It was an ordinary day in northern Arizona…that is if any day in northern Arizona can be considered ordinary. The crisp, brrrr-chill mornings with the smell of pine needles greeted us every day. Each morning as we walked out the door of our home, the scene was breathtaking. The majestic San Francisco Peaks and the stately ponderosa pine trees were the setting for the Christian camp where my husband and I were privileged to serve.
Ordinarily, the month of May was a busy time of preparation for our summer season of camping. This particular May was no different. As the blanket of winter snow melted and the spring bulbs began to sprout flowers, so the quietness of the camp grounds burst forth in new life with the arrival of our summer staff. Getting acquainted with everyone was always fun! Our days were filled with much training and preparation, not only mentally and physically, but most importantly spiritually.
The first couple of weeks were usually work weeks. After the long, harsh winter months, there was always lots of clean-up, repair and refreshing that was needed. Along with our permanent staff, counselors and operational staff, we often had church groups or individual families come to help us during these busy days. We were always so thankful for all the people God brought our way to help share in the joy, responsibility and reward of the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that bonds hearts together as much as mutual hands laboring for a cause greater than themselves.
“If I don’t meet a true Christian this week, then there is no reason or purpose for living.”
I will never forget one particular day of a work week. In fact, it was the very last day of the work week before our spiritual emphasis and counselor training week would begin. I was at home when my friend and fellow staff worker knocked at my door. When I opened the door that day, Donna was standing there with tears in her eyes. Her emotion was obvious as she recounted to me a conversation she had just had with a daughter of one of the families that had come to help work that week.
Earlier that week, Donna had come into the camp office as was her routine each day. As she entered, she heard someone playing the piano in the small chapel located at the back of the office building. Out of curiosity, she stepped into the room to see who was playing. Sitting at the piano was a teenage girl. Donna was taking piano lessons herself, so she immediately struck up a conversation with her. All through the week, Donna talked to her new friend, got to know a little about her life and enjoyed fellowship with her. At the end of the week, the girl came to Donna and told her a very sobering story. The girl apparently had a lot of issues in her life even though she gave no reasons for her story. She simply explained to Donna that she needed to see a real Christian. In fact, the girl went on to say that she had told God, “If I don’t meet a true Christian this week, then there is no reason or purpose for living.” She was planning to return home and take her life. She made the statement, “You are the true Christian I needed to see.” Truly, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21).
As Donna related this story to me, my eyes began to tear up as well. She was overcome with emotion at the weight of responsibility she felt. Questions like, “What if I hadn’t befriended her?” flooded her thoughts. Recently I asked her what her thoughts were about this particular incident in her life. She readily answered, “It was the prompting of the Holy Spirit…that’s all I can say.”
I have thought much about this through the years. This episode in my friend’s life has had a dynamic impact in my own life. It was just an ordinary day for Donna. She was busy fulfilling her daily obligations. However, on this ordinary day in her life, her heart was sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and what a difference it made in the life of a teenage girl! One never knows the influence that can be had by just loving and caring for people. What an awesome responsibility we have to touch the lives of others with the same love Christ has given us! This is the mark of a true Christian.
John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Written by Lynn Gleiser. This article was published in the Summer 2016 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She and her husband Morris travel in evangelism, speaking in churches and camps across America. They have a passion for teens and have impacted hundreds of people through their faithful ministry.