Where God Has Blessed

An Essay By Anna // 1/12/2009

Snow lines every bare branch, making it sparkle- stark, yet lovely. Most winters I know are grey, but here the sky is blue. This place is transformed from how I knew it in the summer, when the limbs and leaves were like delicate ink strokes running across the sunset, shivering in the breeze. I must get reacquainted. There is the path I followed to the Chapel, which is now hung with icicles. And over there is the ice rink that was once a carpet of grass and daisies. How the world has changed!
The sky is dark, dotted with stars and snow that can hardly be distinguished from one another. I glide down the tubing hill, laughing and screaming, only to be lost in the endless sky when I stop.
This is Camp Barakel, a name found in the Bible that means "God blessed." And Barakel must be blessed, because every time I go there God reveals a little more of himself to me.
Not just in the glorious Creation. Everything about Barakel- the staff, the worship, the speakers- declares God. The whole atmosphere of the camp is filled with Him. It’s a place where you can wind humor and seriousness and have them hold together, also holding your attention.
In the summer, from flag-raising at dawn where we say the Pledge of Allegiance- the complete Pledge of Allegiance- to Tribe Talk that night after Chapel, everything is all about the Lord. The bus ride home may seem like the end of it, but it’s not. The examples set by the counselors and speakers and even group members live on far past the end of the week.
And now I’m back again, in the middle of this freezing Michigan January for the Winter Teen Retreat. In its highest places, the snow is over my head. They nicknamed Barakel "the Arctic Circle" for the weekend.
The weekend is short, but by the second day it feels like I’ve been there forever and will stay there forever. Nor do I want to leave. I love this place.
I haven’t been to a lot of camps. I’ll admit that. Maybe Barakel isn’t the best camp in the world. But it certainly ranks close, in my heart if not more.
It’s called a retreat for a reason. The dictionary definition is "a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy." I think it fits Barakel fairly well. You can be surrounded by people, but alone with Jesus. The problem with retreats is that- with the exception of One- they are temporary. Eventually I’ll have to go back to my normal world.
But maybe it won’t be so "normal" anymore. Because what God does at Barakel reshapes my "normal". He makes all things new.

Camp Barakel, Camp Barakel
We’re glad to turn again
To this blessed place
Where truth and grace
From God’s own Word abound
Our lives anew we give to Him
To live and serve our best
Camp Barakel we’ll ne’er forget
For surely God has blessed.
-"Camp Barakel", a song I did not write


Good job!

Very well written - simple and very elegant.
Well done.


"Let the high praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hand."
~Psalm 149:6

Mary | Mon, 01/12/2009

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!


Thanks. :)
He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Tue, 01/13/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

That's really good! Camp

That's really good! Camp there sounds fun. :)
"You're pirates! Hang the code, and hang the rules! They're more like guidelines anyway"
-Elizabeth Swan//Pirates of the Caribbean//Curse of the Black Pearl

Sarah | Sat, 01/17/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

Oh, it is... It really is.

Oh, it is... It really is. :D
He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Sun, 01/18/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


User login

Please read this before creating a new account.