Racking the Focus (Camp Week 2021)

Posted on: 
June 16, 2021

As a member-in-training with All-Nations, I’ve had several pursuits outside of linguistics and languages over the last few years. One side gig I enjoy is filmmaking, and after another refreshing and encouraging Camp Week, a metaphor from filmmaking comes to mind to describe what I have experienced every time we get together on “The Hill” in State College for the annual event.

There’s a shot you can use in a film called a “rack focus” shot. It’s described in one online source this way: “A commonly used technique in both film and television to shift focus from a foreground object to a background object by turning the focal ring on a lens.” Think of a shot that starts with a close-up on autumn leaves. Suddenly the close-up fades and the blurry background becomes clear: it’s a church building—perhaps with a sign out front announcing the marriage of a happy couple. This shot tells a story: it’s a wedding. A rack-focus shot opens up the viewer’s perspective, takes them on a journey, gives them the bigger picture—the point of the thing.

I’ve found that the demands of Bible translation—studies, planning, preparation, visas, travel, strategy, and more studies—can tend to focus my attention on the foreground. Maybe the details, the minutia, the requirements of your vocation can do the same thing to you.

Every year, Camp Week is a time to rack my focus back to the big picture: the unreached. The goal of “communities of believers in every language group living out the word of God.” The worth of Jesus to receive the worship of “every tribe, tongue, nation, and language.”

Here are a few of the ways that happened this year:

  • Worshipping and singing together in the unique acoustics of the new All-Nations building. Isaac Watts’s “The Heav'ns Declare Thy Glory, Lord” is still ringing in my mind.
  • Val Yoder’s exhortation to love Christ by loving his bride—our local church
  • Joel Yoder’s cautionary wisdom and experience relating to missionary overload and burnout
  • Early morning prayer and worship in the prayer garden
  • Discussions with fellow trainees/translators on manuscripts, linguistics, and translation philosophy (because you can’t totally keep linguist types from their enjoyment of the minutia)
  • The support and encouragement we received from our church’s support team, who joined us Thursday for “Church Day” and Friday for “EXPLORE.” We were able to enjoy a beautiful evening in the prayer garden with them as well—strategizing, dreaming, and praying together for our fledgling project.
  • The stories of missionaries and translators in Nicaragua, China, Africa, and Papua New Guinea—the Kingdom is really breaking in all over the world in surprising ways both small and large.

Camp Week is one way the Lord continues to pull my focus back to the big picture. He does it in other ways as well: updates from friends on the field, missionary biographies, and most of all, intercessory prayer.

Are there steps you’re taking to allow him to do the same for you?


  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10