Happy Campers

I grew up believing that carnival rides were made to hurt people. I’m sure it stems back to my first time in line for a roller coaster at a place called Boblo Island. We were actually in line and very close to getting on when the roller coaster flipped off the tracks right in front of our eyes. Nobody was killed but people were seriously injured. It was like I made a little vow that day to never get in line for another one of those things ever again.

But the years went by and Carol and I got married and began to talk about someday having children. I began to think, “What if someday my children are into these things called roller coasters? I don’t want to be wimpy dad who won’t ride. I know they will still love me if I’m wimpy dad but I don’t want to be.” So when I found out that Cedar Point was building the world’s tallest roller coaster, which was 205 feet tall, back in 1989, I thought, “This is my chance to conquer this fear once and for all”. So I grabbed my dear friend, John Waters, and we rode it the morning of opening day. Mission accomplished. Fear conquered.

Of course, all these years later I have five kids who love roller coasters and who had an opportunity at the beginning of summer to conquer some fears of their own. Joshua, Stephen, Andrew, and Kelly all rode the Millennium Force, which I’ve been told is taller than the Statue of Liberty and stands 310 feet tall and was the world’s biggest when it was built in 2000. Even little Mareah has ridden 3 of Cedar Point’s 16 roller coasters. And Cedar Point did it once again this year; they opened the world’s tallest, fastest, steepest roller coaster, The Top Thrill Dragster. Dragster is an amazing 25 million dollar, 420 feet tall coaster that does (hold on to your seats) 120 miles per hour in four seconds flat. I know it may sound crazy but we had a blast riding it. Once!

Well, we just finished another season of summer camps where we hung out with all kinds of kids all summer long. One of the camps we did this year, Joshua, Stephen, Andrew and Kelly all got to be campers at, and they were so thrilled about it. But as I looked out at the sea of faces at that camp, there was sadness in my heart because many of the kids who attended had been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect. These precious little ones, whose lives were like a roller coaster ride that’s not any fun, sat quietly and listened about having a friendship with Jesus. A friendship with Jesus, whose love through the ups and downs, would not change, and would not go away. And we watched their sweet little hearts respond to the unchanging gospel of unconditional love. This was the only camp all summer where the kids would line up to hug me after each chapel. I wish you could have seen it. Thanks for being there with us in prayer. Your love and support means so much to us. Would you stop and just say a little prayer for these kids?

Thank you so very much,

God bless you,


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