In 1964, Mrs. J. M. Jones wrote J. M. Gaskin a letter recalling her experience as a camper during the first year of Falls Creek, 1917:

“I will never forget that first assembly, for we blazed the way. We crossed the Washita River in a boat, then took a wagon drawn by two mules to the grounds. The wagon stalled on one high hill. We all got out, and Mr. Jones and Hot Dog Lee put their shoulders to the wheel to help get the wagon up the hill. It was very primitive but lots of fun. In the afternoon for recreation, the men and boys cut the underbrush…”

Church camp season is upon us. Baptists are making their way to Falls Creek, CrossTimbers, Kiamichi and several other campgrounds across our state from east to west. Mrs. Jones’ letter reminds me of one simple fact: Camp is work. In fact, that first Falls Creek was so much work that they cut underbrush just for recreation!

If your children or grandchildren are going to Falls Creek, if your church is taking a group of students, there are people working hard to make that camp happen. Selfless servants are driving buses, gathering supplies, loading trucks, cleaning cabins and preparing meals. Camp involves sweaty brows, sore limbs, late nights and early mornings. Faithful Oklahoma Baptists work together to make Falls Creek, CrossTimbers and other camps happen.

The New Testament teaches us that fellowship is formed through, and expressed by, working together. Fellowship is sharing together on a deep spiritual level—sharing one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Fellowship is also about sharing in some very practical ways—sharing time, sharing money, sharing meals and sharing the work. Sounds like camp, doesn’t it?

Be sure to thank our Lord for the faithful men and women in your church who make camp happen. Encourage their work by expressing your appreciation to each of them. If you are serving at Falls Creek, CrossTimbers, or another of our Baptist camps, hear this from me: Thank you for your work!

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love…” (1 Thess. 1:2-3).

By the way, notice the word picture painted by Mrs. Jones describing the two men who put their shoulders to the wheel in order to help the wagon over the hill. At the beginning of 2019, I asked you to join me in praying Zeph. 3:9 for our churches. “I will turn things around for the people… united to serve Me with their shoulders to the wheel” (The Message).

Oh Lord, we call upon Your great Name; purify and unify us, make us to be willing co-laborers in Your great work! Be glorified as we put our shoulders to the wheel!