PERSPECTIVE: Camps revitalized
Its name is an Indian word that means “high hill.” For more than 50 years, girls from Oklahoma churches have come here to listen to the voice of God and to develop lifelong Christian relationships with others. Nunny Cha-ha has been a special place to several generations of GAs, sponsors and parents. Its impact is eternal in the lives of thousands of girls who have spent time on the high hill above Falls Creek.
Visiting Nunny to talk about missions emphases and lead decision services has been a highlight of my summers. What a privilege for me to present the Good News of Jesus and extend a call from God for the girls to embrace the Savior and surrender their lives to His call to ministry and missions. The job is easy after they have spent three days interacting with godly camp staff, missionaries and missions education leaders. Countless life-changing decisions have been made under the little tabernacle nestled on the high hill.
Each summer, hundreds of young men travel to another high hill, one that overlooks beautiful Lake McAlester and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of trees. Boys have come to these beautiful grounds to hear the Gospel and be taught the ways of God. The focal point of the camp has always been exposure to missions and missionaries. In the same way the girls heard the call of God at Nunny, so have young men heard the call of God at Camp Hudgens.
Last year, a task force of leaders from WMU and Baptist Men spent several months considering the best approach to providing the very best children’s missions camp experience for Oklahoma youngsters. They unanimously recommended combining the girls’ and boys’ camps to form a new camp on the grounds of Camp Hudgens. Among other recommendations by the task force are many upgrades that will eventually provide the children a premier missions camp experience, and also that a new name be given to the camp.
As June ended, the curtain came down on the storied histories of Camp Nunny Cha-ha and Camp Hudgens. But another will soon rise on a new and more vibrant camping experience for our children. Missions will remain at its heart. The dream is to construct huts, houses and even primitive church buildings to represent villages in different parts of the world, which will help children experience various missions settings.
The combining of the two former camps into one new camp offers economies of scale that will allow us to provide far better facilities. Our plan is to refurbish every existing lodge at Hudgens and build several new, small lodges to accommodate greater numbers of children and sponsors. In addition, we desire to enhance the recreational facilities that are already far more diverse than could be offered at Nunny. Our goal is for every child to go away with a deep desire to return because they have had the time of their life.
This new camp will also be available for use by other age groups for retreats. As a pastor, I accompanied senior adults to Hudgens in the fall. The hills come alive with spectacular color at that time of year, and the glory of the Lord is revealed in the splendor of His created beauty.
Nunny Cha-ha and Hudgens played vital roles in our ministry to children across the years. The Nunny Cha-ha and Hudgens experiences are not going away-they are simply being revitalized and strengthened. We give thanks to God for His past work of grace at these two camps. We are confident that in the future He will work in an even greater way at the new missions camp.