Dear friends: A black van with dark tinted windows pulls up to the White House gate, is carefully scrutinized by sober-faced guards, then waved through. It comes to a stop directly in front of the main entrance of the grand residence. Alert security officers rush up to open the front and side doors of the vehicle and escort eight brightly attired, somewhat nervous teenagers and their adult escort up the front steps and into the foyer. These inner-city kids from Atlanta have been invited to perform one of their dances for the First Lady in the most famous house in the world. What in all their lives could ever parallel this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
Yet, amazingly, unbelievably, in three short weeks they will be invited back by the President and First Lady, this time to perform not in a ceremony for receiving a national award for outstanding community impact, but an even more prestigious invitation — to perform for the first female African president — Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — who is being hosted by Laura Bush at the White House.
That’s how our youth development program started out last year for one group of our Moving in the Spirit kids. We will not be able to top this experience this year. But we will be investing the same concentrated energy, discipline and love into the lives of all the several hundred children who will be involved in our summer camp program. They may not end up at the White House but they will experience high adventure. They will see amazing sights they have never even imagined, visit places that they have only heard of, and explore worlds — both internal and external — that a creative God has formed with His own hands. Their horizons will be expanded beyond the city streets that have been their playgrounds and they will experience the awesome beauty and grandeur and intricacies of creation. Adventure, Learning and Love, lots of Love — that’s what summer camp will be.
These eager young people will need just a little help from caring adults. A sponsorship of $100 will fill the gap between what they can contribute and the actual cost of the summer program. Would you like to invest in one or more of them? Ask your Sunday School class or office if they want to participate as well. It’s the best investment I know in the future of our city.
Grateful to be your partner in service,
Bob Lupton President