A Camp Calcutta Reflection

By Kelly Crawford, Argyle High School Senior

Camp Calcutta was an interesting, yet awesome experience. It’s always a pleasure hanging out with the youth group but this weekend mission was something that really reunited us all. For those of you that don’t know, Camp Calcutta was a surprise mission trip, meaning none of the kids participating had any idea what they were getting themselves into coming into the weekend, most thought we would be traveling somewhere and doing labor. Once we arrived to the church, we were all told that we were going to be homeless for the weekend, meaning we ate 3 meals that consisted of a scoop of cold, white rice and a piece of stale bread, were given 2 cardboard boxes & 3 trash bags to sleep on, and a grocery sack that we could fill with whatever we thought we needed for the weekend, excluding a toothbrush, pillow and sleeping bag. At first, almost everyone was taking it lightly that we were literally going to be sleeping outside that night, with it being 50 degrees and moist with most people having little to nothing covering them to keep them warm. However, we had the opportunity of luxury auctions. When we arrived, we were all given 14 tickets but each meal was 2 tickets so if you wanted to eat, there went 6 of your tickets. At the luxury auctions, Bart would auction off things like bug spray, a tent, a burger from Sonic, and the option of getting something that you brought like your sleeping bag or a blanket. If you wanted one of those things, you had to be willing to either give away a lot of your tickets or team up with someone and split the amount of tickets. Luckily, a friend and I teamed up and were able to get a sleeping bag to use for the night, which was what kept me from freezing my butt off. By the time we had to sleep, and Bart waking us up 2 times and relocating us, it finally set in that the homeless deal with this daily. I was very humbled after that night.

During the night, we would all gather around and have sessions where we were given facts about poverty, hunger and homelessness. Some of the facts were heartbreaking and made you sit back and realize how truly blessed we are, not just to live in Argyle but to live in America. Some startling facts that I heard while at Camp Calcutta were someone in the world dies every 3.6 seconds from hunger, 40% of all food produced in America ends up uneaten in landfills and 1 in every 6 Americans struggle with hunger. I don’t know about you but these facts break my heart and changes my perspective on things a lot. After the sessions we went to a time of devotion and a quiet time where we got to spend some quality one on one time with The Lord. During our devos we talked about the question of “Why do we serve?” and we discovered we don’t do it to make ourselves feel better or because it’s the cool thing to do, we do it because of Jesus. Jesus lived his whole life serving, eating meals with people he probably shouldn’t have, and washing disciple’s feet. When we become more aware of the love of Jesus, we should want nothing more than to spread that love and be imitators of Him. One verse that I really feel like I wrote on my heart this weekend was Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are the hands and feet of Jesus and we are called to seek His kingdom first. Some may view the homeless as lesser of a human but that’s not the way to view them; we need to view them the way Jesus views them, LOVED and CARED for. 

The last hour or so of Camp Calcutta we gathered in the church and made blessing bags to give to someone we felt was in need of one. The blessing bags consisted of wipes, granola bars, toothpaste, soup cans, etc. I pray that Jesus will lead me to the right person with that bag and it can bless them in immeasurable ways. I hope and pray that we learn to serve one another just like Jesus did and to spread the love of Jesus while doing so. He is worthy of our praise and we are called to be imitators of Him.