- Written by David Garrett
I came to faith in Christ at camp when I was 18 years old—so I was thrilled when, in 1991, I was given the opportunity to lead the Jews for Jesus Camp Gilgal program.
The purpose of Camp Gilgal is to raise up new generations of Jewish believers in Messiah. Most of our campers are children of Jewish believers in Jesus. This camp provides an opportunity for them to come together and be affirmed that it’s perfectly normal to believe in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, and it enables them to be around other young people who are just like them.
Frankly, I didn’t really know what I was doing when I began Camp Gilgal, but I knew that whatever it was going to be, it was going to be full of passion. I’ve never wanted my life or ministry to be ordinary or boring. Camp Gilgal was going to be a place where people wanted to be.
We started with junior campers and when they got older, they wrote and signed a petition for us to begin a teen camp. After they realized they were going to be too old for teen camp, they gave us another petition to start a senior high camp. What began as two small summer camp sessions has expanded to nine sessions in three states ministering to over 200 Jewish children and youth annually.
In 1999 we added WWW (Wonderful Winter Weekends) to our camp program. It’s like summer camp without the mosquitoes! Actually, it provides our campers the opportunity to get together between summer camps and it also enables prospective campers to “test drive” Camp Gilgal. A tremendous sense of community has developed among the campers, staff and parents over the years.
In June 19, 2005 our family attended the wedding of two “graduates” of the Camp Gilgal ministry—Aaron Trank and Rachelle Remigio in San Diego. Aaron and Rachelle grew up spiritually as they attended Camp Gilgal. They went on to fill important leadership roles as members of our Camp Gilgal staff. They scheduled their wedding so many of us in their Camp Gilgal family could attend.
P.S. Aaron and Rachelle are expecting their first child in July, 2007—our first Camp Gilgal baby!
Whereas we’ve highlighted Dave Garrett and Liz Goldstein as leaders of Camp Gilgal West and East, Melissa Moskowitz will return to the Midwest this summer to lead Camp Gilgal Midwest, along with Heather Blecher, one of our newer missionaries who is particularly involved with youth ministry. Ruth Snyder has been pioneering Camp Gilgal in Germany. Many, many others (too many to mention) have made major contributions to this aspect of our ministry.