DAVIS—Attendance at Indian Falls Creek showed an increase of 22 percent in 2011 over last year, with a total registration of 2,546, according to director Victor Cope.
Cope left camp a little light headed this year after he lost his hair when IFC attendees met his challenge of donating more than 100 units of blood to the camp’s annual blood drive, and Cope followed through on his promise of having his head shaved on Thursday night. IFC campers donated a total of 132 units of blood to the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and 41 of them signed up to become potential bone marrow donors as part of IFC’s annual bone marrow registry drive.
Speakers this year included evangelist Junior Hill in the evening and Vern Charette during the 11 a.m. worship service. Professions of faith during IFC totaled 199, with 130 rededications recorded. Other decisions included 41 acknowledging a call to ministry/special service; 45 listing a reassurance of salvation, and 47 coming forward with a need for special prayer for a total of 512 decisions.
“Junior Hill and Price Harris did a fantastic job preaching and singing the Gospel,” Cope said. “Our campers listened, laughed, cried and responded to Hill as he poured out his heart for the Lord nightly.”
Cope added that the IFC youth program was “a huge success this summer” under new directors Sib Wolfe and Todd Dowty, who “did an excellent job with the youth and the morning worship service. God used Charette to touch the hearts of both the young and the mature. Many people responded to the preaching of the Good News.”
Select students at IFC this summer also were led through a special leadership training track called Propel My Life, offered by Impact 360 and sponsored by Chick-fil-A. The course helped them learn about a biblical worldview in comparison to other worldviews, take an assessment that taught them about their individual personality and discover how they can be servant leaders in their everyday lives.
Gracia Burnham was the featured speaker during the Women’s Missions Rally on Thursday afternoon of IFC. Burnham and her husband, Martin, were missionaries with New Tribes Missions in the Philippines. They were taken captive during an anniversary trip in 2001 and were held captive for more than a year by an Islamic terrorist group. Martin was killed during their rescue attempt by the Philippine Army on June 7, 2002.
Burnham spoke about their ordeal, and showed the items that became all of her belongings during captivity—a rice sack for sleeping and her malong (a long piece of material used as a skirt) which was used for multiple purposes.
While she spoke of their horrific captivity, she mostly spoke of how God worked in her heart during those months.
“I realized that you can’t be a disciple without being a cross-bearer. And you have to be faithful to the cross God asks you to bear,” Burnham told close to 100 people who attended the rally.
She also explained the process of forgiveness she went through.
“It was easy to think about whose fault it was—even God. The more I suffered, more of the real me came out. It wasn’t pretty. But Martin helped me understand how to pray for our captors. When I started realizing my own sin and my need for forgiveness, then I learned how to forgive others.”
Not until their release did Burnham realize the enormity of their story and those who had prayed for them.
“One of the reasons I still tell our story 10 years later is to thank the people who prayed for us during our captivity,” she said. “And I want to encourage others who feel they are forsaken and walking down a trail they did not choose. I want to encourage them by saying, ‘Continue. Push on. Be God’s soldier.’”
Native American leaders Bill and Mary Jo Barnett were honored for 50 years of Christian ministry and their many years of service to IFC. Bill was presented with a blanket and Mary with a shawl in appreciation for their many years of service.
A new feeding program was introduced as a pilot program at IFC this summer.
“Our thanks go to Debbie Zackery and The Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief feeding unit, Campers on Mission, Falls Creek Conference Center, Geri Johnson, Patricia Brown and Sue Fish for making this program possible,” Cope said, adding that “God did a miraculous job at Indian Falls Creek 2011. All Glory and Praise goes to Him for the great things He has done.”
Next year, IFC will run from July 29-Aug. 2. (Sunday night through Thursday). Updated information about IFC 2012 will be available throughout the year at www.indianfallscreek.org.
“The early start is to allow more of our churches to attend, and not cut into more school days,” Cope said.
Kelly King, BGCO women’s missions and ministries specialist, contributed to this article.