The best kept secret in Stokes County!

Dear Friends:
Since September, I have been contacting area churches about helping us find campers, quality summer staff and adult and youth groups to use our site in the off-season.  I have been very surprised at how enthusiastic the pastors and youth leaders have been as well as how unknown The Vineyard Camp is!  I wish that each of you could see the amazement on the faces of the church leaders as Spencer and I (Spencer Santiago is helping me with this now) tell them about how special The Vineyard is and our passion for sharing God’s love and Christ’s call to discipleship. It’s not happened yet, but this year our little camp might be filled with more USA campers than foreign campers for the first time in 20 years.  Please, please pray for our meetings.
Today, I read about Saul and Samuel in First Samuel and the tragedy of Saul being intimidated by his soldiers and on two occasions not obeying God because of “peer pressure”.  Saul was chosen by God for good things, he was popular with his troops and truly loved by Samuel. It occurred to me for the first time today that the second time Saul failed to be obedient to God that Samuel was truly heart-broken that God’s chosen one had failed. Samuel prayed for Saul all night when God revealed to Samuel that He regretted the choice of Saul!  When Samuel finally did confront Saul (after Saul lied and lied about the reasons he did not obey God) he departed and never saw Saul again—but he grieved for Saul util the day he died. 
A sad story, but so instructive about the life of anyone that choses to be used by God!  We have no control over the free-will, foolish choices, duplicity and sin of those we love.  But it’s proper to mourn and grieve the loss.  I don’t think we talk about grieving and sadness enough. I can’t imagine anyone saying to Samuel, “Oh cheer up! God’s’ on the throne. Everything is going to be fine”.  No! Samuel knew that Saul was now destined to a life of sadness and loss and that he and his son Jonathan would never enjoy the abundant life that God intended. 
This is the world we live in. It’s not what we want and it is not the way it’s supposed to be.  But grieving has it’s place in the hearts of His saints.
Dean Barley

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