In one month, over 200 young people and 100 volunteers will gather for Illuminate 2012. Organizers have been busy planning and getting things in place for the fifth year of the week-long summer camp. Illuminate will be held the week of July 8-13 and will be based at Charles E. Perry Elementary School in Roseboro.
“We are so grateful to Sampson County Schools and the Board of Education for providing this facility to house Illuminate. Their contribution is an answer to prayers as to where we hold Illuminate this summer,” asserted director Mitchell Brewington.
According to the Illuminate website, the mission for the camp is, first and foremost, to bring glory to God by “offering an excellent summer camp for students that provides opportunities for them to grow closer to God and learn the importance of mission work and service.” The name Illuminate comes from Jesus’ statement found in Matthew 5:16, which reads: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (ESV).”
Matt Barefoot, another Illuminate director, explained, “Just prior to this, Jesus says to his audience, ‘You are the salt of the earth,’ which, among other things, suggests we are to preserve, or care for, the world around us. As followers of Jesus, we are to be His image in this world; to do as He did, speak as He spoke, love as He loved. At Illuminate, you have the opportunity to do just that.”
In 2008, two of the directors felt like God was leading them to start a camp that was very focused on local missions, so they spent a few weeks planning a weekend mission project for local students. They had a little over 20 students show up. The next year they met and became friends with the rest of the guys who are now on the Illuminate Board of Directors. They now had five people to put together a camp and share the work. While they were planning, they came up with the name Illuminate which they took from Matthew 5:16. They also decided to make the camp a week long, instead of just a weekend.
The following years, the camp continued to grow. Instead of just having students that belonged to the directors’ youth groups, other local churches began to participate. The camp has expanded and improved each year. In 2011, the directors were excited to bring on board some camp staff, young adults who had come to Illuminate as high school students and wanted to come back and help lead. The camp has also received tremendous support from the community and local businesses and churches.
Director Brian Jackson shared that currently there are between 15 and 20 churches that have registered.
“We are excited to have this many churches already registered. We are in hopes that even more churches will join us. We are multi-denominational and welcome anyone who wants to participate in spreading God’s love. If there are individuals that are not associated with a church, we welcome them also,” remarked Jackson.
Brewington added that although the focus is for young people, adults are also welcome to take part in the week-long camp.
“Adults can also benefit from attending Illuminate and they can be mentors to the younger participants. We need the skills that many adults have to help with service projects. If there are adults who would like to participate, please contact us and let us know,” stressed Brewington.
Churches and others may learn more and register at the Illuminate website: www.illuminatecamp.com.
The directors stressed that they urgently needed the community’s prayers but also could use donations to help support the ministry.
“Bottled water is desperately needed. We went through a lot of water last year because the weather was so hot. The church, community and businesses have been very generous, and we greatly appreciate the support we have already received,” said Barefoot.
Illuminate provides many opportunities throughout the week. The directors explained that each night there is a time for worship and fellowship at the camp headquarters. Each day the participants are divided into various groups that will be involved in service projects. These opportunities range from sewing dresses for Haiti, to building wheelchair ramps, do landscaping, holding backyard Bible Schools/Day Camps, to visiting nursing homes and several other projects.
“We feel it is important for us all to realize that God calls us all to serve. We all have different talents and abilities, but we all can do something to glorify Him. This is what we are trying to teach through Illuminate,” explained Jackson.
This year’s Illuminate will be based on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus shared with his disciples by saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).
“We are just hoping people will just get involved. There are so many opportunities for us to minister to others and too often we miss those chances. Illuminate for everyone to take part in making service to our Lord and Savior a top priority in our lives and a witness to others. Come join us for Illuminate 2012,” stated Brewington.
For more information or to register, visit the website: www.illuminatecamp.com or contact one of the directors, Matt Barefoot - 910-379-6374; Mitchell Brewington - 910-385-6367; Scottie Baldwin - 910-990-1346; Brian Jackson - 910-263-1311; or Jacob Peterson - 919-931-4032.