“THE GENEROSITY OF GOD’S PEOPLE HAS BEEN AMAZING,” should be the top headline of the COVID pandemic. Just a few days ago, I was having dinner with a husband-and-wife team who own and run a beautiful 140 bed camp in Missouri. Concerned for how they had weathered the pandemic, I asked how their ministry had fared financially. They said they had never seen such an outpouring of generosity and their cash reserves today are the best they had ever been.
I talk with churches all over the state and the story is the same. The generosity of God’s people during the pandemic was miraculous. Financially, many churches are doing better than they have in years. I saw a headline that Cooperative Program giving was up 12% from January 2021. Could anyone, at the beginning of the pandemic, have ever guessed that we would be having these conversations?
Camp Siloam was no different. Sure, God had a creative way for preserving His ministry at Camp Siloam, but it was ultimately the generosity of God’s people that preserved the ministry here in 2020 and 2021. Last year, Camp Siloam experienced some large, unexpected facility maintenance issues. We needed $125,000 to cover the cost of resurfacing the pool, mitigating mold in the Worship Center, and rebuilding roads and bridges after a flood. I am pleased to report that our Greatest Need Campaign was one of our most successful. We raised 113% of our goal. In this campaign, the extra funds will go to help with other facility and activity needs at camp.
In August, we received an incredible and unexpected gift from a donor who helped us get started on construction of the new Chinchilla Bunkhouse (a chinchilla is a cute, fuzzy-eared South American rodent some kids have for pets). With this family’s gift, we still had approximately $500,000 remaining to raise, but we started construction. As of today, we have raised 91% of our goal of $2,050,000 for the new bunkhouse and we have donors considering finishing the campaign even as I write. All praise and glory to God for providing the beautiful new bunkhouse out of the 2019 storms. We can’t wait for girls to use it this summer.
Lastly, and most importantly, the cost of camp is rising, and Camp Siloam recognizes that scholarships are the only way we can keep camp affordable for many of our constituent families and churches. In 2021, we set a goal to raise $130,000 in scholarships; more than ever before. At the end of the year, we didn’t quite meet our goal, but we raised $87,650. While short of our goal, this is still more money raised than in any other year so far.
Thank you to everyone who faithfully gave to support Camp Siloam, other summer camps and our Arkansas churches. You have made a difference.
Lastly, we want to encourage you to reconsider Camp Siloam if the price was an obstacle for your church to attend Camp Siloam in the past. We can make summer camp more affordable for more kids. The scholarship application is easy. Gifts are made to churches to distribute to eligible campers. The average scholarship granted is half of the cost of camp. We want you to use Camp Siloam to reach kids in your neighborhood who might not otherwise come to church.