Bridges of Hope

By and

Each year, thousands of children and young adults cross the wooden bridge that brings them to Alliance Redwoods Camp and Conference Grounds (ARCCG), where Christian camping adventures have changed lives for more than 60 years. At ARCCG, social, economic and cultural barriers that are often found in traditional church settings are broken down as campers experience authentic community through relationships with caring mentors. At ARCG, nearly 1,000 young people make decisions for Christ annually

An Age for Decisions

More than 85 percent of those who come to Christ do so before the age of 18. Ten-year-old camper Josh,* whose biker father did not attend church, connected with Greg, one of the head cooks. Greg, a chaplain for the Christian Motorcycle Association who sported his biker gear, spent the week building a relationship with Josh, and as camp ended, Greg gave the boy his card.

Filled with excitement about his week at ARCG, Josh gave Greg’s card to his dad, who was moved by his son’s experience and attended a local Alliance club meeting. Soon Josh’s entire family received Christ, and all are now active church members who are growing in their newfound faith.

Karen*, a teen camper, was cutting herself. But the self-inflicted torment could not ease the pain in her heart. Camp counselor Natalie Romalia was asked to help. “When I approached Karen, she told me that she was having a hard time because her mother had died,” said Natalie. “I brought up losing my brother to suicide, and Karen said, ‘My mom committed suicide too.’”

Natalie’s willingness to share her pain with Karen immediately built a bridge of hope between the two women. “We talked longer, and I prayed with her that afternoon,” said Natalie. “That night when other teens were sharing their testimonies, Karen asked, ‘Would it be okay if I shared?’ I said sure! She stood up and shared a little bit of her story with everyone.”

Karen’s youth pastor believes this is the beginning of a major breakthrough in her life. At this particular high school camp, too many students to count came to the front during ministry time, weeping with sorrow for their sins and praising God for His unconditional love.

No Boundaries

The impact of ARCCG does not begin and end in California. Part of our vision is to become an international training and sending center for The Alliance, taking Alliance camping worldwide. Every winter since 2002, ARCCG has hosted a month-long camp in South Africa that has ministered to more than 6,000 impoverished children. More than 50 percent of them have indicated a desire to have a personal relationship with Christ. Many of these children have AIDS and will never see adulthood. Each one reached represents a life turned from despair to hope in Jesus Christ.

Germaine was a 12-year-old street kid, sniffing glue, selling drugs and stealing to survive when he came to our first Camp South Africa (CSA) outreach in 2002. Germaine came to Christ during that camp, and the following year, he testified that he was drug free, back in school, reading his Bible and attending a local church—all with no parental care or supervision. It is amazing to observe what the transforming power of God can accomplish in the worst of human circumstances! Germaine now is a spiritually mature 17-year-old and worked as a camp counselor for CSA 2008 last December. He has a passion to reach others for Christ.

National and international camp workers receive training at ARCCG and go to mission fields like Russia, Romania, Paraguay and Hawaii. They have a sense of urgency to fulfill the Great Commission and bring back the King. We receive requests for training from all over the globe, and expansion of this vision is limited only by our current financial resources, making your partnership a vital link to building bridges to future generations.

Stories like those of Josh, Karen and Germaine’s abound at ARCCG, where we are living out The Alliance’s first core value: Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Life circumstances may differ, but many lives are touched by God during a camping adventure!

*Names have been changed for privacy.

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