Gather around the Campfire

Judy grew up in a large family. Her parents had 7 daughters, adopted 2 sons, and provided a home for 53 foster children over the years, 5 of whom stayed with them until high school graduation. Judy remembers that they all had chores to do and claims she was an amazing dishwasher, partly due to lots of practice since the counters were often full of dirty dishes. She mostly wore hand-me-downs that were often the wrong size or worn out or both. She often felt awkward in group settings, but she also says life was good in that large Christian family where love abounded.

When she was 9 years old, Judy, who by then was a tomboy nicknamed “Bugs” because of her fascination with insects, went to missions camp for the first time. She considered it a great privilege to be there and a life-changing experience. Some of the camp highlights for Judy were singing silly camp songs, learning new ways to pray, developing friendships (some that have lasted a lifetime), growing spiritually, and being enthralled with the missionaries who shared their stories. As a result, Judy developed a love for missions that she now instills in others.

As an adult, Judy has gone on several missions trips (sometimes taking 1 of her 3 children with her). She has been a strong Acteens leader in her church for 11 years, helping the teen girls to live missionally. She also leads Girls in Action, investing in young girls’ lives. She enables others to attend statewide missions meetings by driving the church bus for any who will attend with her. She is on mission in every aspect of her walk with Jesus. And she’s still excited about camp!

This summer, Judy estimates that nearly 30 people from her church will go to missions camp at Lake Sallateeska, including Judy and 9 or 10 other adults who will serve on staff. For Judy, it is an opportunity to ensure that boys and girls across Illinois can hear missionaries speak, sing silly camp songs, learn new ways to pray, develop lasting friendships, and more. She invests in camp because she recognizes its life-changing potential, knowing young people will be exposed to things there that they cannot get anywhere else.

Jeanette Cloyd is a full-time volunteer who strives to follow Christ’s leading in Fairfield, Illinois, and wherever God-sized adventures take her. She can be contacted at


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