Province of Panamá
Family Camp of the AG, San Carlos
1-3 August 1997

Kids camp is always an exciting time of the year. Itís one of the greatest opportunities for God to move and minister in a childís life like at no other time. This year was no different.

Last yearís camp (when we were not in Panamá) had over 700 children. This yearís had only 150+. Three reasons for the decrease are:

  1. Cost went up from $8 for a week to $13.50 for a weekend (still too cheap).
  2. Time period changed from summer vacation to mid-school break (like Spring vacation).
  3. The Public Schools canceled the vacations altogether, so we had to switch from a Monday-Friday schedule to a Friday-Sunday. Some churches even thought that camp was canceled altogether.
All that said, the camp was perfect for meeting the needs of the kids who were there. In a word, the Lord ministered to the children in a still small voice, like He did with Elijah in the cave.

(1 Ki 19:11) The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

(1 Ki 19:12) After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

(1 Ki 19:13) When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

It happened at the second and final nightís service, after a prolonged time of singing, shouting and dancing at the altar, all in good Panamanian style. There was such a sweet, tender presence of the Lord that we couldnít break it up.

Into that calm a shrill cry broke out with a sobbing message in tongues and later interpretation. The gist of the message was that the harvest was great and the workers few to reach the children of this generation who are being mistreated and abused. And that God had chosen these servants (referring to us) to reach such children.

The intensity of the crying out made me curious to find out what this sister (a teacher who was serving on the cooking staff) had seen and experienced. Later she told me that while I was ministering she saw me but also an image of a person much taller and stronger in my place ministering to the children. Then she said that she saw children who needed to be reached who were being mistreated and abused in such horrible ways that she broke down crying all over again.

We accept that word of encouragement from the Lord to keep on in trying to reach as many children as possible especially since so many are mistreated and are defenseless without the Lord.

The children went to bed after that service tranquilly and had an uneventful night, which is always a blessing at camp. The following morning at the devotional service we allowed them to perform their special music and dramas for the Lord and each other. They especially enjoyed seeing themselves on video-tape from the previous dayís activities.

We had to postpone the specials and dramas, but I am glad that it worked out that way. The children were able to get to bed at a reasonable hour in a tranquil frame of mind, and we were able to give to the Lord all of ourselves in all of the worship service. The lighter stuff came the next day. It was good to be in the presence of the Lord.

Kirk Antonio Jones
Missionary to the Children of PanamŠ