shared camp experiences,
they share their lives, demonstrating what life can be
when permeated with Biblical truth and the person of Christ.” If you’re interested, here’s their website:
http://gemeuroteam.org/stories/camp-des-cimes/“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).