Hume Lake Christian Camps

In my 66th year I continue my reflections on my life with a very significant year, 1963, my twelfth year on this earth. A year with a decision that has shaped the rest of my life.

Nestled close to  Kings Canyon National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada is the Youth Camp that I was able to attend in 1963, 1965 and 1967. I was 12, 14, and 16 during these wilderness adventures.

I was raised in a family who attended church regularly and often, very religious. The church I was raised in gave me the impression that because I was Russian and a member of their church that I had an exclusive connection with God. What I learned at Bible Camp was that the only exclusive connection I could have to God was through Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Being Russian and being a part of my father’s religion did not give me a direct link to God. In 1963 at Hume Lake while listening to a speaker talk about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners I was moved to step out and become a follower of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation was exclusively through his perfect son Jesus, who is fully God and came to earth to live a perfect life among us and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I knew I was one of those sinners and I needed a Savior. This decision began a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, but a journey forward with my God and Savior. When I began my new life following Jesus I was clothed with His righteousness and reconciled to God. I continue on this walk, never perfectly but with God’s grace I carry on. He will be teaching me by His Holy Spirit all the days of my life. My God and Savior is and will be faithful to see me through all of my life on this earth and I look forward with the Hope of seeing Him face to face in heaven. During this same year, 1963, my father began his journey of following Jesus after hearing Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum share the truth of Jesus Christ and why He came to earth over 2000 years ago. 1963 was an epic year for me and my family. For my father and me we became part of God’s movement of love and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother was a follower of Jesus when she married my father. My two older sisters had started following Jesus before my father and me.

I’ll share this verse that Billy Graham proclaims in every interview I’ve ever heard him give. John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP 1967

Reflections of my story from age 18 onward of my life will continue in another post.

Presently we are still waiting for that phone call. We are happy for it coming later than sooner since baby Addy is enjoying the womb and continues her growth in that comfort. We have a bag partially packed so we don’t have to wonder about something we forgot. We keep the car gassed up and ready to go. We are still in a very rainy pattern here in the Pacific Northwest. Plants should flourish well here this Spring. How goes it where you live?

My Testimony ~ In Evil Long I Took Delight- Hymn

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP

Ellen’s simple version of her testimony, March 29th, 2007

I accepted Christ (was spiritually born) in the summer of 1963 at Hume Lake Christian Camp. I was a reluctant, stubborn, proud, follower of Jesus for many years. Similar to the birth process, I was comfortable in the womb (when God was calling me), but at birth when I had to get up and walk down an aisle and be singled out I howled like a baby. (Why do they say down the aisle instead of up the aisle?) I thank God He didn’t throw me back! I was a colicky baby. I fussed when anyone called attention to my bad attitudes, stubbornness, sin. I became more of a pharisee than a lover of God and my neighbor. I had my moments of obedience and peace. I had a long way to go and still do in the sanctification process. It has dawned on me more and more what an amazing thing Christ did for me and the dirty rotten sinner I am. I still need to go deeper in this reality. I’m so glad God keeps after me and loves me. If my memory serves me correctly I cooperated more in the sanctification process after my baptism in high school. I’ve had periods of growth and periods of “being asleep in my faith”. BUT – GOD IS FAITHFUL and His promises are true. I want to follow Him for the rest of my life. Every day I want to say, thank you for saving me, I’m yours Lord. Every day I want to seek Him. More and more, I’m looking forward to seeing Him “face to face”.

I read this classic hymn by John Newton (In Evil Long I Took Delight) in Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney and felt it appropriate to include with my testimony.

In evil long I took delight
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight
And stopped my wild career.

I saw one hanging on a tree
In agonies and blood;
Who fixed his languid eyes on me
As near his cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with his death
Though not a word he spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt
And helped to nail him there.
Alas, I knew now what I did
But now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain.

A second look he gave which said
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid
I died that thou mayest live.”
Thus while his death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue;
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy
Yet live by him I killed.

Olney Hymns, Book 2: On Occasional Subjects (London: W. Oliver, 1779).

See What He Will Do…

About two years ago the Billy Graham Association was asking for email stories of how Billy Graham’s Evangelical Outreach had touched our lives. I sent in the story of my Pop’s conversion. Previously to this request, when our daughter was at Wheaton College in Illinois we were able to visit the Billy Graham Museum on campus. Emotions came to the surface when I saw the photos from the Los Angeles Crusade at the Colliseum in 1963. I knew my dad and I were somewhere in that photo of the stadium filled to overflowing.

I sent in my story hoping that Billy would hear and know that I thanked God for his devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it impacted my family.

What a thrill to get this book in the mail this past month, skimming through and seeing my story about Pop published.

I can hardly wait to show my Mom and Pop the book…

My parents are soon turning 86 and 85.

Testimony Tuesday ~ Beth

The following testimony is from my friend Beth. We met after her son Jamie and my son Dan became close friends in elementary school in Washington. Both Beth and her husband Dave are relational people who care about others and are always willing and ready to help those in need. We have been ministered to by them in so many ways. We truly treasure their friendship. Beth and Dave have three sons. The picture below is taken in Hawaii at their son Aaron’s wedding this last January. Here’s Beth’s testimony in her own words.

Dave ~ Aaron ~ Beth

In 1951, God chose to give me physical birth, into a non practicing Catholic family. From my earliest years I  believed in God and knew He loved me. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who took her Catholic religion VERY seriously. With her I spent a lot of time at church, which I didn’t like, but what was comforting was her love for God. My parents divorced when I was 9.  I ended up going to quite a few different schools, one of them being Bellevue Christian. Mr. Fredricks was my 8th grade teacher. He was an ex-drinker and smoker who loved to tell how God reached down and saved him. I was so drawn to his passion, but didn’t understand the message. My sophomore year I went to a Seventh Day Adventist boarding school. They believe Saturday is the Sabbath, so from sundown Friday till sundown Saturday, we could either study the Bible or go to church services. Up to that point, I had heard the story of Jesus many times in many ways by many different people. I wasn’t seeking, and thought I already knew how much Jesus loved me. But one night in 1967, He chose to give me spiritual birth. He pierced my heart, opened my spiritual eyes and completely overwhelmed me with His love.

         ” The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making  wise the simple.”  Psalm 19:7

 Looking back I have seen how even before I was saved God placed people in my life to nurture, protect & direct me to Him. He has shown time and time again how faithful, how merciful, and how lovingly patient He is. His truth is what I continually seek.

             “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”       Psalm 62:7,8

“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”     Psalm 119: 10-16

 

                                       

These are Dave and Beth’s three sons in order of birth, Matt, Aaron, and Jamie.      

Testimony Tuesday ~ Kathy (a.k.a. Jack’s Nana)

This is my sister Kathy’s testimony. She is the oldest of 8 siblings. She was born in Tehran and immigrated to the U.S. with my folks shortly after World War II. Kathy is married to Len and she has two daughters Michelle and Melissa. Michelle is married to Ryan and has one son, Jackson.

 

Kathy with her daughters Michelle and Melissa

Growing up in our family, where our Mom was a Christian and Pop was a very religious man, was a real privilege.  Babushka Vera [our maternal grandmother] was a real prayer warrior and prayed for all of us especially Pop.  Vera [my younger sister] and I would go to Bethany Sunday School occasionally because of our friendships with Tamara and Milla Katkov.  We also went to a midweek meeting at Tamara Kushnerov’s [one of the teachers at Bethany].  I remember hearing my need of a Saviour at this midweek meeting, and then I went home and got on my knees and asked Jesus to come into my heart.  It is all a little fuzzy but I think I was about eight or nine.  Summer camps were a very important part of my growth and maturing in the Lord.  I started teaching Sunday School when I was probably about thirteen, and preparing for that helped me to grow as well.  We used to go to a Tuesday night youth group at YRCA (Young Russian Christian Association) which also added to my growth.  So many events and so many people were used by God to help me grow. 

I am now challenged and refreshed by my family as they grow and walk with the Lord.

Thank you, God, for your faithfulness!

My sister Kathy’s testimony is so short and sweet I’ve decided to add to her story with the following:

This is Len and Kathy’s first grandchild, Jackson.  Jack is Ryan and Michelle’s son.  While we’re on firsts…Jack is the first great grandson to Moisi and Nadia, our parents.  Nana to Jack, Kathy is a wonderful example of a grandmother who blesses her grandchild with her love and obedience to her Lord!

Kathy and Len

Kathy has a peacemaker’s heart and is very kind. She has a degree in teaching but more than that she has the gift of teaching.  Right now besides spending as much time as she can with Jack and substitute teaching,  she is caring for her 93  year old mother-in-law. May God bless her richly for all the good she does in obedience to Him. Kathy truly is an example of a Proverbs 31 woman who fears the Lord and does good for her household and others!

 

Testimony Tuesday ~ Svetlana

 

Katie and Svet 2003

 Svet gave me permission to post her testimony for Testimony Tuesday. She was born around the same time as my youngest brother and sister (twins) 13 years my junior. We attended the same Russian Baptist Church years ago. The following is her testimony in her own words.

“I’d learned about God at home, and from my grandparents who often spoke to me about God.  I heard my mom pray to this God every night…so I did too! 

I was 7.  Miss Heidi (hi Heidi!) was the most beautiful Sunday school teacher, and she made me feel very important!  She had asked us before, so next time Miss Heidi invited us to “ask Jesus into our hearts”, I decided I’d raise my hand.  I believed that God was real, and, I thought I’d get struck w/ lightening if I waited any longer…I was shy.  Miss Heidi prayed with me and together, we asked Jesus to come dwell in my heart.  I felt great!  I was excited and felt a weight had been lifted…my chances of being struck by lightning had just been greatly diminished!  I went home that day and immediately prayed that same prayer again…and again the next day…and again…and again.  I needed to make sure God heard me, in case he’d been too busy before.  I just couldn’t grasp the idea of his omniscience/omnipresence.

“Miss Heidi” is the one in the middle in the brown top with Jeanie and Ellen.

Though I’d never been to summer camp as a kid, in my early 20’s, God orchestrated a series of events that landed me in a job as summer staff at Hume Lake.  It was there that I came to understand how very different Jesus and the Holy Spirit were, from the sovereign, (and distant), God that I knew.  The staff studied Philippians for the first month, and the Holy Spirit introduced himself to me as he used the Apostle Paul to teach me that God was not only a serious, punishing God, but a loving God who took joy, joy, JOY in me, his daughter!  I’d never been so encouraged as a believer as I devoured the book, again and again! 

 

Hume Lake Christian Camp

For years my life verses were: Philippians 1:6 along with 2:13
“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  These days, though it may seem cliché God’s word can never be overused, my life verse is: Jer 9:11 “…for I know the plans I have for you…”  It’s such a comfort to know that my Savior is always ahead of me and right around the corner!”

~ Svet

Testimony Tuesday ~ Jody


                   

Ellen and Jody

This is my friend Jody’s testimony. She gave me permission to post it for Testimony Tuesday.

My testimony is so simple. I was born into a family where my parents loved Jesus.  So had their parents.  And their parents.  And the parents before them, who upon receiving Him sold their whiskey distillery and moved to the farm to raise their children to love Jesus. So when I was five years old, my father came to tuck me in at night and asked me what I knew about Jesus.  I told him that He is God and that He died on the cross to save me.  He asked me if there was anything Jesus wanted me to do, and I told him that He wanted me to ask Him into my heart.  He said,”Why not now?” and I said, “Sure!”  That was the beginning for me.  Fifty years ago.So I enjoy this tremendous heritage promised in Psalm 103:17 and 18 and claimed every day by those first distillery owners who prayed this promise for all their children and children’s children to come:

 17 But from everlasting to everlasting
       the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
       and his righteousness with their children’s children-

 18 with those who keep his covenant
       and remember to obey his precepts.

Of course the rub is  “remembering to obey his precepts” and that’s the challenge of my life.  But life has been rich with His blessing.   I also have this overwhelming sense (because I’ve experienced it) of the blessing that will cover my children if I will be faithful, which puts this whole “living for Jesus” thing is a greater contextual scope.  It’s all good.  Praise Him. ~

If you’d like to read more testimonies click on Tim Challies. He is hosting “Testimony Tuesdays”. I think we’ll all be amazed at what wonderful things God has done for us! Blessings!