“A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
— Proverbs 18:24
My name is Josh Del Rio, and I may have one of the most boring testimonies ever.
I’m not saying that testimonies can be boring, because the fact that God sent the Holy Spirit into my heart and soul to be the propitiation for my sins alone is a miracle. Every day that I’m alive and get to experience the blessings of the Lord is a mind blowing experience.
What I mean when I say that I have a boring testimony is that the Lord blessed me with an amazing life. He blessed me right from the beginning: being born to the most God-driven people that I know in the whole world. Because of my parent’s influence and teaching, Christianity has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I remember that when I was little that I was afraid of the status of my faith. Hell is a scary thought to anybody, and especially to an eleven year old kid.
“Mom, since you’re my mom and you believe in God, that means that I’m a Christian and I’m going to heaven too, right??”
She was quick to give me the down low: Christianity is not something that can be passed down from parents to children.
I can’t put a definite date on the moment I became a Christian. I grew up in a Christian household, went to a Christian school, and constantly had the Gospel talked about around me and to me. I didn’t get baptized until my senior year of high school, and I’m glad that I did. I was old enough then to understand the symbolism and true meaning of baptism at that time, and it was definitely worth the wait.
It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I came across the best place ever.
My mom was trying to get me get off my lazy butt and get a summer job, and I wasn’t really cooperating.
“JOSH! Why don’t you work at Camp Thurman?? YOU’RE GREAT WITH KIDS! YOU’LL LOVE IT!”
I had only been to Camp a few times in the past. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders of Pantego Christian Academy got to have a day to themselves at the end of the school year at Camp, and I have vague memories of Capture the Flag, swimming in the Sea of Galilee, going on Roxburgh’s High Ropes Course, and crying because I was too chicken to do the Zip Line.
Little did I know how deep I would fall in love with this little 14 acre piece of grass right in the small town of Pantego.
I had a place to connect and fellowship with fellow believers of all ages! I got to meet so many different people of all different backgrounds and interests! It was amazing! Never have I felt so much love in a single place. There’s something truly magical about it.
One of the best parts of it is getting to spread the Gospel to so many kids, all within a ten week period. Going over Bible times with them really allows me to take a step back and ask myself: “Do I really believe what I’m telling these young souls? Am I actually representing the Lord that I worship, or am I putting on a show, trying to ‘save’ as many souls as I can?”
I can honestly say that Camp Thurman has strengthened my relationship with the Lord, and given me opportunity upon opportunity to truly understand what I really believe about what it means to be a Christian.
Without my Camp Thurman family, I would not be expressive. I would not have the social skills to make new friends on my own accord. I would not have as many brothers and sisters to look up to. Without Camp Thurman, I would still be asking so many questions.
So many times, people ask me why I’m working as a counselor and trying to be a teacher instead of trying to be a Disney animator. I’ve had many people tell me that I’m not making the right decision. They say that Camp needs to be a temporary job and that I need to get ready for the bigger and better job on the horizon. I know I’ve already found the job on the horizon.
I actually cannot explain how much Camp Thurman means to me. It’s like trying to explain why it’s so amazing to see those big reds, oranges and yellows merge in beautiful ways in a sunrise or sunset. It’s too beautiful to put into words; you need to experience it to understand it.
Now that I think about it, Camp Thurman is to me as water is to life. As humans, we all need water. Without water, we’ll dehydrate, choke up, and become weak. We can’t describe how it tastes, especially after a long day in that Texas heat. It’s just necessary. Camp Thurman is necessary to me.
I assure you that I’m not delusional: I do know that I could live without Camp Thurman. But I know that without the sacrifice of my Savior, I would be completely and totally dead, with no reason to hope that I could ever make myself alive. My Savior gives me a reason to live, a reason to wake up in the morning, and a reason to have true JOY.
All throughout my life, I have been a pretty laid back guy. It takes a lot to put me in a bad or grumpy mood. Even if I am in an undesired mood, all it takes is a Michael Jackson song or two to raise my spirits. Working at Camp for so long has shown me that the JOY that comes so naturally to me only comes to me because He gives it to me.
There are a lot of different jobs that I could probably qualify for that could give me temporary wealth and joy. But the opportunity to minister to kids for a big chunk of my year and bring smiles to their faces while I do it is priceless to me beyond words.
It’s like I’m living a real life MasterCard commercial.
This summer, a camper that I had in previous years asked me if I was going to be coming back next year. I didn’t even have to think about my answer. There was no faltering in my voice or thought process. I knew what I would say even before he finished the question.
“Dude, I’m coming back every year”
#foreverCT (™Siberia) #hobbes4life