Del Oro Camp not ‘business as usual’
(ABOVE) SUMMER STAFF included Fleur Thomas, Alexandra Morataya, Zamicbo Nelson and Anna Prylyudko.
It’s never business as usual at camp, says Del Oro Divisional Youth Secretary Captain Guy Hawk. “One of the most wonderful things about our work with young people is that we never know when our influence may make a difference in their lives. What we do here at camp might bear fruit years down the road in the form of a good decision, a kind word, or a selfless act.
“Every day there is a new discovery. Recently, we discovered four sets of twins–Jacob and Jordan, Jimmy and Charles, Brittany and Breanna, and Corey and Kyle. They were all campers in the same week!”
While campers were abundant, securing the summer staff was a bit more difficult.
This year staff recruitment was a real struggle around the entire territory. “I think families just want to stay close to home this year because of 9-11,” said Marie Kittle, camp secretary. “Still, we prayed for God to send us staff–and not just anyone, but young adults with Christian maturity–we honestly let God choose our staff.”
They came from all over the world. Alexandra Morataya is from Guatemala. Her parents are U.S. diplomats representing Guatemala. Alex is the arts and crafts director at camp. When asked about her expectations for the summer she replied, “In a million years from now it won’t matter the kind of house I lived in, the kind of car I drove, or how much money I had in the bank. What will matter is the impact I had in the life of one of these campers.”
Fleur Thomas is from London, a 9th generation Salvationist whose family dates back as far as the Christian Mission. Her parents are the corps officers at Worthing Citadel on the south coast of England. She tells us how two open air meetings are still conducted every week. “On the beach at the site of the open air there is erected a huge monument which declares the site belonging to the Army. It is inscribed, ‘They (The Salvation Army) will proclaim the gospel here every week.” In the meeting hall hangs a flag soiled with the blood of the early officers who proclaimed the Gospel in London and gave of their lives doing so.
From South Africa, Zamicbo Nelson has left his home in Cape Town for the first time. He has been saving three years of earnings for his transportation. He left behind a brother, a sister and his mother. It was when an American teacher for foreign students came to his town that Nelson heard about the opportunity to come to America to counsel at The Salvation Army camp. “It was a miracle that I was able to come and be a counselor,” he says. When asked about his church back home Nelson replied, “Uzukolwakhe! This is the name of my church. It means, ‘the glory of God.’ People are warm and make me feel welcome here. One camper wants to learn my language and another wants to come and visit me in South Africa.”
Anna Prylyudko, from the Ukraine, is also visiting the US for the first time. A group of missionary doctors from Texas invited her mother to be their translator, “They gave us an English Bible,” says Anna. “We began to read it, and this is how we came to know Jesus.” Anna shared that while growing up she was taught in school that Grandpa Lenin, referring to Vladimir Lenin leader of the Russian Revolution, was her father. She was told he would always be there for her. “His portrait was everywhere. Even on our clothing we wore small photos of Grandpa Lenin. It broke my heart when I learned that he was dead. He was supposed to be my father forever. But now I know that God is my ever-living, eternal father. ”