156 internationals make salvation decisions at All Nations Camp
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
NEWPORT — William Burton has been praying all year that 150 children and youth would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior during the 25th All Nations Camp held May 28-June 1 at Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center.
He fell just a tad short in his expectations. God provided 156 first-time salvation decisions and 24 recorded rededication decisions among the record 438 campers and staff. “It was an incredible week,” affirmed Burton, ethnic evangelism/church planting specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Burton said this year’s attendance was a 52 percent increase over last year’s then record of 288. Twenty-five additional ethnic churches participated as well, a 32 percent increase over last year, he added. The camp is open to international children, ages 7 to 17, he noted.
“Approximately 15 different ethnic groups representing 32 nations participated in All Nations Camp,” Burton related.
“Everlasting” was the theme of this year’s camp and was based on John 3:16, Burton said. “Children hear gospel presentations twice a day and had an opportunity to respond,” he said.
Burton praised the efforts of camp director Dave Shelley, director of missions for Wilson County Baptist Association, who has been involved in all but one of the All Nations Camps. “Only eternity knows the influence Dave Shelley has had on the lives of volunteers and international students who have come to All Nations Camp over the past 25 years,” Burton said.
Burton noted the growth of All Nations Camp in recent years didn’t just happen.
“All Nations Camp used to be the best kept secret in Tennessee. We have been intentional in promoting it among our ethnic churches,” he said.
The TBMB specialist also said there has been an intentional effort to include more ethnic pastors and churches in the annual camp. “It has given them a sense of ownership. They are sending their kids to camp and it has just exploded.”
Burton is appreciative of the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions which provides about two-thirds of the cost of camp for each participant. “When you see 156 children and teenagers accept Christ, you see what a great investment that is,” Burton said.