Skip to main content

I have just returned from yet another MANCAMP at Pinehaven Christian Assembly in the big piney woods near Park Rapids, Minnesota. 


It’s an event I look forward to attending every year because a bunch of manly men get together and fish and shoot and motorcycle and golf and hike and praise the LORD King Jesus. We are also very well fed and cared for by a staff who makes it abundantly clear that they actually like each and every one of us. This was (I think) my fifth year attending MANCAMP and I have never once encountered a member of the staff who was the least bit surly or evenly mildly annoyed by any of us, which is astounding as I can very easily be mildly annoying… or worse.


Anyway, the part about MANCAMP that’s got me thinking this year is the message Pastor Brett Miller gave on Saturday night. He spoke about Wall Drug and (as I am sure many of you are aware) how they came to put up all those signs all over the world. The story is longer and more interesting than I have the space for here, (here’s a link for more details: but the upshot is that when Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the drug store in Wall, South Dakota, in 1931 the town had a population of 326 very poor people. Ted’s father-in-law told him, “You know, Wall is just about as Godforsaken as you can get.”


Ted and Dorothy decided to try their best for five years and, if it didn’t work out, they’d move on. One hot summer day in 1936 as they approached the five-year mark, Dorothy laid down for a nap but couldn’t sleep because of all the traffic noise outside the store. She got to thinking and decided what those travelers really needed was a nice, cold glass of ice water. So, she told Ted about her idea to give away free ice water and she wrote up some ideas for signs.


Well, Ted and a high school boy made up some signs with Dorothy’s rhymes on them and put them up along the road leading into Wall. By the time they returned, the store was packed with people enjoying free ice water to the point that Dorothy couldn’t keep up.


Today, Wall Drug will have 20,000 people visit the store per day during the summer tourist season.


Now, you may think I’m writing all this to advocate that we Christians should take a lesson from Ted and Dorothy and start giving out free ice water in our churches. 


That is not my point.


My point is that giving out ice water (and all forms of truly loving hospitality) is a Christian concept that came along a long, long time before Ted and Dorothy (who were very devout Catholics) ever decided to give a cold cup of water to a dry and weary traveler in the heat of a Badlands summer day.


It’s easy as a Christian to remember that we are called to love others, but it’s a whole different thing indeed to actually like loving the people we meet on a day-to-day basis.   I’ve been guilty of begrudging love of others –and I don’t think I’m the only one.


The folks at MANCAMP do the loving thing very well. The prime rib on Saturday night included that extra-nice touch of grilled corn on the cob. Ice cream later that night included not just sprinkles but strawberries and hot fudge and caramel and peanuts and chocolate chips and hunks of candy bars. The staff absolutely always did “a little extra” that showed how they really felt –and always, always with a genuine smile.


They made it easy to feel loved and appreciated.


I hope you get that feeling listening to Kinship Radio. I hope you can tell you are loved and appreciated and we enjoy doing something “extra” to make sure you know that the love of a God who would climb any mountain, kick down any wall, light up every shadow, and die on a cross for you lives in us.


And I hope every church and every ministry you’re involved in is like that, too.


Because that will change the world.



Today’s Praise

Mark 9:41

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.



Photo by author: “Sunrise over MANCAMP.”

Join the discussion One Comment

Leave a Reply