Camp Impact: Rev. Ian Heinze
We confess that God works through means. With great joy we hold on to the Means of Grace that God has promised to work through to seal us in the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Through Baptism, He transfers us from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, washing away our sin by putting us to death and raising us to new life. Through Absolution, Christ continues to return us to our Baptismal grace by forgiving our sin. Through the Lord’s Supper, Christ delivers His own Body and Blood for us to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sin, unity with Him, divine grace, and the promise of life eternal. The promised Means of Grace are gifts to be greatly treasured!
We further rejoice that God also makes use of other things as His instruments in the world. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ. God’s Word does all the work! Yet God’s Word comes to us in a multitude of ways. One of those ways is through the labor of Camp CILCA.
We confess that God works through means. As far as I know, I am reasonably convinced that without the Holy Spirit’s work through Camp CILCA as His instrument, I would not be an active member of the Body of Christ today. I believe that I would certainly not be attending seminary without the dedicated labor of Camp CILCA. God uses Camp CILCA as an instrument to richly bless His church. He uses Camp CILCA as a means to create, strengthen, and sustain faith in both campers and staff through His Word.
I hold my time at Camp CILCA as one of the greatest treasures God has gifted to me. I have met life-long friends along the way. I met my wonderful wife through Camp CILCA. Yet above all these delightful treasures, I rejoice that God has worked, and continues to work through Camp CILCA as an instrument to create, strengthen, and sustain my faith, and the next generation of campers and counselors.
Camp Impact: Mrs. Katie Schuermann
Growing up, I attended a public school situated in the middle of a cornfield. My high school graduating class was a whopping, record-breaking 52 students-big, and most of those students were boys and girls with whom I had shared classrooms, locker rooms, and buses for twelve years straight.
There is much good that comes from rubbing elbows with the exact same people for so many years in a row — not the least of which is ample practice at forgiving and being forgiven — but the corporate affection of a tight-knit community quickly grows hostile toward any individual whose will is opposed to the mob. Put plainly, a Christian girl intent on living a “chaste and decent life” is seen as a downer, if not an outright threat, to the party life of youths indulging in drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.
And so, Camp CILCA became a welcome respite for this Christian girl. It was a place that encouraged and celebrated chaste and decent living by structuring attendees’ schedules around the hearing, singing, and studying of the Word of God as well as daily, hourly physical activity that pointed toward, not the satisfaction of self but the service of others. Camp CILCA also expanded my social connections beyond my immediate community, taking some of the pressure off the often-isolating interactions with my peers at home. I now had friends across the state and beyond. What was a little shunning from my hometown classmates?
Camp CILCA was formative for me, helping me to see beyond the immediate and to delay gratification, yearning and striving for what is best in life, namely a life centered on the forgiveness, life, and salvation of Jesus Christ and His promise to make all things new on the Last Day.
Camp Impact: Mr. Jacob Schniepp
I attended Camp for the first time the summer after my dad passed away. I was 11 years old, and my sister had been going for years so I always knew of camp but never actually got to experience it.
I loved this place from the very first day. I just felt at home. The counselors made me feel welcomed and that they really did care about me and about everyone who came. The JCs seemed like the really cool older siblings you would see on TV who actually wanted to be there for the younger kids. I still remember every JC and counselor who made me feel like I was special and loved. I could never wait till my next week to be a camper or just to come to camp, I was always so excited I would start packing a week in advance! My mom used to say her car knew the way to camp by itself and honestly it probably did.
Camp just has this different feeling from any other place I have been. It is so peaceful, yet loud and crazy. You never know what to expect when you are there. The camp experience helped shape who I am today. I graduated from little kid camper to JC to Counselor and loved each stage. Every time I see a camper smile, it makes me feel fantastic. I can see God’s love just shining from them.
Making people happy and showing that through God’s love wonderous things can happen is what camp is about. Camp showed me that I can do this for others the same way it was done for me when I was growing up. I really would not be who I am today without all the love and support camp offered and I am so grateful for it.
Camp Impact: Rev. Adam Ellsworth
An awkward, chubby, and curious child. These words would have very easily described that fourth grader who was being dropped off for five days of who knew what at Camp Cilca. Being raised in LCMS congregations in Quincy Illinois and Hannibal Missouri I had heard of Camp Cilca but I really had no idea what to expect when my parents signed my brother and me up for our first week of camp.
I remember meeting our councilor at our cabin, choosing a bunk, saying goodbye to my parents, and then settling in as other campers started arriving. Little did I know that Cilca would become one of the greatest influences of my life for years to come. In the years following I would attend several camps throughout the summer, both being served and serving others. I could go on and on about getting a net and seining for fish, I could tell great stories about the excitement of underground church, I could tell you about the games and square dancing, I could tell you the friends who influenced me and remained a part of my life even to this day. But really, what I would like to talk with you about is the real orientation I got at Camp Cilca.
I assume there was some sort of official orientation that took place every week of every year that I attended Camp Cilca from the time I was in fourth grade until I was finished with high school, but I do not remember any specific details. I assume that we were told when we would eat in the dining hall, when we would be able to go to the lake to swim, when we would be able to take hikes through the woods. I assume we were told when chapel would be and when we would spend time in scriptures and when we would gather at the end of the day around a fire to again hear God’s word and to celebrate the love of God in Christ in song.
This orientation I am sure was helpful but it was nothing like the great orientation I received in the whole of my time at Camp Cilca. Like many children, my life at home was not always neat and peaceful and as I grew it would be polite to say that I was difficult child and young man. But every time I got to go to that little corner of creation called Camp Cilca, there I was received with not only with acts of love and kindness, but I continued to hear, again and again, about the mercy and love of our Creator for me; that our Father in heaven dearly loves me despite any shortcomings or sins, that He sent His Son into our world to bring us the good news of His mercy by the blood Jesus spilt for me on the cross, that Christ rose up from the grave to give me the promise life unending. These very simple yet unsearchably profound truths were the real orientation that I received time and time again at Cilca. And it was this orientation that has stuck with me to this very day.
As much fun as I had at Cilca, as many memories that still cherish in my heart from Cilca, as much as the friends I made and continue to hold dear, there is nothing as wonderful as the hope that I have in Christ our Lord that was nourished and supported at Cilca. I have not a single doubt that the Holy Spirit used the days and weeks I spent at Cilca to orient me towards the God’s love of me and every person in Christ our Lord.
An awkward, chubby, and curious pastor. These words describe who I am today as I write from my office at Grace Lutheran Church in the heart of Atlanta Georgia. I can assure you that I was more surprised than most that God would call me to be a pastor in His church. But what I am not surprised by it is that the message is still the same. Here in Atlanta Georgia or on the outskirts of Springfield Illinois, the Word of God remains the same. That God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that God sent his Son to save the world through our savior. I hope that more and more people can be oriented towards the mercy of God in Christ our Lord through the mission of Camp Cilca, and I am eternally grateful for the orientation I received as a child that will last for endless ages because of the love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Adam Ellsworth