The word “abide” means to accept or to act in accordance. We find themes of connection, dependence, obedience, and continuance when Jesus uses the word “abide” especially in John 15: 4-5 & 9-10.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. Apart from me you can do nothing. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
This year’s summer camp welcomed 53 boys each morning at 8:30am with a warm breakfast and the promise of a well-planned day. The theme of the camp was ABIDE, and each morning began with a time of song, movement and worship. For many of the staff, this time of worship was the most meaningful. Southside Program Director Felix Stiggers remarked, “Summer camp is always an interesting and unique experience because it is time that allows us as staff to see our boys interact with other boys from the community. The most impactful part I experienced at summer camp was being a part of the praise and worship experience with the boys the first day of camp. There were hands raised and voices lifted all over the gym. It was evident that God had his hand on camp because someone decided to give their life to Christ after the first day.”
Each summer, the camp is full of boys who attend our after school program during the school year, but, we also welcome a lot of new faces from the neighborhood who have never heard of HOPE Farm. We pack in a lot of general summer FUN that many of these boys would not be able to do if it weren’t for HOPE Farm like fieldtrips to the Fort Worth Zoo, the Natural Museum of Science and History, the TCU Monnig Meteorite Gallery, AT&T Stadium, and the Yogi Bear Water Park just to name a few. Two friends of HOPE Farm welcome the boys out to their properties.
For years, Alan and Lee Clay have welcomed the entire camp out to their ranch providing an amazing lunch, games, and rides on four wheelers provided by the neighbors. The last day of camp is spent at Cyndi and David Cason’s lake house. The boys enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing in a beautiful and peaceful environment.
The four themes connected with the #abide focus of camp were emphasized throughout the devotionals led by staff members. One of the most important themes is “connection.” If a child feels connected, he will feel accepted. Mr. Gary Gray, Program Director at HOPE Farm Como led a devotional based on Mathew 19: 13-15. The parents were bringing their children to see Jesus, because they knew how special He was for them. The disciples were turning them away until Jesus said, LET THEM THROUGH! Jesus welcomed these children with open arms and blessed each child.
That was Jesus’ display of love and acceptance of each child. Mr. Gray, who is a retired educator who spent years teaching in the FWISD including Morningside Elementary (less than a mile away from HOPE Farm Southside) said about camp: “I didn’t know what to expect from Summer Camp! However, I found the experience exceeded any expectation! I loved to see the boys in a relaxed setting. I was able to bond with boys that I had already worked with from the program and also with boys that I met for the first time. I was able to meet the people that open their hearts to the boys every year. It did my heart good to see how a lot of the boys connected with the daily devotion. I look forward to the next camp!”
#ABIDE Summer Camp 2019 was a huge success! We are thankful to all of our sponsors and friends of HOPE Farm who opened their businesses and homes to our boys during camp. We would like to especially thank Texas Capital Bank, Sodexo, GameStop, Fort Worth Zoo, Alan & Lee Clay, Cyndi and David Cason, Dr. Omar from TCU, IM Terrell Academy, Yogi Bear Water Park, AT&T Stadium, TCU Monnig Meteorite Museum, Natural Museum of Science and History, Fort Worth Wax Museum, and all of our wonderful volunteers!