The Camp Miracle

Tent and Fire

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Lift Up Thine Eyes

"Several years ago, as a Young Women president, I took a group of girls to stake camp. On our first night there, without my knowledge, a few of my girls played a harmless prank on some campers from another ward. In the morning, when the girls confessed to the stake camp director—someone new in the stake whom I had never met—they were dealt a harsh punishment. One of the girls was taken out of our cabin for the entire week, and others were given additional cleanup duties.

But the director did not stop there. She then turned to me and suggested that if we could not comply with the rules we should be sent home. I had to swallow a great deal of pride, and I found myself biting my tongue at various times throughout that week, particularly since the camp seemed to be run far more like a military boot camp than a young women’s outing. But I tried to be positive for the sake of my girls. In fact, together we started looking for the good in that year’s camp, such as the fact that every activity was organized the best it had ever been.

On the last night of camp, we gathered in an amphitheater around a fire for a testimony meeting. True to the order of camp that year, we marched in single file, ward by ward. I was with our Laurel group, and we were one of the last to enter. When I finally sat down, there was only one small space left, and it was next to me. On this we piled our jackets. But, just as we were ready to begin, the camp director—or the “gestapo lady,” as the girls called her—walked in. I could feel my girls cringe as her eyes searched for a place to sit. Slowly I lifted our jackets and motioned to her, trying hard not to look at the disapproving faces of my girls.

I knew all too well that this testimony meeting was supposed to be the spiritual culmination of the entire week. The spirit at this meeting could change lives for the better and often did. And now I could feel my own resentment and that of my girls toward this woman crowding out the Spirit. How I needed my heart to be softened. And so I began to pray fervently for help in understanding her and to let me know of her goodness. I prayed off and on for thirty minutes or so. And then, as we were singing “I Am a Child of God,” a miracle happened. Suddenly I knew her spirit. I understood and knew of her love for her Father in Heaven and of his love for her.

That testimony meeting was one I will never forget, and when it was over I took a moment to tell the camp director all the good things I had experienced at camp that week. I was not, however, prepared for her reaction. There were tears in her eyes as she said, “Thank you so much. No one else has thanked me. I have been afraid that no one liked me because I have been so strict. But I am a convert and have never run a camp before. I have just tried to do my best.” And then she hugged me.

Had a miracle just occurred? I think so. My heart had been softened just as night turns to day."

Janet Lee at a BYU Dev. "Lift Up Thine Eyes:  Miracles Large and Small" - Dec. 12, 1995