The warm Minnesota sun sparkled off the lake last summer as cars began pulling into North Star Camp (NSC) carrying excited junior campers and their parents. We were not sure how many junior campers would attend in 2013, due to the addition of the Tween Camp option. However, by suppertime we had 71 campers! (Later there were 65 for Tween Camp —an overall increase of 60.)

The previous fall my oldest son, Zak, and his cousin from California, Miah Mesa, had decided that being best friends they wanted to be baptized together the next year. They also wanted to be baptized at camp, the place that had so many positive memories, experiences and connections to God and the Adventist church. So Miah’s father, Pastor Daniel Mesa, and I started having Bible studies with our oldest sons.

Zak and I were sitting at the table with snow outside and light streaming through the large windows studying the topic of baptism when I noticed my youngest son, Elijah, who was seven at the time, standing beside me. “Daddy,” he said, “I want to be baptized too. I love Jesus!” My heart just melted. “Elijah,” I said, “That is so wonderful that you love Jesus. I don’t see any reason why you can’t be baptized as well. Let’s also study together.”

Joy with Jesus

The lake was calm and sunlight danced off the water as Pastor Mesa and his two wet children, Miah and Eden, came out of the water. Then it was my turn. I walked into the water and my two boys stood on either side of me. I could hardly control my emotions; the prayer that my sons would make a decision for Jesus was being answered. I baptized one and then the other, my joy knowing no bounds!

As long as I live, NSC will have a unique place in my heart. It’s where my children let people know that they wanted to walk with Jesus the rest of their lives. And now it will be a place where my sons are discipled to live a life with Jesus. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing like an Adventist summer camp because of how it changes lives.


Author Jeff Wines is youth director for the Minnesota Conference.