#MySummerStory

Tim BertramArtist, Preacher, Substitute Teacher. Tim uses his talents as an artist to encourage and challenge listeners to follow an incredible God to anywhere He will take them. Tim has an art ministry called “God’s Graffiti” where he travels everywhere proclaiming Jesus through word and art and encouraging the Body to use their gift. He has worked in student ministry for over 20 years, pastors camps, speaks at schools and in his free time substitute teaches. Tim and his wife Sherry, just became empty nesters! Their two children, Victoria and Tanner attend Murray State University. Victoria has served as a CentriKid staffer and will serve with MFuge this coming summer. The Bertram’s are a FUGE family. They live and serve in Paducah, Kentucky. You can find out more about Tim and God’s Graffiti Ministry at www.godsgraffiti.org

 

I remember the first year I stopped taking students to Centrifuge and started taking them to MFuge. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Centrifuge, but I was looking for something that would push my students to the next level in their spiritual growth and MFuge was just the place! Many of the students shared their displeasure with me changing their camp experience. Several thought that I had lost my mind!
Summer came. We arrived on campus at Belmont University and camp began. The students were excited, but a few were still unsure of the change in venue. After the first full day of being on site, three of my freshmen boys found me and said, “We need to talk to you”. My heart sank and my thoughts immediately ran to something going terribly wrong. I just knew they were going to tell me that we should have never changed camps.
We sat down together in the dorm room and they began to share with me about their day. All three boys were in the same track. They went to a Metro Nashville Parks facility where they were playing basketball with the children who hang out at the center. While playing basketball, they noticed a young boy named Cheico. Cheico was around nine years old and wore glasses. They told me that the lenses from his glasses kept falling out of the frames when he played. The glasses were taped together and fragile. Because the lenses kept falling out, Cheico had to quit playing basketball for the day because that was his only pair and his mother could not afford to buy him a new pair. This broke my student’s hearts. They thought no one should have to quit playing basketball because of broken glasses. What they shared with me next brought me to tears. “Bro. Tim, we want to buy him a new pair!” I have to admit, I have never been more proud of my students than at that time.
We managed to get the prescription from Cheico’s mother by working with our MFuge staff and a Metro Parks Coordinator. When we returned home from camp, the boys brought me money they had collected…what a humbling experience! With their money and the help from a church member (who was more than happy to help after he heard the story), we hooked Cheico up with a brand new pair of really cool “X-Games” glasses. We packed them. Prayed over them. Then mailed them out.
That day these students saw a need. Their hearts were moved with compassion and, they acted to meet the need. James chapter 2 in action!
I will never forget that story. It is one of my favorite camp stories to date. I have been involved in student ministry for many years. I have often wondered, “do they get it?” That summer, I got to witness first hand God working through three teenage boys to meet the need of a young boy. They definitely got it! [Read more…]

Why FUGE? A Staffer’s Perspective…

</pMeagan has worked as a FUGE staffer for five summers, three summers as a track leader and two as a MFUGE site director. Currently, Meagan lives in Nashville where she works as a nanny and is also enrolled as a full time student to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Missions. Meagan loves road trips, good books, and big cups of coffee. 

It’s not every day that people ask me why I work FUGE camps. As I prepare for my sixth summer of camp, however, the question keeps popping up in conversation. The first summer I worked camp, I was in college and my desire to spend the summer serving students did not surprise people. The second summer I worked camp, people understood that decision, but they figured this would be my last summer. The third summer I worked camp, people became more puzzled, but since I was in a transitional season of life, they figured this summer would be my last “hoorah” after graduating from college. The fourth summer I worked camp, people were confused and instead of asking “why?” asked “do you not have a real job?” The fifth summer I worked camp, people were shocked I was going back for yet another summer and some people concerned for my future, looked at me and asked, “So, why do you keep going back? Why do you choose to work FUGE again and again?”

For five years I’ve traded summers of sitting by the pool, going on family trips to the beach, shooting fireworks with my friendson the 4th of July, mornings of sleeping in, and weekend road trips, to work camp where summers are full of cafeteria food (“Asian Delight” day, I’m still not over you), little sleep, dorm living, thousands of teenagers, and a wardrobe that has already been decided for me.

Why would I do that? Why would I quit my job, leave my friends, and give up my summer to serve churches and minister to students and the community?

Because…

I’ve seen students and adults lives changed

I love experiencing a staff of strangers becoming closer than family

I love serving the community through new ministries each summer

I love screaming about a relay race until my voice is gone

I love free t-shirts

I love worshiping with hundreds of people every night of the summer

I love how clearly I can hear the Lord’s voice when I’m at camp

There is nothing like dancing like a fool at 8AM

You get to meet and connect with more students and adults than in any other context

12AM after MEGA relay is when Waffle House tastes the best

Exhaustion has never felt more rewarding

I think camp gives us a clearer picture of the Kingdom

I love the community and friendship of a camp staff

The best naps I’ve ever taken are after closing celebration on the last day of camp

Camp is a small picture of what an abundant life in Christ should look like

It’s challenging, but the rewards way outweigh the hard days

I love helping equip people to do ministry

There is nothing better than being part of students and adults going from death to life in Christ

I could probably go on and on forever with reasons why I love and choose to work FUGE camps. The biggest reason I work FUGE, though, is because I believe in the life change that happens at camp. I have seen campers and adults come to know Jesus for the first time. I have seen and been a part of life change in Sub-Saharan Africa because of the missions offering given at camp. I have experienced life change for myself. Thanks to FUGE I have been able to serve in communities from Greenville, SC, to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Glorieta, NM, to New Orleans, LA, to Asheville, NC.

I feel beyond blessed to have been part of this ministry for five plus years. Six years ago when I applied to work FUGE for the first time I could have never imagined how different my life would look now because of the impact of this ministry and the work God has done in my life though camp. His grace is overwhelming and his joy is truly a gift.

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

// www.fuge.com // #mysummerstory // @fugecamps //