Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Boy inspires others as he learns the ropes


At Cross Point Camp, a volunteer helps a young camper launch an adventure on Lake Texoma.

This is one in a series on Oklahoma’s camps.

‘How many lives have been touched here? Thousands!’ – Ken Long, Cross Point manager

By Ken Long, Cross Point Director/Manager

As I start my 17th year, it has been a blessing to see so many lives positively affected by their time spent here. One camp guest I’ll never forget was a young man at the camp we help sponsor for children and youths with debilitating illnesses.

He had decided to do the high-ropes course. The facilitators noticed he walked with a small limp, and he had some difficulty climbing the first element to reach the cables and poles 30 feet above off the ground. But he did get to the top. After going through two more high elements, he shouted to the facilitator on the ground, "Can I take my leg off?"

Startled, the facilitator responded, "What did you say?"

The young camper repeated his question, and the facilitator declared, "Whatever floats your boat!"

And so the young man went through the other eight high elements on one leg. He had lost the other due to cancer. In remission, he was out to prove to himself and others that he would not let that knock him down.

He continually talked to other campers in similar situations about what they could do, how they could move forward if they gave themselves to God and allowed God to use them. He was certainly an inspiration to many.

He came back the next year. The cancer had recurred, but he was determined to again go through the high-ropes course. Although sick from treatments and not at full strength, he did complete it—starting on one leg that time!

The third year, the young man did not return. He was one of the youths remembered in the memorial service held at that special camp each year. Cancer had taken him — not his spirit, not his memory, not how he encouraged others, just his physical being.

He lives on in the lives he influenced, including mine. His story is one example of the many lives shaped through the Camp and Retreat Ministries that you support. Please pray for all those that volunteer to work at camps, the camper guests, and all the staff members who work in this ministry.

I think it’s important to understand that people such as you "sent me out" to be in this ministry. I was raised in a small-town Methodist church, where leading laypeople and my friends’ parents in the pews plus summer camp at Canyon helped build my faith as I grew up.

As an adult, my church families further strengthened my faith, encouraged me, and supported me in my business endeavors. Through volunteer camp workdays and the Walk to Emmaus, I grew more. And then you as the church sent me into the ministry of serving others at Cross Point Camp.

Thank you for sending me out to be a part of this wonderful service to Christ that we call Camp and Retreat Ministries!

Since 1995, nearly 100,000 guests have visited your Camp and Retreat Ministry at Cross Point on Lake Texoma.

In the 16 years I’ve been here, junior- and senior-high campers have gone on to become preachers and youth ministers. Hundreds who have attended the Lay Speaker Academy now serve as pulpit speakers; some campers have become bi-vocational pastors or have chosen other forms of ministry for their professions. Children and youths have made decisions about their relationship to Christ, and families have had special times together here. Men and women on Walks to Emmaus have experienced hearts "strangely warmed," as John Wesley described, and have made life-changing decisions with wide impact.

How many lives have been touched here? Thousands! And people wonder why I’ve stayed!

Cross Point has begun its 50th year. We move forward with funds in place to build two 40-bed cabins, enclose and air-condition "study tops," and more. The Site Development Committee is studying possible expansion onto 80 acres west of this property.

Spend some time in nature and breathe in God’s spirit at any one of your Camp and Retreat Ministries. Use camps for your church, school, chamber of commerce, and other non-profit events. Call the Conference Camps Office, 405-530-2017, or me, 580-221-4240, to plan an event or learn how you can volunteer. Thanks for your continuing support!


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