Greetings from Camp Wapo, Ox Lake, & Wilderness Canoe Base!

Our 2022 theme TAKE HOLD is based on John 16:33. It is a powerful theme for these days and so affirming of God’s promises for us. The Bible study curriculum that our campers will experience has been created by three wonderfully gifted writers, theologians, and lovers of outdoor ministry.  We are so grateful to Kristen Capel, Sarah Clark, and Marc Olson for sharing their talents and gifts with us and for the thousands of kids and families who will come to camp this summer to experience TAKE HOLD.  We hope you enjoy this devotional trio based on our 2022 summer theme.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take hold! I have conquered the world. (John 16:33)

Bible Reading: John 14:26-27

Today’s bible story isn’t really a story. It’s two quick verses from an epically long series of passages in the Gospel of John in which Jesus is preparing his disciples to face the truth that he won’t be with them much longer. Jesus knows that the next day will see the small group he’s led and cared for scattered back into God knows where. He wants to leave them his peace as a gift, and he’s trying to say a few true and comforting and encouraging and guiding final words that will help them endure and thrive in the days ahead, because the world is about to give them a lot of trouble.

Jesus, however, doesn’t give as the world gives. He gives us his peace. And taking hold of Jesus’s peace will involve changing our relationship with fear.

The phrase “don’t be afraid,” or some version of it, is the most common command in the Bible. It’s what angels say when they show up so shockingly in front of star-struck human beings. It’s also what Jesus says today: “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” As a guiding rule for life, it’s a pretty good one, but it’s daunting. What would you do and how would you live if fear of loss or pain or loneliness or looking ridiculous to others wasn’t a factor in your life? How can you try unhooking your heart from all the trouble it knows and live free from fear today? How can you help your kids imagine living and loving fearlessly?

Jesus promises the company of the Holy Spirit in this effort. He promises the full presence and power of God, whose hands spun the cosmos up out of nothing but love and patient hope, who showed up so near to us in the fragile human body of the baby in the manger, and who is as close to us as breathing.

May that Holy and free spirit be with and among you and yours today, friends. May She remind you of everything Jesus revealed, and confirm your faith in his promise of forgiveness and abundant life.


  • What does Jesus’ peace feel like to you? Where do you find it?
  • What does fear keep you from trying or doing?
  • Who helps you see possibilities in your life?
  • How does peace spread?
  • What aspects of Jesus’ vision for the world attract you? Which seem harder to accept or imagine?


Dear God,
Lead us from death to life,
From falsehood to truth;
Lead us from despair to hope,
From fear to trust;
Lead us from hate to love,
From war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts,
Let peace fill our world, 
Let peace fill our universe.


Grounded in grace, may you care for this world.
Rooted in love, may your heart get bigger and braver.
Growing in faith, may you trust God’s promises.
And blessed by all these gifts may you feed the hungry, bind up the brokenhearted, and bring joy to everyone you meet.