Jennifer, Julia and I were once leaders in a summer camp called Sugar Creek Camp. Just the name sounds good, doesn’t it!
Sugar Creek Camp was held at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Conference Center near Marshall, Indiana, not far from a state park named Turkey Run State Park. Often, we would take the children to the state park for horse rides, games, water fun, and hiking.
Hiking was especially fun because Turkey Run State Park is full of deep, dark ravines (deep, narrow valleys with steep sides) and trickling streams of cold water. The Park Rangers had marked the trails well. There were easy trails and hard trails, and trails not so hard or easy.
One day it was my job to help a group of about 15 children that had special things about them that made it difficult for them to keep up with other children. Some of them couldn’t walk as well, others couldn’t see as well, and others just couldn’t figure out how to stay on a trail. So, another adult counselor, a teen helper, and I decided we would take them on a short, easy trail.
We started out happily, and everything was going well until I noticed that the trail wasn’t so easy anymore. And then, my helpers noticed that we were lost. I agreed, thinking that I wasn’t sure where we were, or how we got there, or how we were going get back. The children weren’t unhappy because they trusted us as leaders and were glad for the adventure. But it was getting more and more difficult to walk the trail.
We guessed that we should go down a ravine that had 40-foot-high cliffs on either side but seemed to have smooth walking on the bottom, hoping that we would run across a trail we recognized.
As we started down the ravine a young man and a small black dog walked by, going in the direction from which we had come. We said “hello!” And he smiled at us and said “hi” to us too.
For about 10 minutes, we kept walking down the ravine, when all of a sudden, there was that young man and his dog coming to meet us again. We were so surprised because there didn’t seem to be any way he could have done that. When we first saw him, he wasn’t walking in the same direction we were. And besides, there were those 40-foot-high cliffs!
You know what he said to us? He said, “Don’t go any further up this ravine.” “Why?” we asked. He said, “There is water running over the rocks and the children won’t be able to get across. Besides, it won’t take you to a trail that will lead you out.” I said, “How did you know we were lost?” He said with a smile, “It’s kind of obvious.”
About this time, I noticed that the children were playing with his black dog, so I asked him, “What’s your dog’s name?” He said, “Skunk.” “What?” I asked, surprised. “Yeah, he’s black like a skunk, so I named him skunk,” he explained. We all laughed.
The young man then gave us instructions. He said, “Turn around and go back the way you came, when you come back to where you first saw me, turn right, and that path will lead you to the trail out of these ravines.” We did what he said, and because we were traveling much slower, he walked on ahead and disappeared out of our sight.
When we were on the trail that we knew, we grew concerned again. We knew we were coming to a place that you had to go down two 8-foot ladders – from one rock ledge to another. We didn’t know how we were going to that, because the children we had with us normally weren’t able to do that kind of thing, especially without getting very fearful. Plus, we had too many children and not enough helpers. What were we going to do?
When we got to the edge of the rocks and looked over the edge of the ladders, who do you suppose we saw? That’s right! The man with the dog named Skunk!
That young man knew we were afraid to take the children down the ladders, but he said he would help. So, he stood at the bottom of one of the ladders and I stood at the bottom of the other, and soon we had the children all down those ladders. Not one of them became afraid, and besides as they waited their turn, they had that wonderful little dog to play with.
As we walked back to the parking lot, we began to praise the Lord Jesus.
First, because He had sent a helper to help us (we thought maybe even an angel ), and secondly, because He loved and cared for each of these children with some physical or mental difficulty that He would even send a little dog to give them happiness on their long adventure.
God loves each of us so much, surprising us with good, joy-filled moments even when we feel frightened or discouraged. Moreover, God treats each of us fairly, and He wants us to do the same. He doesn’t want us to treat others that don’t have as much as we do, or can’t give as much as we can, as any less special than the person who can do the most or give the most.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV)
 Trail #6 -This moderate 0.5-mile trail is a short hike where the turkeys once roosted on the ledges. It forms a loop, starting at the Turkey Run Inn, going around Lieber Cabin, along Turkey Run Hollow, and around Overlook Cabin and the Inn Cabins, ending at the road to the Inn.
 “Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:14 (NLT)