The Big Batcave Campout 2010!  Click on a picture to get a larger view.  More pictures can be found at the end of the report! 

Found Souls coming out of the depths of the BIG BAT CAVE CAMPOUT! 

Jan 15th, 16th, 2010  The BIG Bat Cave Campout about 45 minutes from Springfield, Missouri. 

 2 months out requests were coming in to reserve spots in the Big Bat Cave.  As always it's give and take on the numbers attending.  Yet there is only so much room so thanks everyone for working together to maximize the event.  It is very much appreciated as we all work together in Jesus name. 

The Day of the event worked out great.  School was out for Springfield Schools so that allowed some of our local boys to go down early to help clear the path and bring in firewood.  Special thanks to Ozark  AOG for going earlier in the day and cutting up some downed trees for firewood.  They were just about finished cutting wood when we arrived on the scene.  Praise God James had hauled in the splitting maul and the big maul and it wasn't long before the boys were doing the he' man thing and splitting wood.  It kept us busy for about a hour or so and then we hauled it up to the face of the cave.  Trilakes AOG showed up and got in on the log splitting and hauling work.  Thanks much to all of you.

 It was quiet in the cave.  Ice was melting. Ice Stalagmites were growing up from the floor from all the dripping. It was the wettest I have ever seen this cave.  Water was dripping constantly in the main part of the cave.  In the back upper rooms they were dry with a fresh pile of bat guano deposited in various places.  Most of the boys would say..what is this soft stuff... Bat GUANO as I would grin back at them.  It's the stuff they make your moms eye liner out of.  Bigger GRIN!


Soon 5:30 rolled around and folk started showing up.  Central had the largest group with 19 showing up in 5 private vehicles.  Thank you guys for driving your vehicles.  Day Spring, West plains and Morrisville all came in through early evening.   One dad came in from Kansas City to camp with his boys in the cave. 

 The hike along the river during the dark is a bit tricky.  There are some muddy spots, water trickles, thorns, down trees, barb wire fences to cross.  Stuff that makes things interesting. Even a skeleton of a ole HUGE soft shell snapping turtle was dangling in a tree the head the size of a hardball baseball.  I think I made 4 trips in and out on this 1/4 mile trail.  Many others did the same.     

Friday nights council fire began at 9:30 pm around the campfire with cave rules and some neat facts about the earth and caves.  Then 53 candles were given out and one was lit from the council fire and the leaders and dads lit their candle then in turn the boys candles were lit.  We then formed a single file line and slowly walked to the back of the cave by candle light only.. no talking.  BE REVERENT!  At the deep dark back of that cave we all sat down or squatted in a 20 by 60' area and  talked about separation and what hell really is like. 

 Everyone was dismissed until the morning for the morning devotion where the council fire message would be concluded and the real treasure would be revealed.   

All night long was spent cooking, eating, talking, exploring, crawling, stoking the fire until about midnight.  I entered my "new" now muddy and wet 1 person backpacking tent about 50 feet back into the cave.. it was dry inside and it was warm and it was good enough for me.  The smoke from the campfire made my eyes water a bit as I listened to people talk and share around the camp fire. 

 Around 5:30 am I awoke to Chris  from Trilakes belly laughing loudly while him and a few early risers were having a grand time enjoying the fellowship around the fire.  It wasn't long before folk started showing up at the face of the cave and fixing breakfast and enjoyed warmth and friendship around the fire. 

 At 8:30 am.  we meet for the morning devotion.  They golden treasure chests had all been found 8 of them. Most of them remained hidden in the cave but soon they were discovered as they seemed to change locations from time to time.  In some of these golden treasure chests were parts of a treasure map that we pieced together to show where the real treasure is found.  "in our heart when we invite Jesus into our heart".  The other 3 chests had scripture scrolls that contained the rest of the morning devotion.  Boys that found treasure chests were able to pick prizes out of the big golden treasure chest. pocket knives, metal matches, snake bit kit, flash lights to name a few prizes. 

 Some found out how important the important paper is when you need it.  (toilet paper).   Lots of exploring was done.  Most were good and muddy.  Some got little sleep some snored all NIGHT LONG!   The boys and men shared stories of  how they did in the cave and we even had one little field mice up there camping in the very back of the cave.  Bats were a big topic.  One commander relayed a story of 4 bats hovering over him in the middle of the night signing a song about Jesus.. I commented well its about time we go some of those bats saved back there in the back of the cave...they have certainly heard the Gospel preached enough back there.   

Lots of fun and fellowship.  We packed our stuff out and would return back to the cave for another load of gear.  Praise the Lord for Mike in his 4 wheel drive vehicle.  One Commander with 5 boys spent about 45 minutes trying to get out of the wettest pasture I have seen in years almost as bad as Territorial Rendezvous.  I sat on top of the hill in my freshly changed clean clothes and shoes and after a while gave up staying clean and dry and drove back down to the stuck vehicle and barked out orders like a ole respected dog will do from time to time GRIN!   In a short time we were all on top of hill heading home.   

Another great time of excitement, anticipation, danger met and conquered and fellowship and BEST of all Christian Relationship with each other and our Savior Jesus.    I saw our boys in church Sunday morning they all cleaned up great.  I could hear moms and wives reporting of muddy washing machine water and having to wash stuff twice.... "we did good boys"   

I praise the Lord for all of you.

 Mark Jones

Special thanks to David Yonke, James Gilpin, Richard Stovall and Paul Mark  for the pictures and video contributions.  Thanks much!

Link to a video by James Gilpin of the Big Bat Cave Campout with music. Short on YouTube.






Click on a picture to get a larger view.