On Thursday evening, Michele got a phone call from an unidentified caller. When she answered, it was Traig calling from Camp Harlow. Her first thought was that he was hurt - as Traig would never call from a week at High School Camp just for sentimental reasons. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt, in fact, he was calling to share outstanding news - he'd decided to be baptized in the ceremony held at the Harlow Pool on the last day of High School Camp.
Traig has had a desire to be baptized for awhile, but was looking for the optimal opportunity to do it in a circumstance in which he truly felt led and not just to "cross it off his list". Clearly, God impressed upon him that this was the time.
Unfortunately, with such late notice (bummer Traig!), Michael's work obligations prevented him from taking Friday off to see it happen, but I was able to drive up to pick up Michele (so that when Michael arrived later on, there would only be one of their vehicles here) - and then, make it to Harlow in the nick of time (literally, as the bell was ringing to draw all of the campers to the pool). It was a good thing, as Traig was the first of twenty high schoolers who had requested to be baptized that afternoon.
One of the best moments of this experience was seeing Traig as he caught sight of Michele. He hadn't expected either of his parents to be able to make it, and to see Traig light up (normally the kid who can be independent in the mix of a crowd when it comes to "Mom and Dad attention") was priceless.
Accompanying Traig into the pool were the two counselors he had that week as well as Zach, who is the Program Director on the Impact (Leadership) Team out at Harlow. He's been a significant "Harlow mentor" to Brayden and Traig out there, in fact, I think both boys would very much like to follow his footsteps and assume his position someday. Rudy Herr, the high school pastor is the one who has his hand on Traig's shoulder, and of course - Dave Mertz is to his right.
I nearly cried while watching. I was glad I could hide behind the camera lens, snapping the shutter as fast as I could to catch it all.
After Traig left the pool, he came over to give Michele and I big hugs. (Brayden had already greeted us, hugged Whitley, and even stole her stuffed animal - definitely no lack of friendliness from him after a week away - and no change in his goofy personality).
As we walked out, Zach caught up with us (after having stolen back Whit's stuffed animal from Brayden) and we were able to talk a bit about the week that the boys had had. We knew in advance that their cabin was "stacked" with amazing boys. This was huge as we've felt like in the past the boys have had each other (Andrew, Brayden, and Traig), but have had to deal with other challenging cabin-mates. This time it was a group of boys that had all grown up with faith, but were all in the process of "owning it for themselves" at this pivotal age.
Apparently, their two counselors felt like they should just throw out the pre-set discussion questions as these boys were capable of getting so much deeper. They opted instead to meet the boys where they were at. They also spent - on their own initiative - camper led prayer time, like over 15 minutes a night with each other. They were the example of what the leadership aspired to see happen with each of the cabins in terms of bonding and supporting one another. Wow. Talk about answered prayer. Zach also had some special one on one time with each of our boys as they wrestled with significant stuff this week.
It was hugely pivotal that Traig chose Harlow for the place to be baptized. This is where both our boys were baptized now, and absolutely where they've grown the most in the Lord. Undeniably, all of us as parents find ourselves more proud of our boys and more impressed with who they've become when it has to do with Harlow. How we thank God for Camp Harlow and all the people who have selflessly served out there to impact our boys so profoundly.
This is a picture that was just put on Facebook featuring our boys' cabin in their "good-bye prayer session"...rather significant timing to have that posted.