Summer Camp Provides Powerful Relief from Pain

“Don’t be afraid. Remember my story.”

Thirteen-year-old Stephanie spoke these words as she joined her fellow campers around a campfire at Arden Circle Square Ranch one July night this summer. The very fact that Stephanie was at camp was a miracle. She knows it and she wants others to know it, too.

Stephanie was born with Omphalocele, a condition that causes an infant’s organs to be born outside the stomach wall. Doctors did not know what her prognosis would be but she survived. Even so, her young life continues to be marked by intense chronic pain and ongoing hospital treatment.

Something amazing happens for Stephanie at camp. Her pain lessens. That’s part of the story she wanted her fellow campers to remember as she gave her testimony at the campfire.

Relief from pain
“Imagine your worst possible pain, and more,” she said. “That’s what I’m in every day. But the other day, we were praying. And instantly I felt something. I felt my pain go from a nine to a five. That’s amazing for me. So you know, don’t be afraid. Just pray for one another and let God in, because He can do wonders. If you have pain in your heart, let Him in. He can help you. If you guys are struggling with anxiety or struggling with depression, let Him in. I know that He can heal you. If He can heal me, I believe that He can heal every one of you here today.”

After Stephanie returned from her first week at camp in 2014, her mother Denise wrote this email to Camp Executive Director Andrew Douglas:

“If I look back on last summer, I can’t believe the difference it made for Stephanie to be at camp. This year, the pain is back in full force and trying to rule her life. I asked her the other day what we could do to help. Stephanie said she would like to work with horses and be around them.”

“I know what that means,” responded Andrew in an email to Denise. “Our horses are powerful. They carry an authority from God to bring peace. They are quiet, they listen well. We’ll get Stephanie to camp for as many weeks as she can handle. We’ll get her to the barn as much as possible.”

Thanks to scholarship assistance, Stephanie was able to spend two weeks at Arden Circle Square Ranch this summer. She spent time around the horses, made good friends and encouraged everyone with her words of courage and faith.

More than 9,300 children and teens spent a week or more at Inter-Varsity’s nine camps this summer. Some came with physical pain. Others came with emotional pain or fears. Many, like Stephanie, left camp with a deeper knowledge that God loves and cares for them.

Please pray for these young people as they return to their homes, schools and neighbourhoods. May all they have learned and experienced at camp help them to continue to grow in maturity and faith as they return to school this fall. 

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