Hi. I never thought I’d be the star of a book. It’s kinda cool now, but it sure wasn’t any fun when all that stuff was happening. It was bad enough my dad left and never really made an effort to see me. But when Mom told me she didn’t want me living with her anymore, it was like having your school’s top linebacker hit you in the gut at full speed. I mean, moms and dads are supposed to care about their kids, right? Sometimes it’s not what your parents say but what they do, the way they act that makes you think they don’t care. Like when they have time for work and the things they like to do but never want to spend time with you. Stinks, doesn’t it? You kinda get to thinking that God must not care, either, or He’d do something about this mess you’re in.
That’s what I thought, but it’s so not true. God does care. You’ll have to read Hear No Evil to find out all about how I figured that out. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Or maybe you can go over and talk to Zeke. He says it a lot better than I can, and the drawings he makes whiles he’s preaching are really cool.
Hey, I wish I could stay and talk with you but I need to go practice my trumpet. Nice meeting you, and I hope you enjoy Rustic Knoll. It’s a great place.
Hey! Isn’t this a cool website? Well, actually, I wouldn’t know since I can’t see it, being blind and all. But my buddy, Brady, told me about it. He said it’s almost as cool as being right there at camp! I love Rustic Knoll. My parents brought me here for family camp until I was old enough to come on my own. Wish I could stay here all summer. That would be awesome.
Why do I like it so much? I always make new friends. Yeah, it’s scary at first when I don’t know who’s going to be in my cabin and how they’ll treat me. That scares everybody, especially if you don’t come with a friend or someone you know. But most of the guys are pretty cool. One year, there was a kid who thought it was funny to put stuff in my way and watch me trip over it. No, it wasn’t Taylor. This kid switched my clothes around in my suitcase, thinking I’d wear stuff that didn’t match. He didn’t know my mom and I have a system that lets me feel which clothes go together. There’s always some kid who tries to make trouble but there’s a whole lot of other guys who are pretty cool, and I’ve made some really good friends here at camp.
While you’re here, be sure you join us for a meal. You’ll love Janie’s cooking. She’s cool and she really cares about us kids. Even makes special treats sometimes, like the carrot cake she made for Brady’s birthday. I couldn’t believe it. A cake made out of a vegetable? No thanks. But this was just about the best cake I’ve ever had. Seriously! If you don’t believe me, go find Janie.
What are you looking at? Seriously, haven’t you’ve got anything better to do than read about an imaginary camp? That’s pretty lame. Kinda like a couple of the guys in my cabin. You’ve probably already met Brady and Steven. I don’t know why those losers get so much attention. Even the girls like ’em. Or at least Claire does.
You should see the way she buddies up with those losers. She won’t hardly even say hi to me, but what do I care? She’s kind of stuck up anyway, y’know what I mean?
I’m not supposed to say stuff like that anymore because people get all ticked off. They’ve just gotta toughen up, get a thick skin. See, I hear worse stuff than that at home all the time. Doesn’t bother me. I’m tough, not like Brady, that loser from my cabin.
Oh, wait. If Zeke sees this, I’ll be in trouble. Then I’ll have to memorize more Bible verses. Yeah, that stinks, doesn’t it?
Oops, I didn’t say that. Shhh! Don’t tell Zeke. Oh man, I’m in trouble again.
What’sup? Did you hear about the fight between Brady and Taylor? You were there?! Tell me about it! Ha! I wish I would’ve seen it. Man, I never, ever thought he’d be the one to take Taylor down. He’s such a shy, quiet kid. Guess that’s why Taylor liked to pick on him.
Guys like me don’t have to put up with stuff like that. I should probably step in and challenge guys like Taylor when I see it happening. If someone was getting beat up, I would for sure. But I guess teasing and stuff like that doesn’t leave any obvious cuts or bruises, so you think it’s not as bad. I bet it hurts just as much, though. Maybe even more.
Yeah, I need to say something when I hear that kind of bullying going on. A kid like Taylor isn’t going to bother me. If he does, I’ll pick him up and stuff him through the basketball hoop.
Hey, you shoot hoops? I was looking for some guys to play a pick-up game. Well, actually, I can’t do much with this cast still on my leg. But I can still shoot. You in? Cool. Meet me down at the court in a few minutes. I’ll go round up a few more guys. See ya!
Hi! Isn’t this a great place? You’ll love it here. Steven and Dillon and the rest of us come back every year. I just love the lake and the trees, the fun stuff we do, and the people. Not just the kids but the staff is awesome, too! Like Zeke.
I wish our pastor at home would draw pictures while he preaches the way Zeke does. It keeps your attention and makes it so much more interesting. And did you know he gives those drawings away at the end of the week? I have one from last year hanging on my bedroom wall at home. It’s a picture of an Olympic athlete with a gold medal hanging around her neck. Every time I look at it, I remember his lesson about running for the prize and how I want to stand before Jesus knowing I’ve given my absolute best for him.
Nurse Willie? Yeah, she’s a character. No one else could get away with wearing a hat like that. She loves fishing. Sometimes I think that’s the only reason she works here is so she can fish. She’s pretty no-nonsense, even intimidating at times, but once you get to know her, she’s nice.
By the way, what cabin are you in? Really? That’s right next to mine. I’m supposed to meet my friend, Hayley, down at the beach pretty soon. You want to go swimming with us? No? Well, maybe tomorrow. I need to go change. Nice meeting you. See you later!
Rev. David “Zeke” Zacharias
Welcome to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp! There are a lot of excellent camps around. I’m honored you chose to stop in here. I encourage you to look around, meet my staff and the campers, and spend some time getting to know us.
I’ve been the camp director for more years than I care to admit, but I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. Rustic Knoll is a safe place where kids can relax and play and grow. Some kids come to camp pretty bruised and battered by the things going on in their life. Divorce, verbal and physical abuse, temptation to experiment with drugs, pressure to engage in sex…
We try to discover what you’re struggling with, and help you see it from a different perspective, a Godly perspective. Not only that, but we provide you with tools you can use when you go back home so you’re better equipped to face those problems and to fight them head on.
For me, it’s an honor, a real privilege to help mold and shape a young life, like Brady’s. But you’ll have to read the book to find out that story.
Listen, while you look around some more, would you excuse me? I need to go check on one of our campers. He’s needs a bit more molding and shaping than the rest. But come back for our evening worship tonight. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Can I help you? Oh, you’re just checking out the clinic. Well, come on in.
Excuse the hat. I assure you all the decorations are sanitary. No danger of secondary infection.
It’s a small clinic but we have everything we need. If you get sick enough to need a doctor, there’s a good one in town that we can call. About once every summer, someone sprains their ankle or breaks something. But most of the time, all we see are allergies, bug bites, poison ivy.
How long have I been working here? Oh, mercy. Almost as long as Zeke, I guess. I heal the outside hurts and leave the inside hurts to him. I keep track of the health forms and make sure every camper takes their medicine. But most of the time, there’s not much to do except go fishing. In fact, I was just on my way out when you stopped in. See here? I keep my own canoe paddle and life jacket in this closet with my fishing pole and tackle box. So whenever the campers are in sessions and I’m not needed, I get out on the lake and feed the fish. No need to worry, I don’t actually use any of the lures on my hat. They’re retired.
You’re leaving? Hope I didn’t rush you out telling you I was about to go fishing.
Okay, well, thanks for stopping by. I hope you won’t need to come back anytime soon.
Don’t take that personal. Just means I hope you stay healthy. Bye!
Did Steven send you over here? I thought so. He loved that cake I made for Brady. Even made sure his mom got the recipe from me. I’m sorry I don’t have any left. Sometimes the counselors sneak in here and eat up the leftovers for a midnight snack.
Are you hungry? Good! We’ll be serving supper pretty soon. I love feeding hungry campers. Zeke feeds kids’ souls and I feed their bodies. These kids burn a lot of energy here with all the activities.
Now what was your name? I try to get to know as many of the kids as I can. The ones who come back every year are like my own children. I don’t know much about their homes, but sometimes it’s pretty clear their family life is not what it should be. Like Brady. The minute I saw him, I knew something heavy was on his mind. It breaks my heart to see that. Every one of these teenagers are precious. I just wish they could all see God’s love modeled in their homes. But that’s why we’re here, to model Jesus’ love for them. And just like Jesus fed the 5,000, I feed the 300.
But here I am talking away and you’re looking for something to eat. Why don’t you head down the hill to the campfire pit? That’s where we’re serving supper tonight. You like hot dogs and watermelon? What about brownies? Steven was after me for some more brownies. I’ll have to see if there’s any left over from the other night, if the counselors haven’t gotten those, too.
You’d better hurry! They’re loading up the food now to get it down there. I’ll see you there!