Georgia Summer Campers Converge on Mississippi
July 2, 2009Jessica Albritton's five-day visit for summer camp at Mississippi College combined Bible study with sports plus trips to area apartments. They're on a daily mission to get closer to the Lord and tell people about Jesus.
"It is the best camp to share the awesome love of Jesus Christ," said Albritton, 18, a member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Americus, Ga. "Everyone should have the opportunity to go to a Fuge camp."
Making her first trip to Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College in Clinton, the Georgia teen-ager was part of a delegation of 19 from the church, including five adult leaders. The past two years, the Americus group attended a similar Fuge camp in North Greenville, S.C. at North Greenville University. The camps come under the umbrella of Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources.
Each summer, Mississippi College welcomes nearly 10,000 campers from late May through late July. Coming from 14 Southern states - from Texas to Tennessee - the visitors stay overnight in MC residence halls, and dine on pizza, turkey sandwiches and ice cream in the cafeteria. Each morning, they crowd Swor Auditorium for noisy praise and worship services led by a Texas-based Christian rock band.
The group from Shiloh Baptist comes from a Southwest Georgia community that's noted as the international headquarters of Habitat for Humanity for more than three decades. It is also the home of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. In more recent times, people know Americus because of the March 1, 2007 tornado that devastated a good bit of the city of 17,000 residents. The storm heavily damaged the Sumter Regional Hospital.
On an early July day with steamy temperatures climbing to the high 90s, the campers and parents were caught up in a whirlwind of activities at MC that enhanced their Christian walk. Founded in 1826, MC is the nation's second oldest Baptist college with a deep commitment to academic excellence, the cause of Christ and serving others.
The Georgia campers and parent chaperones say the visit concluding July 3, was well worth it.
"Fuge is a life-changing experience with a profound and outstanding outcome," said 16-year-old Laci Martin of Americus.
With Independence Day approaching, parent leaders Mack and Bebe Herrington, Scooter Albritton, and Page and Mikki Greene were tired, just like the campers. They enjoyed the visit to MC just outside Jackson, Mississippi's capital city, but also were anxious to make the seven-hour drive home to Sumter County. "We're looking forward to sleeping in Saturday," Bebe Herrington said with a laugh after Thursday morning's events cranked up. Frisbee on the Quad, volleyball, swimming and hoops plus Bible study were squeezed in between water breaks.
"It's been an absolutely incredible experience. Our group has really grown together. They've really bonded," added Herrington, a nurse who works primarily with youth at Shiloh Baptist Church. "I've seen God do an incredible work in them this week."
The camp's staff was terrific and so were the workers dishing out meals at the Mississippi College cafeteria, the Georgian said. "They greeted us with smiles and laughter." As for next summer's camp plans, "we will wait to see if God directs us back."
Photo: Fuge Campers from Shiloh Baptist Church, Americus, GA