Dearest Camp Family,
I want to deeply thank you on behalf of Camp Laughing Child and Father’s children in Mexico. It is because you have said “YES” to His calling of love that His Word is reaching their hearts.
We are seeing the beautiful work of the Holy Spirit unfold at Camp this year. The many tears of renewal that have been shed on our campground are flowing from the healing power of His love. I wish I could describe the amazed faces of our campers when they are told that YOU built this incredible place for them. Every stone, every flower, every tree, every bed; it is all there because of your loving obedience. In a violent and poor environment, like Mexico, it is highly unusual to consider yourself worthy of such a gift. Their dignity and self image have been severely wounded by a cruel society. Father’s revelation through His gentle work in creation is our classroom for learning about His Kingdom. We trust that the Holy Spirit uses every resource available at camp to draw our campers nearer to Him. Thank you for so faithfully making Camp Laughing Child a reality for them.
I pray that as you read the following stories, your compassionate heart will intercede for these campers.
How Having HIV Saved My Life
Many HIV+ mothers have visited Camp Laughing Child. Sadly, most of these moms learned that they are HIV positive after discovering that their sick child tests positive for the virus. In most cases, infidelity during marriage, has been the means of the virus to make the entire family hosts. One can’t imagine the hurt and remorse in a mother’s heart after finding out that they have given birth to a child that is HIV+. There is far more pain and brokenness than can be possibly described for those living with HIV in Mexico.
A mother visiting Camp lost her loving husband just after learning that their son was HIV+. As she mourned for her deceased husband, she moved to Mexico City, where she was told she had a greater chance to survive with their diagnosis. Life had a new order for them. One night, she was riding the subway with her son, returning home from work. The subway station was almost empty due to the remote location and late hour. When they exited the train, they were followed by a stranger. They found themselves cornered and completely vulnerable. The stranger, a thief, proceeded to rob them and severely beat them. After having put the son and the mother on the ground, with vile language, the thief started describing how he was going to rape her as her son witnessed. “Go ahead!” – she yelled. “However, you might want to know that I have HIV”. The thief beat her up further and then just ran away. Being HIV+ saved this woman from being raped and possibly killed in front of her son.
Once again, she found herself in a similar situation. She finally landed a good job as a police officer. However, her boss harassed her and threatened to fire her if she was not sexually “cooperative”. Having a desperate need for the job, she kept working there and tried to avoid her boss. Then, one late night, the boss cornered her and pushed the boundary with physical force. She resisted him and stated that he should know that she is HIV+. Upon leaving the room, the boss added, “You are fired!”.
Trading Resentment for Forgiveness
During a closing bible study at camp, I read Matthew 14: 22-33 for our campers. We talked about faith and fear, and how God has the power to take our fear away and give us faith instead. I invited them to write down their fears; those which paralyze them and keep them from spiritual freedom. Then, they could share it if they so chose, burn it in the fireplace, and invite Jesus into their heart to replace their fear with faith. It is always their choice to share or not.
One little boy (seven years old) stood up and burned his fear in the fireplace. He did not share it. He just sat back down and strained to hear to the others share their fears and cast them into the fire (he suffers from a hearing impairment). After everyone was apparently done, I invited them to hold hands and pray. To my surprise, just before prayer, the boy asked if he could share his fear. I read the fear that he had written down before he burned it. I thought, “surely he has no idea of what it means.” His fear was “resentment”. A drawing of three sad faces topped his youthful handwriting. Then he shared:
“My fear is resentment. I am afraid that I have resentment in my heart towards my father, my mother, and my stepfather. First, I was angry because my real father had left us (after giving us HIV), then he died. After that, my mother had a new boyfriend. He was very nice in the beginning. I thought he really liked me because he used to get me cool things. Then he started hitting my mother, and then hitting me too. He used to hit me really hard. One day he hit me so hard that I had to go to the hospital. It opened my head (he has a very large scar on the back of his head). I was angry and sad. I was most angry at my mother because she defended him. She always defended him. After a while the social workers took me from her and now I live at La Casa de la Sal. My fear is that I will resent them in my heart, and I don’t want to.”
We were all in tears -I am currently in tears. Please pray with me that his beautiful heart and his sweet spirit will be fully restored by the Holy Spirit. We are asking God to help us provide hearing aids for this little boy.
Perhaps it is difficult to understand? I know you might be thinking “what about child services?”, “why didn’t anyone help him before it got so bad?”. Mexico is not like the United States.
Most of the world is not like the United States. For a child to be taken from his or her parents, it really has to be a horrendous (life-threatening) incident. He is fortunate to have survived the severe abuse.
Please pray in the Spirit and with greater understanding the heart of God for our precious campers.
Do please continue to pray for the necessary funding to keep Camp Laughing Child in healing ministry. You have so faithfully given and made this work possible. THANK YOU. Please share these powerful stories and our significant financial need with those around you. We are asking God to inspire you as an ambassador for the ministry of Camp Laughing Child. Your love is making an eternal difference in the lives of our campers. We love and thank you so much!
Alex, Camp Director