The power of the bear….no, this is not about current events in Ukraine, although we all need to be mindful and in constant prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. What is going on over there is of utmost importance and urgency, and every follower of Christ should be imploring the Father on behalf of our brothers and sisters in both countries….as well as our own.

No, this article is in reference to something that happened at Highland Lakes back in the summer of 2016 (sounds like a Bryan Adams song). I was reminded of this by a pastor just this past week. At registration for Mission Adventure Camp in 2016, this pastor and his eleven-year-old daughter showed up to register. As they got out of their vehicle, the car door slammed on the girl’s fingers, and there was a wailing and gnashing of teeth. One of our staff was quick thinking, and, as there appeared to be no actual damage to the fingers, quickly grabbed a stuffed Teddy Bear (for sale in the gift shop) and sat down with her, comforted her, and gave her the teddy bear.

Because of that action and comfort, the pastor’s daughter calmed down and decided to remain at camp for the week. The pastor texted me last week to let me know exactly what that action meant for his daughter. It meant that she would stay and that she would experience something that would impact her forever. She stayed, and met the missionary from South Asia who was serving our camp that week. She heard the stories, felt the compassion, was moved by the Spirit, and was given a picture of the little girls the missionary worked with in South Asia. She was asked to take that picture home and pray for those young girls. And the pastor’s daughter did exactly that.

The pastor wanted to let me know where his daughter is today. She is in South Asia, has been since January 30, and is serving with the missionary she met at camp that year. And…she got to meet one of the little girls who was in the picture…one of those for whom she has been praying for the past six years. The pastors’ daughter will continue to serve there until May 10th this year, and then she comes home.

The power of the bear? No, not really. The power of the Father as He uses each of us in a different way, weaving our lives together in a unique tapestry that connects each of us with others in His plan. And if we will just submit to His will, obeying His direction, we have the privilege of watching the tapestry unfold.

This is why Highland Lakes exists. To serve as a resource to help others Discover, Develop, and Deploy a Transformed Life in Christ.

Humbled and grateful,

Jim Shields, Team Leader for Highland Lakes.