Sunday, June 5, 2011


When I was eleven years old I was devastated to learn my parents did not have enough money to send me to summer church camp.  The year was 1970 and to this day I remember feeling terribly sad and confused over the simple fact that my hard-working, preacher-man father could not afford the $14 price-tag for a week-long stay at camp.  For me there would surely be no fun-in-the-summertime-sun.  

Camp is big when you are eleven.
But then, everything seems BIG when you are eleven.

I recall my cheeks being hot with embarrassment as I thought about a good excuse the right words to say to my friends as to why I would not be joining them as they made their way up the mountainside the following morning... 

Today fourteen dollars doesn't buy much.  Maybe a gallon of milk, some crackers and a box or two of highly sugared cereal...

In 1970's it bought a lot of dreams.

Understanding my family was on the short-side of a dollar was difficult.
Shouting it out for the entire world to my Sunday School friends was a totally different story.

(Maybe I'd just say I was sick.  Being sick almost ALWAYS worked...)

As I stood in the foyer of the church (probably wishing I could crawl under one of the nearest pews) I overheard one of the ladies in our congregation chatting with my mother.  Despite my flapping ears I only caught a small portion of what was being said.

It was something about camp...

"Can she be ready...?"
"Someone in the...!"
"Someone in the church...!"
"Someone in the church paid...!"

Amazingly, God had heard my wistful prayers and sent His answer in the form of a lady by the name of Mrs. Onie Smith.  Back then I couldn't possibly have known how the obedience of just one person could ultimately make such a drastic difference in the life of a little bitty girl.

Years later, many years later in fact, I came to fully understand how easily a life can be changed by what sometimes may feel like an unimportant choice or decision.  Had it not been for Mrs. Smith's benevolence, I might not ever have experienced the majesty of summer camp that year.

Might not have learned to swim.

Most assuredly would not have had the chance to claim the blue-ribbon prize for winning the 50 yard dash.

I would have missed the opportunity to sit under a blanket of stars in the cool of the evening while learning the words to the beautiful Kaiser song, "Pass It On".

Quite possibly I would have missed the joy that came from understanding the gentle voice of the Father that ultimately led me to kneel around a small fire-pit to pray.  The Creator of the World met me right there that night and I will never forget asking his Son, Jesus, to come live inside my heart...

He's been there ever since. 

Indeed big things happened when I was eleven...

Thank you Mrs. Smith...wherever you are.


Below are the lyrics to Pass It On.  It's also the first song playing on my Play-List today...

(Kurt Kaiser)

"It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around can warm up to its glowing.
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it, you spread His love to everyone,
You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring when all the trees are budding;

The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it, you want to sing, it's fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

I wish for you, my friend, this happiness that I've found.

You can depend on Him, it matters not where you're bound.
I'll shout it from the mountain top, 
I want the world to know, the Lord of love has come to me,
I want to pass it on."

Blessings for an awesome day in His presence.

Love to you...


Amelia said...

For a variety of reasons we provide funds for a couple of kids to attend Falls Creek each year. It truly can be a life changing week. May God bless you in many ways.

BrushedByAnAngel said...

I experienced a similar time when I was young - wanting to go to summer camp and my family could not afford it (lots of children in this Catholic family). But our church came through and paid for all four of us girls to go. I think it was quite possibly the best time I ever had away from home. Your story brought back some sweet memories - prayers at the flag pole, swimming on the lake, crafts with the other attendees and singing in the tabernacle at night. Sunday blessings to you, Rebecca.

NanaDiana said...

REbecca-That is one of your most beautiful posts to date. There is so much goodness in this world that goes unnoticed. How womderful that that lady's contribution made such a big difference in your life. I'd say God had his hand on you all along! xo Diana

Julie Marie said...

What a beautiful story Rebecca... and I hope Mrs. Smith is reading it from Heaven and smiling... xoxo Julie Marie

Theresa said...

Oh what a sweet story from your past! Oh what a sweet lady to cover the cost of camp for you, God's plan... always works!

Have a blessed Sunday dear Rebecca! HUGS!

Jan's Blog said...

A beautiful story. A beautiful lesson. Bless you!!!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

When hubby and I first moved 'to the country' although we've always lived in a subdivision the ladies of the church told me the minister's stipend is not very large. Therefore, when able, the members of the parish share their garden bounty, baking and anything else they can with his/her family.
Bless the lady's heart that paid for you to go to camp and yours for still showing your appreciation after all these years.

ShirleyC said...

What a sweet story! I never got to go to any camp as a child. Kids these days have so many more opportunities.

Rita said...

We never know what our actions do for another person, nor do we know who is watching our lives! Wow! That's scary sometimes. I'm thankful that the woman paid heed to the calling, for it made a change in your life. I know you are thankful for that day!

Anonymous said...

Oh,Becky,what a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing ! debby from Italy

A Rose Without A Thorn said...

Beautiful, that is simply all, BEAUTIFUL, Praise be to him the most highest, Maureen.

Dolores said...

What a sweet, sweet story! Makes one stop and think how helping a child can make such a difference and years later, to still remember.
Bless you!

Unknown said...

Hi my friend,
It does my heart good to read your sweet post today. Who knows what we can do to change a life?
Thanks for the reminder.

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

My mom was living on Social Security after my dad's death. We could certainly not pay for Summer Camp or Winter Retreats. But there was always someone who made sure I was there...with money in the Canteen I would be included. Some of my most life changing decisions were during those times. I have tried in some small way to pass it on to others that may not be able to is a blessing.

Deanna said...

Blessings to you Becky Sue!!!

Scrap for Joy said...

This was a beautiful story with which to start off Monday. My husband is a Pastor and this kind of thing happens a lot. There are so many annonymous "angels" out there that we are not aware of...makes a heart happy!
Blessings to you today~
(Your finds from your last post made me absolutely drool!)

karen said...

Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing . I love this song.

Rina ... also Chester or Daisysmum. said...

Just came across your blog, a peace place to be atm,There's always a lot going on and atm there's a little inner turmoil. Thanks I be back
Have a nice day Rina

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Beautiful.... just beautiful... Thanks for sharing..... still sobbing.... loved it.



Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Honey this is such a wonderful story. I enjoyed reading it very much and as always I leave here a better person than when I came by.
Love to you

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

What a blessing that I found this post today, Rebecca. You were blessed by Mrs. Onie, and in turn you just KEEP on blessing so many others!

Love you,
Angelic Accents

White Lace and Promises said...

So glad I found this post. It makes me recall my camp experiences. Beautiful testimony. Isn't it wonderful that God listens and loves the prayer an faith of a little child.

Blog Archive