Friday, January 18, 2008

Two Friends, Two Faiths & One Day At Camp

As a child, I was very clumsy, not at all athletic and very shy. I was so clumsy my best friend and I laughed about it while reminiscing right before I moved away from home at the age of eighteen. I was so shy, my best friend told me, that people thought I was stuck up. As we reminisced that night, we talked about a very special day at summer camp.

I was raised Baptist and my girlfriend was raised Catholic. The differences in our two faiths, made no difference to us at all. We were Christian friends. It was the summer I was 13 and my girlfriend was 12. Together we went to an all girls, Christian summer camp for a week. Little did we know as we packed our bags in excitement of our trip, that one day that week our two faiths would join together and an event would take place that we would never forget.

Camp in the Adirondack Mountains was beautiful. A combination of walking on dirt paths through the forest, gazing at a clear blue sky and breathing in fresh clean air, always made feel closer to God. There was a lake for swimming and boating and lots of other outdoor activities like archery, volley ball and horse back riding. Of course we had private Bible reading times and class Bible discussions, said grace at meal times and sang Christian songs around the campfire at night.

I thought all the girls that would be at camp believed in God and Jesus Christ and the words of the Bible and for the most part, they would all be kind and friendly like me and my girlfriend always tried to be. But I found out that I was wrong. There was one girl who was constantly taunting and teasing all the other girls. We tried to be nice to her, be friends with her, include her in our activities, but she always turned things sour. It wasn’t long before no one liked her and we all just tried to avoid her and ignore her words.

One day it seemed she was determined to get my goat. She made fun of my clumsiness, my week, non-athletic body and calmed me names. I turned the other cheek time and time again. Of course that only made her madder and madder.

Finally she shouted at me, "You’re a fool if you actually believe all those stories in the Bible, in a God that has the power to create man, in a Jesus who performed miracles and in Heaven!"

Her words were so shocking to me, so repulsive to me, so insulting to me, before I knew it I blurted out, "You think just because you have muscles in your arms you are stronger than me. Don’t you? You think that just because you can‘t see God that you shouldn’t believe in Him, don’t you? You think that just because you have never seen a miracle that there is no such thing? Well, I can prove you are wrong!"

"Oh really…How?" she taunted.

"I’ll beat you in arm wrestling!" I shouted. She laughed so hard I thought she would fall over. The look of shock on my girlfriend’s face scared me. What I had just said was ridiculous!

A crowd of girls had formed around the three of us. They all knew I was clumsy, week and shy. They all knew she was strong, she had huge muscles in her arms that she loved to flex, she was loud and she could be very nasty. They were all so quiet, you could hear the breeze rustling in the grass behind us.

I said, "Me and my girlfriend will pray. We believe in God, we believe in Jesus, we believe in the stories in the Bible, we believe in miracles and I will win."

I turned to my girlfriend and we took a few steps back and we closed our eyes and we each prayed silently. We opened our eyes and she hugged me and said, "Go win."

It happened that there was a large boulder right by where we were standing. My opponent and I kneeled down in the dirt, one of us on each side of the boulder. She explained the professional arm wrestling position and rules to me.

My girlfriend said, "Ready, set go!"

My opponent was very strong. My arm was in pain, but somehow I was managing to keep it standing up straight. The pain was getting stronger and I was sweating from the exertion. Her arm wasn’t going backwards. It seemed like we would go on this way forever.

I could hear the crowd of girls cheering all around me, ’They are cheering for me!’ I thought. I looked in my opponents eyes, and I thought I saw fear in there as I said to myself, ‘I believe Lord.’

All of a sudden, I had a burst of physical strength that I had never experienced before in my entire life! Her arm went down a little, then a little more, then all the rest of the way down at once! I had won!

Our hands separated and I stood up. My girlfriend hugged me, then we walked away together with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. No words were necessary. The crowd of girls all walked away chattering in groups of two and three. But my opponent remained there by that rock, alone on her knees, silently. For how long I do not know.

None of the girls spoke about the argument or the arm wrestling match during the days that completed our week at camp. One girl in particular was very quiet and even nice to other people for a change. I don’t know what her thoughts were while she stayed on her knees all alone by that boulder that day, but I hope she asked God our father and Jesus our Savior for forgiveness. I hope that day changed her life for the better for the rest of her days. I know it did for me and my girlfriend.


  1. What amazing faith at such a young age. We never know the work God can do when we simply trust Him.
    The wonder of believing, The power of love.

  2. This is a wonderful and inspiring story. God bless you for sharing it!

    I have blogged about my gift I won from you and about your store. Have a blessed day!