PINEVILLE, La.—From seven states they came, 630 middle and high school students to Louisiana College for two Fuge camps, July 5-9 and 10-14.
When they left, 35 had professed faith in Christ for the first time; 27 of them were Fuge campers. The remaining eight were among those to whom Fuge campers ministered.
Using Louisiana College as a base, the students gathered for worship and Bible study every morning and then dispersed in small groups to neighborhoods, churches and other local ministries, where they held backyard Bible clubs, worked in a community vegetable garden, sorted donated clothing, served food to the homeless and more.
“We were pleased to partner with LifeWay Christian Resources in hosting the Fuge camps,” said LC President Rick Brewer. “This is the fruition of plans we initiated in 2015 and the efforts of LC Trustee Jason McGuffey, pastor of FBC Tallulah, whose leadership reinforced our efforts to connect with LifeWay as a host site for Fuge.”
Brewer said the response of hundreds of students attending the Fuge camps made him “confident of our plans to add more weeks of camps for next year and beyond.”
Ashton Durand, a member of Montpelier Baptist Church in Montpelier, La., emphasized the importance of sharing the gospel with the children at a local park.
“This might be the only time they ever actually hear the word of God,” she said. “It’s amazing knowing that I had a part in their lives, helping them grow, planting little seeds. They will grow in these little hearts. These kids are so willing and eager to hear what we have to say to them.”
Students also assisted Philadelphia Baptist Church Horseshoe Drive in Alexandria, La., by working in the church’s thrift shop and by adding fresh coats of paint throughout the church.
“It feels good to give back to the church,” said Christina Harrington of First Baptist Church in Yorktown, Texas, who explained her home church had helped her family when it fell on hard times. “I just want to learn more about Jesus, and Fuge camp helps me know Jesus loves me,” said the middle-schooler as she scraped old paint from a window.
Rosie Davila of Friendship Baptist church in Chesterfield, Virginia, helped lead a group of campers. “I’m having a blast,” she said, wiping sweat from her forehead. “To see the young people loving God and worshiping him and working for him and loving him gives me a new hope—hope for the next generation—hope that the gospel is going to keep spreading and keep reaching people for Christ and not stop with my generation. It’s moving on.”
Rick Gardner is director of maintenance for Philadelphia Baptist Church. He described the ministry of Fuge students as “revitalizing.” He said their efforts are “putting a new face, a fresh face on a church that was once powerful in this part of town. And God is bringing it back again.”
Ben Clark, youth minister at Koran Baptist Church in Haughton, La., said the week was eye-opening for him and his students: “We came with the intention of what could we bring back home with us, and I was shown that we can do things like a backyard Bible club back in our community,” Clark said. “There were so many smiles on the faces of the students and the kids we interacted with. You could tell the joy of Christ was evident.”
San West, pastor of Main Street Mission in Pineville, La., was reminded just how impactful students can be in reaching a community for Christ. During their time at the mission of First Baptist Church in Pineville, students cleaned the building, sorted through clothes and went door-to-door to invite others to a basketball tournament at a nearby park.
“Fuge has been good for this community,” West said. “The best part is seeing these young people put God above themselves. I hope it instills in them a love for missions they will carry with them back home.”