Camp Life –
“An unimaginable amount of love and happiness radiates off the faces of the orphaned children as they sprint toward you as soon as you step off the bus” said Bryce Brock “this is one of my fondest memories”.
Brock, a 20-year-old sophomore at Texas A&M University, has been a part of the Family Legacy organization called Camp LIFE for four years.
Family Legacy Missions International exists to connect American families with the orphaned and vulnerable children of Zambia to proclaim the gospel, transform lives, and rescue orphans. Family Legacy accomplishes their mission through three main ministries: Camp LIFE, Father’s Heart, and Tree of Life.
“I heard about Camp LIFE through some family friends that had gone before,” says Brock.
The Camp LIFE headquarters is located in Zambia, Africa. According to the family legacy website, Zambia is located in sub-Saharan Africa. Zambia is home to over 13 million people, half of which are under the age of 16.
Camp LIFE, which is the specific camp Brock attended, is a weeklong camp held throughout the summer for orphaned children in Zambia. Each summer 600 plus Americans make the long journey to Africa in hopes of changing the lives of those less fortunate.
“Honestly, you don’t understand until you go, but it is the best week of your life. Seeing the girls for the first time, after so much time has gone by is my favorite thing…they tackle you and don’t let go. I have never felt so loved by anyone,” states Brock.
Brock was in charge of 15 young girls for the duration of the week. Each American is assigned to a group of children and is able to overcome the language barrier with the help of a translator. Each Camp LIFE counselor teaches the children about life and God throughout the week.
“My ‘job’ wasn’t much of a job at all,” explains Brock.
“I was to love on them all week and give them hope to hold onto. We played, danced, laughed, learned, and cried together. You form relationships that are indescribable.”
Similarly, Morgan Bridges a 20-year-old student at The University of Texas, had the same thoughts on her “job” throughout the week.
“As counselors, we were in charge of a group of 10-15 kids, I had little girls ages 4-9. I told them bible stories, sang and danced with them, and just expressed my love for them. I would never call it a job.”
Each Camp LIFE counselor is there to reach out to one of the one million orphaned children by expressing the love of God.
The word impact seems to be one of the words most used among those who have experienced Camp LIFE. Impacts made on the American as well as the Zambian children. Stephanie Hillin, a freshman at The University of Texas at Austin elaborates on the idea of impact.
Hillin explained that she knew she had made an impact on one of her children when she was visiting the village that her girls lived in, Lusaka.
“I was carrying a girl, Chindela, who had smiled at me for the first time that day. We approached her family and my translator relayed a message from them to me, that they had always thought she had demons living inside her until they saw her smiling with me.”
It’s stories like these that draw people to organizations like Family Legacy and Camp LIFE.
Brock shares that becoming involved with Camp LIFE does not take a specific type of person to become an inspiration to these children. She explains that God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called.
Although all may not be able to afford the expensive trip to Africa to work with Family Legacy, there are other ways to help these children. Anyone interested can help sponsor a child just as Brock, Bridges, and Hillin do, or simply donate to the organization.
All three of the girls are returning to Africa this summer to do Camp LIFE. Hillin, Brock and Bridges with their families will all make the trip in July.
When asked what the main lesson is that she has taken away from her trip to Africa, Hillin responded stating: “Overall being apart of Camp LIFE has taught me that the world I live in is filled with petty and trivial issues and that it’s not only beneficial, but in fact crucial to step out of my comfort zone when given the chance. By doing so I’ve been able to adjust my lens and see life through the eyes of others.”
Bryce Brock: 1 (713) 409-6633
Morgan Brides: (903) 574-1621
Stephanie Hillin: (713) 471- 2529