By Cheryl (Devoe) Strohl
As I walked onto the grounds of Delanco Camp for the first time as a timid fifth grader, I never would have imagined that many years later God would use this as the place to introduce me to my husband; though not in the same way many camp romances have begun.
I grew to love my summers out at Delanco and I formed many camp friendships. Each year we would return to camp from our various home churches and it would be like we had never left.
Nick, however, only attended camp twice. He did not share my immediate love of Delanco, and decided not to return; although many of his friends continued to attend camp each year. So how is it that we met at Delanco?
It was the summer of 1994. I was a camper and Nick came out to camp for the evening service. He was best friends with Ed Rhubart, one of my camp friends. After the service we were out at the basketball court and Ed introduced us. At the time, Nick was hiding behind his long blonde hair and I think all he said to me that night was, “hi.” I had no idea that one word would be the beginning of the rest of my life.
Ed and Nick only lived one town over from me, and my best friend and I began hanging out with them outside of camp over the next few years. As Nick and I got to know each other, we formed our own friendship, and as time passed we realized our feelings for each other were beginning to grow.
By this time it was 1996. I was still in high school, but Nick had graduated and joined the Army Reserves. He left for boot camp in February. We shared letters during his months of basic training and looked forward to continuing our relationship upon his return that summer.
June rolled around, and as I did every summer I attended Camp Meeting. One evening as I was in the dorm after service, someone came in and said, “Cheryl, there’s some guy outside looking for you.” Not realizing it was Nick, I took my time preparing for the night game. When I finally stepped outside the dorm, I saw Nick standing under a tree. We were reunited after his four months away, right there on the grounds of Delanco where we had first met. In that moment time stood still. During his time away our feelings for each other had grown, and it was that moment outside the dorm that we realized how much we were beginning to fall in love.
Two years later we were married and that was over 13 years ago. God has blessed us with four amazing children, Hannah 11, Caleb 9, Lily 6, and Levi just 8 weeks old. Each time we step back onto Delanco soil, we are reminded how God used that place to bring us together. Delanco will always hold a special place in our hearts.
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