By Anna Keller
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
When Choctaw Baptist Association was planning its first REACH Youth Camp in 2012, someone on the camp planning team read a list of ways churches sending out missions groups could do to help support those groups. One of the items included in the list was a prayer vigil, and the association thought that would be a perfect way for churches to help support the camp participants.
“Every year we ask for 48 people in our county to sign up for a 30-minute timeslot and pray for the youth and the camp during that timeslot each of the four days [of camp],” said Billy Douglas, director of youth ministries for Choctaw Association. “God was so faithful to respond [that first year], and we have had the prayer vigil at the core of every camp since.”
Sixth consecutive year
This will mark the sixth consecutive year the REACH Camp prayer vigil has taken place. This year REACH Camp will be June 13–16, and as of late May about half of the 48 prayer slots have been filled, Douglas said.
Those participating in the vigil will be asked to pray for each of the youth participating in camp by name, asking God to help them fully participate and focus while at camp.
“We will be asking people to pray for the counselors, the youth camp volunteers, the praise and worship teams, the speakers, the facilities — that everything done at this camp would bring glory to God,” Douglas said. “That we all would realize more and more, day by day, what it means to ‘abide in Jesus.’”
Prayer is critical to the camp experience, Douglas says, because “we are asking God to do what only He can do.” He says participants are asking the Lord to connect with the youth who attend the camp in such a way that they would all grow up and become faithful servants for His kingdom.
Don Giles’ son spearheaded the start of REACH Camp, and Giles and his wife, Kay, have been involved as volunteers at the camp for the last several years.
“To see young people come together and worship under an outdoor tabernacle that has been there for years is unique,” said Giles, who serves as a member of the mission develop committee for Choctaw Association. “It’s one of those holy places where you can feel the presence of the Lord. It is amazing to look back at how God has used and blessed this camp over the years.”
This year REACH Camp’s theme will be “Lost,” and main speaker Jon Wiggins, pastor of Skyland Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, will be teaching from the parable of the prodigal son. Other speakers will deliver messages and testimonials during the camp’s daily morning service as well as during three late-night services. Other camp highlights will include a talent show on Thursday evening as well as special recreation on Wednesday with water balloons, a water slide and a mud pit.
Interested in being part of the 2017 REACH Camp prayer vigil team?
Email Billy Douglas at REACHYouthCamp@gmail.com or call or text him at 303-601-2711 to request a 30-minute slot.
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