At breakfast, I could hear my boys talking to other boys from other cabins about these toenail suckin' frogs and warning them that they needed to keep their shoes on. Doubt started to spread, these boys weren't sure that I hadn't made up this story. As we were walking to the morning chapel, I got all kinds of questions and doubt. I reassured them that these creatures existed and that I was just warning them because I didn't want any of them to have to explain to their mother how they were missing a toenail. Some of the boys talked to other counselors who told them there was no such thing. When my boys would tell me what other counselors said, I just simply responded, "They must be a new counselor. In fact, I don't think I've seen that counselor at this camp before." I just left it at that. No more explanation.
That second evening, we had a terrific evening chapel. The camp evangelist knew how to speak to kids about God in ways that kids could understand. I could see God's Holy Spirit working and kids were coming to know Jesus better.
On the way back, in the dark, my boys talked about how they kept their shoes on all day and that no toenail suckin' frogs got to any of them. We were walking past a small pond in the pitch black nite and I scooped up a handful of pebbles and threw them high in the air over the pond. These pebbles made wonderful bubbling, plopping sounds as they hit the water. I said, "stop! Did you guys hear that?" One of the boys said, "yes, I heard that. What was it?" I responded, "I think it's toenail suckin' frogs!" As soon as those words were out of my mouth, all the boys took off running for the cabin. I came a few minutes behind them and told them, "I'm lucky I had my shoes on. There were a couple of those frogs that tried to latch on to my foot. When they tasted the shoe, they just left me alone!"
Very few things in the world are better than having a cabin full of boys who just left chapel after encountering God's Holy Spirit who were tired of running from frogs and finally feeling safe in their beds. As we lay there in the dark the second nite, there were few questions and doubts about toenail suckin' frogs. However, there were questions about what it means to have Jesus change your life, how with Jesus you don't need to be afraid, how much Jesus loves them and how He wants to get to know each of them. It was a wonderful evening. I prayed with each boy, stressing how much Jesus loved him and how there was no need to be afraid of toe nail suckin' frogs or anything else for that matter because God is strong and protects us.
By the end of the week, two things occurred with the 8 boys in my cabin:
1. We had talks long into the nite about God, church, nature, girls, frogs, etc. I heard each of them share, in the darkness of that cabin, with me and their new friends, their fears, their accomplishments, their goals, the struggles that their families were going thru and all the fun that they were having at camp.
2. None of them had become injured by walking around barefoot. In fact, I'm pretty sure that most of them slept with their shoes on most every nite. My cabin was the only boy cabin that didn't have someone step on something that hurt him.
I'll bet the moms of those boys had them wash their feet several times the first nite they were home as I just imagine that they were stinky. I wouldn't know because they always had their shoes on every time I saw them.
The next week, when I was back home and my one son that was in that cabin with us was recalling the fun times. It's a memory I will always cherish. Boys and woods and cabins and frogs and Jesus. What a wonderful combination.