Campfire Stories: Brian

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There were times in Brian’s youth that he was bullied so terribly he didn’t even want to live. It wasn’t until coming to a Salvation Army summer camp that he realized God’s profound love for him was deeper than any hurts or wounds from his broken past.  

Watch the video and see why thousands of disenfranchised kids are transformed through their experience at Salvation Army summer camps each year. 

Below is a transcript of the video edited for readability.

Brian: My expectation of myself was that nobody would ever care about me, that nobody would ever like me, nobody would ever love me. I kind of associated my name Brian with loser. I was bullied a lot. I had a lot of issues where I was thinking that, you know, I would rather just not live anymore. 

When I started coming to camp I realized that there is a God who loves me and that all those things that people had said about me are untrue.

The impact it had on me was those kids that came here and I’d see them struggling and see them being bullied here I could impact them I can influence and say “hey look you have somebody you can talk to, that it gets better, that all these things that are happening to you, you don’t have to believe them, that you can be who God made you to be.”

I got to see kids come through all different kinds of backgrounds, you know, I was so frustrated with them a lot of times that it was difficult. 

I started sitting on this rock over here at camp and people started calling it ‘Brian’s rock.’ I spent so much time on my rock just saying “Hey God give me your love for these kids” as I prayed through that and I said, “God channel your love through me into these kids.” A lot of that love ended up in me as well. So, it was just a place where for me

I was rebuilding my relationship with Jesus, as my rock.

Right now, I am serving at the Ventura Corps in Ventura California. I am in charge of a lot of our youth programs.  We have troops, we have youth groups, we have Sunday School. I also help out in the service, either doing the tithes or something, something in the service.

I help in the worship team. I get to play my Cajon box and I really enjoy just hitting that thing with my hands the best I can.

I just started a Redwoods Group. The idea for Redwoods is, “Hey you like stuff I like stuff let’s do the same stuff together.”

I think for me there’s two things that God has in store for me. Number one is just loving people. Whatever people come in my path is to show them that there’s a God who loves them and to continue to channel that love through me into other people.

And the second thing is God has youth that he has in store for me to still pour into and to invest in and to love in ways that maybe they don’t get it from people that are usually in their lives.

Camp means a lot to me. It was a place I grew up in a lot of different ways; spiritually, physically, emotionally. God did this really cool work of taking me from what I wanted and brought me here where I would get the most out of life.

In 2016, 200,000 vulnerable children experienced the joy of a Salvation Army summer camp for the first time. 

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