We all know that Kamp Friends are the Best Friends, but what does it really mean to a be a friend? One former Kamper and counselor, Ryan Nixon, showed an ultimate act of friendship to a Kanakuk K-Kaua’i Kamper. During this Christmas season, we hope you are blessed by his inspiring story of giving!
Ryan’s Kanakuk experience began in the summer of 1991 at K-1 after his grandparents discovered Kanakuk Kamps during a trip to Branson. They immediately signed him and his cousin up for a Term, which led to 8 more years as a Kamper, 3 years as a counselor and 6 on leadership!
In 2007, while on staff at K-Kaua’i, Ryan and his wife, Callie (who he met at Kanakuk!), met the Michael family. Right from the start, the Michael’s son, Ryan, and Nixon made a great connection.
The two shared similar names – Michael Ryan Nixon and Ryan Michael - and ties to Highland Park, TX, where Nixon was on K-Life staff and where the Michaels call home. In September of the same year, Sally Michael, Ryan Michael’s mom, relayed the hard news that Ryan’s kidneys had failed and that her son now spent 10 hours each night hooked up to a dialysis machine.
For the next 8 months, Ryan Nixon poured into Ryan Michael’s life - playing football and basketball on Fridays after school and sharing God’s word with him in encouragement and love. In summer of 2008, before heading back to Kanakuk for the season, Ryan Nixon and his wife, Callie, brainstormed ways to help Ryan - they held a fun run fundraiser to help raise money for a kidney transplant and they hosted a blood drive to find potential matches. The two decided to see if they might be possible donors to give Ryan a new kidney. The results came back and both were positive. Ryan’s match was as close as possible, without being a family member.
“The decision was easy, I had an extra kidney and he needed one. And also, what a beautiful picture of the Gospel and what a beautiful opportunity to 'give of something that I have' so that someone else can have life! It really was an easy decision,” said Nixon.
On August 7, 2008, Ryan Nixon, gave one of his kidneys to Ryan Michael. Nixon displayed the ultimate act of servitude and friendship. During that time, Nixon depended on God greatly. Through His Word, His Spirit and His people, Nixon had the opportunity to put Him first and see God displayed through man by his wife, family, and friends!
Now, in an amazing testament to God’s sovereignty and provision, Nixon is on staff with Scott Michael (Ryan’s dad) at Watermark Church in Dallas where Ryan Michael is involved in their student ministry. Their relationship continues to grow and it all began at Kanakuk!
It’s amazing to see how friendships are formed through Kanakuk Kamps and we’re honored to be a part of building Christ-centered relationships.
Thank you, Ryan and Ryan, for sharing with Kanakuk what it truly means to the hands and feet of our savior and to live out the Gospel in the world around us. We are thankful you are a part of the Kanakuk family!
To here a bit about Ryan Michael’s story, click . You can also follow along with the Nixon family on Callie's .
When has your Kamp friend done something for you? Comment below to share with us!