I love camp.
There’s just no other way to say it. Every time I get the opportunity to do anything with camp I come out a little better on the other side. I come out exhausted and exhilarated; overwhelmed by God’s work through each and every moment. There’s just something about being surrounded by people who love God; something about the setting of constant ministry; that brings out the best in people. And it’s absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite place to be.
Except it’s not a place. Not really.
I guess I’ve known it for a while now. I’ve been connected to so many camps throughout the years that I have to specify which one I’m talking about in conversation. And each one has a piece of my heart. Each one is a little bit home.
But just like a home, camp really isn’t about the place, is it? It’s about the people; it’s about the experiences; it’s about the connections you made there. It’s about the humbling sadness you felt when you finally understood the depth of the Gospel message while sitting by the campfire all those years ago. It’s about the resolve you felt when you finally accepted your calling. It’s about the joy you discovered when you realized that you are a child of God.
Or maybe that’s just me.
But it can’t be about a place. Because this month, I gave another piece of my heart to another camp – and this one didn’t have any campfires. It didn’t have any inspirational trails leading to a place to sit and contemplate life while staring at the sunset over the lake. It didn’t even have trees.
But it was still camp. And God was still there.
There are far too many amazing experiences to describe here. If you’ve ever been involved with camp ministry you know that each week might as well last a lifetime… but once it’s over you wonder where the time has gone. There are hundreds of stories I could tell – some as silly as an epic game of Mafia (the Mafia actually won), and some as amazing as the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit as I played the piano for a solid half hour, waiting for the last of the campers to exit the chapel after worship one morning – but there aren’t enough hours in the day to go into all of them.
I’m convinced that God uses camp on a huge level and I think I know why. Camp workers – staff and volunteers alike – sacrifice so much to do what they do. They give their time; their resources; hours upon hours of preparation; all to the cause of showing love to God’s children. They’re willing to be stretched; to be used. And I think God honors that holistic commitment, rewarding the programs with fruit.
Suffice it to say that I love camp.
But now it’s time to move forward. The camp season is over; the school year will soon begin. And I’ll be in yet another new role: teacher. In less than a week I’ll make the drive down to Sells, AZ to move into what will be my home for the next 10 months. I’ll begin to prepare my classroom for students to arrive a week later. Can I ask for your prayers? This is a new direction for me. Not only will I be living and working in the heart of the Tohono O’odham reservation and experiencing the entirety of the culture, but I’ll also be discovering if I have what it takes to teach full time and, as usual, I’ll be learning on the job!