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MINNESOTA – All over, school has begun bringing children and parents all new challenges for an all new year.
For Tree of Life Family Church, a recent five-day stay at Camp Patmos was more than just a fun exercise – it was a chance to fortify friendships, to build one another up before the school year struck with full force.
Last year, Tree of Life was connected to Camp Patmos by Cru staff member Jane Howe, who recognized the importance of children getting to know each other outside the context of daily life.
But this year would be different. This time, it wouldn’t be just the children from Tree of Life attending camp, but their parents too.
Nineteen families – a total of 72 campers – split between children and adults boarded buses and the three-hour trip out of their inner-city comfort zone to the green countryside of Hackensack, Minn.
“We wanted to really get to know each other as a church, but outside of our church building,” said Gene, a member of Tree of Life who helped plan the trip. “We wanted these families to get to know each other in a real environment.”
Camp Patmos made for a perfect setting for a “real environment.” While the children fished and swam, made crafts, and played ball the parents attended seminars that dug into God’s Word and what it says on parenting.
They also explored what it means to be a part of a much bigger family – God’s family.
Even with the many activities, everyone’s favorite time was in the evening when the campers gathered for chapel around the campfire.
The last night, after a week of learning what it meant to be in God’s family, a family of five who had just recently given their lives to Christ requested the pastor dedicate their three children to the Lord in the presence of their new brothers and sisters in Christ.
“God was in this trip,” Gene said. “You could see it and feel it between the families. We were sharing responsibility, getting together to try new things. It was beautiful.”
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