By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
TOCCOA, Ga. (LBM) – The 2020 GO TELL Camp almost did not happen for two Louisiana Baptist churches, but divine intervention provided a way for the students to experience a mighty movement of God.
Like many others around the country, churches who planned on participating in the annual camp organized by GO TELL Ministries faced novel coronavirus pandemic-related challenges. While some opted not to attend, Spring Creek Baptist Church in Kentwood and First Baptist Church in Houma were among seven churches who attended the camp June 25-29 at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa, Ga.
Spring Creek brought 42 students and 16 adults and First Houma brought 14 students and four adults.
By the end of the week, Spring Creek Baptist reported four professions of faith, 19 restorations of fellowship with the Lord and one commitment to Christian vocational ministry. First Houma’s students indicated a number of decisions for personal spiritual renewal.
“We are very grateful to GO TELL founder Rick Gage and his camp staff. They could have pulled the plug but they made the decision to make it happen,” Spring Creek student minister Eric Latham told the Baptist Message. “That’s 24 decisions that wouldn’t have happened had the camp not taken place.”
Before the participants could board the church bus to camp, students and adult leaders had to produce a negative COVID-19 test result. Temperature checks were taken upon arrival at camp, twice daily at the conference center, and once before leaving the premises. They also were required to wear masks at all times and observed proper social distancing from other church groups.
Dylan Johnson, student minister at First Houma, commended the GO TELL staff for their diligence in taking the proper safety precautions.
“We felt very comfortable our entire time there,” Johnson said. “GO TELL is a leader in how to do camp in every aspect, especially in safety, and they proved it the week we were there.”
Johnson said his students, whose trip was delayed several hours when mechanical issues temporarily sidelined their van 150 miles from their destination, took away the need to share Christ more in their community.
“The Lord pressed on the students’ heart the deep desire to go and tell their friends, strangers and family members,” he said. “The phrase that a lot of students kept using was ‘step up in faith.’”
Third-year camp counselor and intern Faith Kirkland, a member of Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville and a Louisiana College student, said she was blessed to experience a movement of God among the campers.
“This summer was one of the best summers of my life,” Kirkland said. “I learned so much and I was stretched to my limits, but learned what I was capable of. I’m so thankful to have sat under the leadership of the GO TELL staff and to be trained on how to effectively lead the interns.”
Gage added his thankfulness that so many of the campers decided to attend.
“We are grateful to God for two strong Bible believing, evangelistic churches from the Louisiana Baptist Convention that were able to attend our 32nd year of GO TELL camps,” Gage said. “More than 30 commitments to Christ were made as a result of Spring Creek Baptist Church and First Baptist Houma being here. And one of those commitments was for full time Christian service.
“Only Heaven can measure the impact that was made in the lives of the students and leaders that came from those two Louisiana Baptist churches,” he said.
“Campers have already begun making plans to attend GO TELL next summer,” Gage said. “We have been saying to all youth leaders… try us one time and we believe your students will want to come back.”
For more information on GO TELL Camp, please contact GO TELL Ministries at 866.I-GO-TELL or email firstname.lastname@example.org.