|Set apart for God’s purpose at Camp WorldLight
By Barbara Denman
August 29, 2013
At only 10 years old, Lorna Bius experienced what she now describes, some 30 years later, as the “most transforming and foundational experience of my life with Christ.”
The young Bius had spent a week at Camp WorldLight, Florida Baptists’ camp for Girls in Action (GA) and Acteens, missions discipleship organizations for girls. At that camp, one of Bius’ cabin counselors, “Miss Karen,” became her “first hero of the faith.”
Sitting on a dock at sunset on the camp’s last night, Miss Karen gave the girls a “pep talk about returning home and living for Jesus,” closing the time with the girls by singing, “I Am Willing Lord.”
Weeks later, at East Hill Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Bius’ GA teacher gave her a letter from Miss Karen. Clutching the letter “as if it were from a celebrity” in the Sunday evening worship service, Bius was surprised when a musical group began singing the same song Miss Karen had sung by the lake.
“I knew that was God!” she said.
“I remember feeling so stunned, realizing the Lord had orchestrated this so I would see I could trust Him no matter what happens in life.
“Though I did not fully understand it then, I know the Lord set me apart for His purpose during that time.”
Much has happened in Bius’ life since that childhood experience. She answered the call to fulltime ministry 20 years ago and served for several years with local churches. Today Bius serves throughout 13 states in the western United States as a LoveLoud missionary for the North American Mission Board (NAMB). In this role since the summer of 2012, she works alongside churches and other SBC partners, helping them to “demonstrate God’s love by meeting significant human need while sharing Christ.”
“It is a humbling joy to travel across the west and extend the love and support of every Southern Baptist to churches and leaders who are working to share Christ in difficult places,” said Bius.
According to Cindy Goodwin, team strategist for Florida Baptists’ Women’s Missions and Ministries/Missions Education, Lorna is a “true model of a Christ follower. She is genuinely interested in everyone she meets, always alert for God’s nudging to share.
“She has a passion for reaching people who need to know the Lord. It is not a ‘job’ or ‘career’ for Lorna—it is a personal passion.”
Camp WorldLight “allowed Lorna, like so many others, to realize how much God loved her and how He uses people to share His love,” Goodwin continued. Overall, 70 percent of current Southern Baptist career missionaries responded to the call of missions while attending a GA or Royal Ambassadors (RA) camp.
Over the past seven years more than 350 girls and young women have answered a personal call to missions through Florida Baptists’ camp experience, including 48 who made the decision last year alone, according to Anne Wilson, Camp WorldLight director. Even for those who are not called to full-time Christian service, the camp provides a foundational “understanding and appreciation of missions,” she said.
For more than 60 years, Camp WorldLight has existed as a camp designed “to teach our children missions in order to show them there are more than 1.7 billion people in the world who are waiting to know about God,” she explained.
Six weekly camp sessions are offered each summer at Lake Yale and other locations in the state, reaching more than 1,000 campers annually.
Florida Baptists’ Maguire State Mission Offering provides $40,000 in financial resources for the camp that prepares the next generation of missionaries and mission-minded church leaders.
“The Maguire State Mission Offering provides opportunities for girls and young women all over Florida to spend a week focused on God’s love for them and the world. This time away from their ‘normal’ lives to experience camp provides opportunities for them to hear from God and choose to follow Him with their lives, answer His call to missions or to a life of ministry,” said Wilson.
The offering resources are used to house, feed and pay the staff and also pay for the week of training that is required as an accredited camp in the American Camp Association, she explained.
This past April, so many years since her week as a young camper at Camp WorldLight, Bius returned for the first time to the place that had been so meaningful in helping her discern her call to fulltime ministry. This time, she had been asked to speak and share about her Christian journey and calling.
“I have no doubt that the Lord brought me back to this special place to remind me once again of His perfect control in the midst of life’s trials,” said Bius.
Three days after she spoke at the camp, her mother passed away in south Georgia.
“I have been so encouraged by the kind support of so many Florida Baptists,” she said.