A Race Worth Running

by Sylvia Dickson

They pressed in on one another at the starting line, waiting for the second when theyKids run1 yellow rose copy could burst forth and begin the race.

And they’re off! Zooming past me in a whir, I see looks of intensity on each face, the excitement and energy pushing each runner onward.

A few minute later, I begin to see runners headed to the finish line, making each arm pump and leg stride count. Some are definitely loosing speed while others are stretching to win.

boy with shoeA few are having to overcome unforeseen obstacles, but their spirit is good. Others, having completed the race, rush back to encourage friends to keep on going. Still others are being carried across the finish line.

What a sight! The Kids’ Run at Camp of the Rising Son’s annual Run for the Son was the highlight of my day. Their Making the effort was enough to fill my emotional bucket, much less the delight the runners showed at being a part of the event.

Something Wonderful

Isn’t it wonderful to be part of something big and good? One of our seniors told me how much she enjoyed being part of the drama productions. She said, Even though I was backstage, I loved being part of something good.grad2

God’s kingdom is big and good. That God loves us and gave His Son so our sins could be forgiven fills my emotional bucket forever. Not only that, His race is worth running because the prize at the end is perfect.

goofy runner In It Together

We are not alone. Many others have run the race, laying aside whatever hinders, focusing on the goal, and helping others along the way. Now it is our turn. We are the runners and the encouragers.

How do we encourage? We tell our young people at FCA to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Romans 12:2a). We are here to strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed (Romans 12:12-13).

CheersHigh Jump

French Camp Academy is preparing young people to run the race well. We show them the track, make them aware of the obstacles, nurture them with good spiritual food, give them the tools they need, and we run alongside them, cheering them on the way. Sometimes they out run us (Yea!), and other times we pick them up and carry them until they can run on their own.

Our strength comes from Jesus who has finished the race and is sitting at the right hand of the Father. We know that He will carry us through and the race will have been worth it.

donate-button-large

fca-logo-for-web--02329c-blue-bkgn

Advertisements

FCA: Different in the Best Way

by Stephen Korpi, FCA teacher/coach

Korpi, Stephen1

Before coming to FCA, I taught in several public schools in TN. I am now going into my 3rd year on staff at FCA. I started out as activities director and JH math teacher and then began coaching basketball and tennis my 2nd year.

I truly enjoy teaching and coaching my students. One of the greatest changes in teaching at FCA from public school is that I am not only allowed to tell the Gospel of Christ, but encouraged to do it each lesson. One of the highlights of my day is the privilege of doing devotions with my students each class and practice. This is what I love most about my job.

Watkins runningAnother thing different about teaching here is that you are better able to build relationships with the students. At public schools you might see them one hour in a day and never again, but here you live in their world.

I have found that when you are able to build relationships with students, it is then that you can really mentor them—and they will listen to you! I am learning to have fun with the students and laugh with them more, and when the serious times come, I am able to be used of God and speak Truth into their lives.

A complete new thing here to me is the way discipline is done. I have never seen Drivin' 'round copydiscipline done in such a loving way. It is done in love, truly for the interest of the student to grow them into a person of good character. God loves those He disciplines. Through the close, caring, godly relationships of the staff and students, the students see that we want the best for them.

Another difference from teaching in a public school is I am blessed to be surrounded with a Christian staff. I am so thankful to know I have coworkers praying with and for me. I’ve never had a better administration— leaders who love and mentor me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow in my faith just by watching and living with more mature Christians around me as they allow themselves to be used of God.

Katy, Octavious, Farida copyAnother thing about staff and students living as neighbors, is you always have ministry opportunities available. When I feel the slightest bit bored or lonely, I head to the guys’ side of campus and hang out with the students. The kids love it when staff will get out and play games with them—and I am thankful that I am young enough to enjoy it! I am able to do things I love and minister at the same time—basketball, tennis, swimming, frisbee, biking, table tennis, etc.

Many times I feel like I am the one who is being blessed by being here. It is One Fine Place.

For information of admissions, policies, and how you can partner with FCA, contact Lance Ragsdale at (662) 547-6482, or visit our website, www.frenchcamp.org.

cropped-fca-logo-for-web-02329c-blue-bkgn.gif

Successful Living

BoyScoutsBy Sylvia Dickson

The Kindergarten teacher welcomed her new class with a bright smile. After the class was seated, she asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” One after another the children answered: fireman, nurse, doctor, wife, daddy, teacher.

And the list went on. Each set his sights on success, and each was encouraged to work hard and do his best.

Tools for Success

Most of us want to make sure our children have everything they need, get a good education, marry well, get a good job with a retirement plan, and are happy.

So, how do we fall short of those goals? We tell each other, “You can be anything you want to be.”  But where do we get the tools for success?

To ensure truly successful living, we must be fully equipped through God’s Word.

Moving Up?

Recently, Charles Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, pointed out, “As the nation has moved away from biblical principles, we have seen an increase in divorce, drug abuse, suicide, depression, teen pregnancy, and selfishness. Ethical compromise and greed have resulted in financial instability. Instead of basing decisions on God’s truth, we tend to act according to personal preference or popular opinion.”

And yes, it seems to be true. Successful living, according to worldly wisdom, is mainly about self and keeping up with the Jones’. As Willie Nelson aptly said in his song “Luckenbach Texas,”  

This successful life we’re living’s, Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys …  We’ve been so busy keeping up with the Jones, Four-car garage and we’re still building on. Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love. 

But even that statement to can lead to emptiness, unless we look to God’s perfect love.

Truth or Consequences

The only sure way to success is to live by God’s Word. Godly wisdom says that to be successful we are to …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12). His Word tells us that if we want to be first, we must be last, the way to greatness is through service, and to be rich we must be generous.

As we teach and train our students at French Camp Academy, we tell them the truth. The way to true success is through the truth of Christ. The consequence of not living by God’s Word is ultimately failure. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus gives us a great analogy for success and failure:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, and the streams rose, and the winds beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

The Rest of Your Life

Walking with Christ is not for the fainthearted. But, walking without Christ is even more trying and desperate. The effort of showing young people the difference in the two is our job and our joy.

Pray for us that we will use the tools God has given us for success, and our students will put down their old tools and pick up God’s tools.

May you walk with Christ for the rest of your life, and be truly successful.

A Place of Renewal

DSC_0012by Sylvia Dickson

There is a certain beauty to the winter landscape: stark silhouettes of bare branches brushing against a gray sky, empty fields bathed in crisp, winter sunlight, nippy mornings coated with glittering frost. However, what we truly long for, after waking in the early dark of winter, is to throw open our windows and feel warm spring breezes brushing away the sleep from our eyes.

Spring is a time of renewal. Daffodils spring from brown turf, trees dress up in spring green, the urge to fly a kite or plant a garden takes hold. We long to freshen up and fix up. Out with the old and in with the new.

And so it goes, year after year. Our souls, bodies, and all of creation long for renewal. So many years of frustration and futility! How long will it last?

At French Camp Academy we see firsthand the ravages of sin and the bondage to decay. Students come to us from families fractured or destroyed by sin. They come to us looking for a place of renewal.

Why Renewal?

In God’s Word, we see that even though Adam’s stomach was full, his purpose in life defined, his success certain, he wanted more.

When Adam and Eve broke the only commandment their Creator had given, they received a horrible shock. No longer could life be lived free from fear, pain, and destruction. A new law went into effect with the immediate verdict, “Guilty. Condemned to Die.”

The Beginning of Renewal

Redemption and renewal are themes that guide French Camp Academy. We live out lives renewed in Christ before our young people, showing them “… there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

We tell them that even though mother or father may have deserted them, God will not. We tell them that Jesus Christ came to free them from sin and give them new life: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3: 19).

The Work of Renewal

House parents and Historic area personnel work with students to reveal God’s plan for renewal. Teachers, coaches, work directors, radio personnel, all work at chipping away the chains of sin.

In the afternoons and on Saturdays, you can see students and staff working on different projects. Horses must be fed, the bed and breakfast freshened for visitors, and the conference center readied for the next group. WFCA trains students in broadcasting. At Rainwater Observatory, students learn how to work telescopes and help with astronomy programs.

Every aspect of FCA contributes to the accomplishment of our mission of being a Christ-centered home and school, serving young people and families for the glory of God.

Effects of Renewal

Lives built on the certainty of God’s redemptive work become stable, fruitful, and fulfilled. Hope takes root and enlivens minds and hearts. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (I Cor. 5: 17).

The cords of sin and evil that so easily entangled thoughts and emotions are slowly unraveled and tossed into the flames. The stagnant water of sorrow is drained and lives are refilled with fresh water. Grins replace groans, direction replaces destruction, clear minds replace cloudy thinking.

Sometimes the renewal takes place quickly, sometimes slowly. But all around us we see God renewing lives at French Camp Academy.

Recycled and Reconciled

By Karen CatesDCF 1.0

While visiting a sewing store recently, my attention was captured by beautiful quilts hanging everywhere—elaborate, colorful, strategically designed, with luxurious fabrics.  Those quilts triggered precious memories of simple quilts tediously and lovingly put together by hands that invested the truth of God’s love and Word into my life.

I envisioned my great grandmother pulling a favorite dress, worn out and raveling, from the chiffarobe, laying it across her table, and precisely cutting it into strips.  She would be thinking of how her dress would soon provide warmth and comfort for her five children.

Then, she took her husband’s shirt, ripped by barbed wire, carefully removed the buttons, cut it into squares. Laying her hand on the shirt she could feel his strength and her heart resonated with his work for his family. Stacking the strips and squares neatly in a box, she would slide them under her bed where they would wait for more pieces to complete her project.

She gathered all the remaining pieces and stuffed them into a pillowcase hanging on a nail. It was filling up with old dish towels, socks, and flour sacks to use as batting and backing for the quilt. Nothing was thrown away. There was a new use for everything.

The children’s clothes were mended, passed down, and eventually cut into shapes for a quilt. When she finally had enough to cover the big feather bed, she would sit by the fire at night and stitch each piece together using a needle and thread.

As she sat piecing the quilt top together, she would quietly pray.  Every piece elicited a prayer for those who had worn them. She prayed for them to know and serve their creator and provider and she thanked God for His provision and protection. She took comfort in knowing that as she would gently tuck them in at night under this quilt, they would rest under a covering of prayers and under the Father’s wings.

Those were days of utility and purpose, a recycling of everything—a time of new creations.  When we read how God created the heavens and the earth, we see order and attention to detail. We see His love and provision. Through Christ, we see His sacrifice that mends our brokenness. He makes all things new—new purpose—new life!

We come to Him broken, scarred and worthless in our sin. Yet, He carefully and gently removes the pain and the hurt and remakes us into new creatures for His glory. He fills us with His Spirit to make us his own unique design. He makes us a new creation to encourage and comfort others.

When Christ recreates us according to His likeness, He puts us in a group to serve. Each life brings a new story, a new experience, each changed and stitched together as part of His body. Our differences fade for the common unity of purpose—recycled and reconciled—for His Glory!

Beginning Mid-Life (Hand in Hand: Parenting the Second Time Around)

French Camp Academy is a wonderful place to grow!

Beginning Mid-Life

by Susan Donald

So who begins parenting again when they are middle aged?  Apparently more people than you may realize.  In this country there are 5.8 million children being raised by grandparents.  That’s more than double the entire population of Mississippi.  And nearly 3 million more are being raised by other family members besides grandparents or their biological parents.  Each one of these families has a back story, one that probably contains a lot of heartache and maybe some hope as well.  Continue reading

The Visit (Hand in Hand: Parenting the Second Time Around)

blue 5The Visit
by Sylvia Dickson

Today I happened to run into some visitors. I had seen this couple walking on campus earlier in the day, and when I went to lunch they were coming into the dining hall.

My husband and I welcomed them and guided them to the lunch line. It turned out that they were one of our student’s grandparents. They had flown from Pennsylvania to surprise him and see him play in one of his junior high football games.

When the young man walked into our dining room and saw them, his face lit up with such joyful astonishment that I thought he might drop his tray. He quickly put his tray down and grabbed his grandmother in a tight bear hug. He then buried his face in his grandfather’s shoulder, holding back tears (his classmates were all around) and hugged him even tighter.

You didn’t tell me you were coming! He exclaimed. Continue reading