My cell phone rang at dinner Monday night. I was surprised to hear Emily’s voice on the other end – she was at Experience the Valley, a church camp in central Oregon.
“Mom,” Emily said, in tears, “I have some bad news.” Then a loud, anguished sob that tore at my heart. “Two guys drowned at camp today.” My heart pounded. I could hardly understand Emily’s words. I could scarcely believe them.
But it was true. 15-year-old Caleb Justice and 26-year-old Brett McLean drowned in a pool at the base of the White River Falls last Monday, July 9. Walking behind the waterfalls to videotape the flowing water, they fell into the pool. When Brett went in to rescue Caleb, he was unable to resurface.
This has been a week of unadulterated, raw pain. We’ve grieved and prayed and drawn alongside others in the Body of Christ at Trinity Fellowship Church. Emily says, “Brett’s passion for life was contagious. He was a natural leader and always had good stories to tell. He was hilarious. He was a bold man of faith.”
To be honest, I can’t express what God’s up to. So instead, I’ll share with you these words from Caleb’s Facebook page.
“The Lord has given us all things as well as trials. Without obstacles what would we learn? How could we grow to mature? Why should we curse God for all that he does for your good? Praise God in all times, in peace and at war, and He will guide and protect you. The purpose of life is to praise God and to make Him known. Don’t think it’s all up to you to fix your life. Through God is life. Keep God in all actions, thoughts and mindsets, and you will surely be surrounded in God’s presence.”