By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
LIVINGSTON — Many different languages were heard here, but mostly from adult sponsors and counselors. The children and teens spoke English — about American music, Facebook, and favorite soccer teams.
The campers of All Nations Camp represented 15 different countries they or their families are from. Now immigrants to the United States and Tennessee, they live in the U.S. where they enjoy being part of the increasingly pluralistic U.S. society.
But they face many stresses. At camp, for five days, those stresses faded as they spent time with fellow immigrants just like them. The campers ranged from ages 7-17 and represented Romania, South Korea, Africa, Nepal, and many Hispanic countries.
They also learned about Jesus at camp. Of the 178 campers, 54 made professions of faith.
Those commitments mark the largest response to the gospel in many years, reported William Burton, Hispanic/ethnic church planting/evangelism specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, which provides the camp. One reason for this large response is that the total attendance of 208 including counselors was double that of last year and the highest in 18 years.
The large attendance is partly due to the fact that the camp only costs $100, which allows many campers to attend though their parents have low paying jobs, explained Burton. The camp is subsidized by $20,000 from the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
Another key to the camp is Dave Shelley, camp director, said Burton. Shelley, director of missions, Wilson County Baptist Association, based in Lebanon, has directed the camp for 21 years. He enlisted 10 volunteer staff members who served without pay and planned all activities, said Burton.
“This camp gives TBC churches, through GOTM, the opportunity to impact with the gospel the next generation of potential leaders who will influence not only the U.S. but the country they are from,” said Burton.