What do you think of when you hear the words Forest Home? You may think of getting away to the mountains with family, attending youth camp as a child, and an experience or a decision which changed the course of your life.

For Charlie, a young man in foster care, Forest Home meant forgiveness and a fresh start.

Charlie was in a transitional housing program when he heard about the chance to attend camp, an opportunity made possible by the generosity of donors. He was not looking for God at the time but he wanted to experience camp so he worked hard to earn one of the few spots offered to the young men in his group home. During his week at Forest Home, Charlie was asked by camp staff to write a secret prayer on a piece of paper and throw it in the fire when he was ready to receive forgiveness. Here is what Charlie was thinking during the activity.

I asked God for forgiveness which made me tear up and remember how far I’d come. I couldn’t let the paper go. I thought, ‘Am I really going to be forgiven?’ It took me 30 minutes to throw it into the fire, shedding tears, and I felt free.

Charlie learned to forgive his family, quit smoking and was the first in his family to receive a high school diploma. In terms of his future, Charlie sees himself walking with the Lord and helping his family become strong with Jesus.

Jesus is the only way I can do this; Jesus put ME in the group home; Jesus gave me the chance to go to camp. It is an eternal impact. Without him, I don’t know where I’d be…in jail, homeless, dead. Camp helped me get connected to God. Jesus is my Savior!

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