Last summer at Laity Lodge Family Camp, we enjoyed the privilege of welcoming our dear friend, Crystal Kirgiss to spend a week with us as the speaker for one of our Family Camp retreats. Crystal won the hearts of all of the families by simply being herself. Yes, Crystal is a fantastic speaker who offers insight to Scripture and the working of God in our world. But more importantly, she is a caring follower of Jesus who engages genuinely in the lives of the people she meets.

I heard Crystal share her insights on Matthew 14:22-33, the story of Peter walking on the water, and it gave me the idea for the content of “Encounters,” the new Family Camp devotional journal for 2017. The material walks families through four different encounters Jesus had with people during his earthly ministry. Each encounter teaches us something about Jesus’ identity and our identities. Namely, Jesus cares primarily about who we are rather than what we do.

Consider Peter again.  We imagine Jesus was calling Peter to get out of the boat and do something big. Therefore, Peter walked on water. However, closer study reveals that Peter asked to be called. Jesus was not primarily concerned with whether Peter could or could not walk on water. Instead, he was most concerned with the deeper questions of Peter’s faith. He cared more about who Peter was than what Peter did.

Our first three retreats of this spring have been amazing experiences, welcoming lots of new and old friends out to Family Camp. Throughout this spring and coming summer at our LLFC retreats, families will continue to hear this good news: Jesus cares more about who we are than what we do. In a world that is so fixated on achievement, success, and productivity, I am hopeful this message will be a welcomed one. I’m thankful that our friend Crystal first taught me to view this encounter with Jesus in a new way, and we are hopeful that families will experience rest as they encounter God and each other in significant ways at Laity Lodge Family Camp in 2017.

Cary Hendricks, Senior Director of LLFC