In the midst of a long winter, many are likely
anticipating the coming of spring and even summer, so it’s
a good time to present the powerful benefits of attending
a summer Conquest camp.
Following is a story written
by parishioners and adoptive parents in a town in Texas
about the effect of such a camp on three young
brothers. Camp Texas is run by Texas Conquest, including priests
and brothers from the Legion of Christ. (The names of
the family and these adopted children have been changed because
of the sensitive nature of the situation in which the
boys lived prior to their adoption.)
Ronnie was the oldest of
his brothers, ages 5, 3 and 1. To understand the
profound influence Camp Texas had in their lives, it is
important to include a little of the boys’ background.
in a trailer with their grandparents, parents and a few
other family members. Ronnie remembers how he and his brothers
slept on the fold-down kitchen table, while the adults sat
around them smoking, drinking, fighting and receiving visits from local
Because he was the oldest, Ronnie was burdened with
the responsibility of taking care of his younger brothers. Their
staple food was Ramen noodles, which Ronnie prepared in the
microwave for the three of them. They shared one bowl
and ate with their hands. The malnourished boys were left
unattended many times and even locked in the camper shell
of the family’s pickup truck.
When the boys’ birth parents
were finally arrested, he and his brothers were removed from
the situation, taken to Child Protective Services and placed in
When Ronnie started kindergarten, he did not know
his ABC´s, colors, or how to count. After 6 weeks,
he was on the verge of being kicked out for
discipline problems. The foster home in which they were placed
claimed they were “too much for them” to handle.
a family meeting with the boy´s relatives, CPS had no
choice but to separate the boys and place them in
individual foster homes. At this point, my sister found out
about the boys and called us to pray that a
home would be found for all three. Since our two
older children were now living on their own, and we
had two empty bedrooms, my husband and I said we
would take them in until future arrangements could be made.
On November 13, 2005, CPS dropped the boys off at
our home. After almost a year, their parents were unable
to meet CPS requirements and the boys were eligible for
adoption. Needless to say, we were honored and blessed to
be able to adopt them (thanks to a little Divine
intervention.) They have been a blessing in our lives, but
not without many struggles and life lessons.
Having been the
caretaker and protector of his younger siblings, Ronnie faced the
challenge of learning how to be a child. He also
faced many hurdles with learning, until we discovered he was
unable to hear well and needed hearing aids.
also dealing with memories of his past, the challenges that
go along with preteen years, and he was facing many
struggles with his spiritual life. He had many anger and
control issues. He had to find out who he was
and where he fit into this world.
Then Camp Texas
came to our area! It was the turning point in
It didn´t happen on the first, second or
even third retreat. But the Legionaries, brothers and college counselors
had their influence. Each time he came home from a
retreat, a little something had changed about him. Sometimes that
caused greater struggles because of the good and not-so-good choices
he had been making in his life. Then, during one
of the camps based on the theme from the movie
Man of Steel, his spirit and his life changed forever.
From the time we dropped him off to the time
we picked him up again, a total transformation of this
child took place.
The Holy Spirit, using the priests, counselors
and dads at the camp, and all the other Camp
Texas retreats leading up to this point, changed Ronnie’s life.
We can truly, without a doubt, testify that if it
had not been for Camp Texas, Ronnie would not be
the person he is today. Parents can do what they
can at home. We pray together, worship together and work
hard to be a family together. But only God can
change the Soul. Without Camp Texas, Ronnie would not have
been so exposed to the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit
in the way necessary to change his life and mold
his soul as it needed to be.
And Ronnie was not
the only one helped by Camp Texas. His brother, Mark,
experienced all of what Ronnie experienced, but Mark was also
physically abused. He was the one on whom his birth
father used to take out his anger. Mark has a
small scar on his upper lip where his father once
punched him in the face. He also carries emotional scars,
and is a very quiet and sensitive.
Camp Texas has
helped him to deal with the struggles of everyday life,
and know that God is with him and will never
abandon him during his times of distress or fear. Mark
also learned that other people have challenges to overcome, just
like he has, and that through prayer and Eucharistic adoration,
he can gain strength to overcome his burdens.
expressed the desire to become a priest, and we believe
the Holy Spirit is working in his life to help
him discern this question.
It’s not surprising that the third
brother, Aaron, who has not yet had the opportunity to
attend Camp Texas, absolutely cannot wait until it´s his turn
Without a doubt, we can see the handiwork of
God in the lives of these boys, and Camp Texas
has been a major part of their spiritual growth and
healing. We thank God for this blessing and what it
has done for our family. We will continue to support
Camp Texas, and all involved, through any means we can.
If Camp Texas can change the life of another child
as it has for our boys, that would be wonderful,
because the awesome power of the Holy Spirit can change