Here it is August, already; July is truly a blur! Brooks Range Bible Camp was the focus of our summer and after all the praying, planning, airplane maintenance, flight training, shopping, and packing, we faced an unexpected challenge. Forest fires! Hundreds of them blazed across the state, the majority of them uncontrolled and burning thousands of acres. Our camp theme was living the abundant life, and the bible verse we’d prepared to focus on with the campers was John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Six of us, including Dwayne and I, had flown up a day early to set up the camp kitchen and mow the grass runway for the others. But smoke moved in overnight, blocking much of the route from King Ranch to Crevice Creek, where we have held camp on the Fickus family property for the past several years. We prayed the Lord would show us what to do, prayed He’d clear the smoke from our flight path, prayed we wouldn’t disappoint a hundred village kids by having to cancel camp. The day before camp was to start, with smoke still obscuring the sky, most of the camp staff boarded a van and drove 16 hours to Coldfoot, the nearest place we could pick them up by airplane and bring them to camp. The next day, with fewer airplanes than usual, Kingdom Air Corps pilots flew multiple trips to the villages and transported campers to camp.
In spite of the obstacles we faced, the week of camp ministry was a tremendous blessing both to staff and campers. Forty-six children attended the first week of camp, and 50 teens attended the second week; many made life-changing decisions for Christ. In retrospect, this experience was a good illustration of John 10:10. The thief tried to steal our two weeks of camp ministry, but by trusting God to do what seemed impossible at the time, we were able to experience life to the full.