Papua New Guinea

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The willing and qualified staff at Camp Gary are a tribute to much groundwork and a strong foundation that has been laid in PNG over many long years.  The counselors listened actively, eagerly absorbing the counseling materials:  then they set about doing it.  As we listened to them practicing on each other, we were amazed at the high level of comprehension God had given them.  One counselor, Rita, was so excited about what the Lord was doing in her own life that she went home and began sharing the tree with her husband.  He showed great interest and asked many questions, finally coming to the conclusion that he was not saved.  Then and there, Rita led him to the Lord.  At the Friday night campfire service, the climax of staff-training week, Evangelist Ron DeGarde preached and several staff members surrendered to go into full time Christian work.  The testimonies around the campfire of how God’s Word had changed lives that week were exciting and rewarding, but as I told Brother Jim Stackhouse that night, “This is just the beginning, the best is yet to come.”

Junior week arrived and the ten beautiful new cabins were filled to capacity.  If there was any doubt about the campers enjoying the activities, it vanished during the Monday night beach ball hot potato game as eighty yelling and cheering junior campers threw themselves wholeheartedly into the competition.  The following week was filled with lots of fun and many spiritual victories, resulting in over twenty professions of salvation, several lives surrendered to full time ministry and many other campers getting right with God.

It took some time for the Senior High campers to get used to this new camp (keep in mind that this was their first exposure to camping as we Americans define it).  As Alex, one of the older teens, told us later in the week, “When I first came I thought all of you were crazy, but now I really love it.  Papua New Guinea has never had anything like this for young people.”  On Tuesday night most of the girls and a few of the guys came forward, weeping and broken over sin:  five surrendered to full time ministry.  On Wednesday, a number of young men accepted Christ as Savior.  On Thursday, we witnessed a well-orchestrated attack on the camp – Satan obviously did not like what was taking place.  Throughout that day, word came that there was trouble with the government concerning the shipment of a camp building, a camper was suffering from sun stroke, a Bible college student had been bitten by a venomous snake and the wife of a missionary at the campus had passed out in her home (as we found out later it was from a stroke).  In spite of all this, camp continued and that evening six campers surrendered for full time ministry.  By the end of the teen week, twenty young people had been saved, several had surrendered to the Lord and many other decisions about music, bitterness, alcohol, purity and authority had been made.  God did a great work!  And He did it “exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think.”

We are looking forward to returning to PNG next year, Lord willing, to begin training leadership for the camp’s continued operation.  For now, we believe that the foundation has been laid, the vision is spreading and all the pieces are in place for Camp Gary to continue to impact young people and honor the Lord.  Praise the Lord for faithful missionaries like the Stackhouses who were willing to dream a great dream and then sacrifice to see it accomplished.  As the believers of Papua New Guinea like to say, “God Him got big name!”  That He does.  That He does.

Report by Matt Collier

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