CYOKAMO 2019: Spoiler Alert … Jesus Wins!

Image result for camp cyokamo

Camp CYOKAMO ended two days early due to a virus that attacked the camp; however, you won’t believe how God had the last laugh.

Core scripture: “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Message: Some might call our trip to Camp CYOKAMO last week a disaster, comparing it to the apocalypse.  Slight hyperbole, I would say; however, considering the events that transpired, I can see their point.  248 people from five different churches arrived at camp on Father’s Day evening.  Monday morning, the first outbreak of sickness was recorded.  It spread like a wildfire through camp, taking out nearly half the population.  There was no choice but to cancel camp early and send everyone home Wednesday morning.

Through the storm, however, God worked His magic.  The sermons sank deep into the hearts of the campers.  Small group discussions were powerful.  A guest who had very little experience with church gave his life to Christ Tuesday afternoon, being baptized in the pool.  Worship rocked the chapel, and the campers thrived in their experiences.  Satan probably decided he simply had to intervene to try to take us out.  Ha!  A futile attempt to stop the inevitable.

Our faith is cemented in Romans 8:28 when it says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  We choose not to focus on the negative.  We enlighten our minds to the positive, and if we feast on scripture like Philippians 4:8, we begin to see God’s glimmering golden nuggets sprinkled about.  They are out there!  That unwavering trust that God is up to something good can be seen if you choose the right perspective.  Just look at the amazing things God did:

  • The CYOKAMO kitchen staff cooked up some delicious meals: savory lasagna, mouth-watering burgers, scrambled eggs and bacon, and every day a fresh salad bar at lunch. Not your typical camp food!
  • One of my 8th graders decided he was ready to get baptized. The original plan was to do it at camp, but now the Lord has allowed him to wait until this weekend.  Probably so ALL his friends and family can witness it!
  • God allowed Ryan Manring, Legacy Olathe’s fearless youth pastor, to drive home a powerful sermon over Revelation Monday night. Satan was already trying to derail the train by that point, yet Ryan’s message was right on the money.  Spoiler alert … Jesus wins!
  • Praise God for three hours of free time in the afternoons, which allowed me to begin pulling each of my 8th grade boys aside to mentor them. I learned things I never would have learned without those intentional conversations.
  • I had always been wondering who took over as the student leader for FCA at MidAmerica Nazarene University. God allowed me to not only meet Gentry but to pick her brain about the organization we both hold dear to our hearts.
  • God used Fred Douglas in extraordinary ways! Passion reverberated from the rooftops of the chapel much thanks to Fred’s enthusiasm.  Who else could get a house full of middle schoolers to scream their heads off, turning a Rockem Sockem Robots contest into the Super Bowl?
  • Frontline, the Ozark Christian College band, rocked the house!  Not only was their music amazing, but I got to talk to the band members off to the side and get to know them.  Josh shared his testimony while waiting in line for lunch, and Jesse talked about how she was going to be a missionary in Japan.  True warriors for Christ!
  • The good Lord changed Andrew right before our very eyes. The first day he lived the life of a slightly rebellious teenager, yet the joy of giving his heart to the Lord flipped the switch Tuesday afternoon when he was baptized by Fred Douglas AND his best friend who invited him to camp.  I have never seen a camper so proud of himself!
  • To hold the attention of nearly 250 middle schoolers for a half hour takes major skills. Pastor Taylor Brown from CIY had them hanging on his every word for two sermons.  How is that humanly possible?  Teach me!
  • The sickness allowed adult leaders to step up and learn on the fly. When Ryan Manring went down, the other youth pastors, Parker Muckenthaler, Fred Douglas, and Blake Barnhart, swooped in.  We didn’t miss a beat.
  • If you had told Matt and Jalen, the missionaries from the KU Christian House, that one of their main roles at camp would be to clean puke up at 2:00 am, they might have laughed; but they did it. It was a model of selfless service to everyone.
  • God bless Nurse Davis. The opening night he introduced himself saying that the last group of campers did not even know he was the camp nurse.  Believe me, those kids knew him by the end!  His weary eyes from staying up hours upon hours to attend to sick kids told everything, yet he did it with a servant’s heart and a smile on his face.

CYOKAMO might not have turned out the way we planned it, but you have to admit … we made some memories.  There were more stories from this year than any other year I have been there.  Countless remembrances that will forever be tattooed in our hearts.  Paul writes, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).

This was the body of Christ at work.

Song application: “CYOKAMO” is a song inspired by the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.”  I know my singing ability is less to be desired; however, I could not resist recording this on YouTube.  It would have been performed at camp had we had the time.  Enjoy!

There’s a place we go

It’s called CYOKAMO

That’s where we want to go

To get away from the world

Everybody sins

But in Christ we’re born again

That’s where I find my friends

We all grow closer to God



Get closer to Jesus

He’s the one who frees us

Cause His grace is perfection

Points me God’s direction

He’s fighting our battles

The devil’s surely rattled


A bus ride there and then you take it slow

That’s where we want to go



So strong, in force, you gotta stay the course.


Satan thought he’d try

To make us all wonder why

Campers started to puke

It was quite more than a spook

But Jesus still prevailed

Hearts were changed and Satan failed

Revelation details

That the final battle is won

Through God’s beloved Son


Get closer to Jesus

He’s the one who frees us

Cause His grace is perfection

Points me God’s direction

He’s fighting our battles

The devil’s surely rattled


Prayer points: Pray that the youth who visited CYOKAMO last week would be able to apply the lessons learned there and grow their relationships with Christ.

Quote: “Did you hear Ryan Manring got sick?  He was our only hope!”  (I overheard this desperate unknown camper’s voice as I showered Tuesday afternoon.  I know what the kid must have been thinking; however, he will soon come to realize that the only true hope we will ever have is in Jesus Christ.)

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for following us wherever we may go, being present in the good times and bad.  Help us to trust Your perfect plan with confident hearts full of faith.  Amen.

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1 comment

  1. Great story, Clint. Thanks for all the work and care you showed to everyone.

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