In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes on the importance of “faith, hope and love.” Although he emphasizes love as the most important of the three, he doesn’t downplay the importance of faith and hope. In fact, he writes in verse 7 that “love…always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” So, to be loving, we need to be hopeful. Hope is an important part of God’s message throughout the entire Bible.
According to the Wiley Online Library; “Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in God’s faithfulness.” Hope is the feeling we have, that something good will happen.
Feeling hopeful is vital to having a positive attitude. According to twenty years of scientific research conducted by psychologist Martin Seligman, “hope reduces feelings of helplessness, boosts happiness, reduces stress and improves our quality of life and mental health.” People who are hopeful make better choices and work hard to make the world a better place.
One day it hit me like a bolt of lightning; the reason my husband and camp co-director, has worked so hard his whole life as a camp director is because camp gave him hope! David had a very neglected upbringing, but his grandparents made sure he went to the tiny United Methodist Church in his small town and the church ensured that he went to camp every summer (I’m sure they were aware of his difficult life.) His time at camp gave him HOPE; hope that God had something better for him. He left home right after high school graduation with a suitcase in his hand, headed to work at camp and then to college for a degree in Outdoor Recreation. David says “being a camper at United Methodist Camps, I felt loved. I wanted to make sure others received that same love and hope.”
United Methodist camps are a sanctuary of hope. Feelings of hopefulness are contagious at camp whether you are there as a guest, a leader, a volunteer or a paid staff person. In these sacred spaces, hope is abundant and visible! It gives you the feeling that there is something more, much bigger, something greater! There is no despair, no drudgery, even amongst those who are serving. Instead, there is a joy, an excitement, a hope and trust in something much more magnificent! Camp is a place where hope can grow our faith and love, into a force that will change the world!
Being surrounded by a community of hopeful believers, welcomed as one of God’s family, being listened to with genuine interest, treated with love and served with humbleness….this is what Wallowa Lake Camp is all about. Hospitality filled with hope!
I choose to be a part of this hopeful community. Will you? Does your feeling of hope need renewing? Do you need help letting go of hopelessness or stress, or do you simply want to be surrounded by joyfulness? All are invited, all are welcome, come join us as a guest, a volunteer, a paid staff or as a visitor. Come feast on God’s gift of hope!