A mere year ago I was beginning to engage in a period of planning and preparation for my first summer on senior staff at Camp Hemlock, and I was working with the leadership team to develop ideas of how we as the senior staff could invest and mentor the junior staff in the most wholesome way. Having already served four consecutive summers as a junior staff member, I knew the next step was to serve on senior staff and pour into the junior staff so that they, in turn, could spiritually invest in the campers. I was convinced that I would continue to be heavily involved with camp in 2017 for a second summer on senior staff.
I knew that I would never take even so much as a year off from serving at Hemlock. I knew I wouldn’t be able to separate myself from some of my closest brothers in Christ and distance myself from a place that has had monumental impact on my spiritual growth. I knew that I would not find myself away from Hemlock for the entire summer season for the first time in fourteen years. These thoughts were radically inverted when I realized my plan was drastically out of line with a plan that was greater than mine.
God showed me that I had to take a break from a mission field that I was too comfortable serving in.
I had learned over the years on junior staff that camp is always changing in many aspects, but in others, I had grown so accustomed to the traditions and the way we do ministry at Hemlock that I found myself able to carry out any camp-specific task without even thinking about it. While having very widespread knowledge such as this is helpful, it can help harbor complacency and contentment that says, “I am fine with not looking for new ways to grow.” I still pursued intense and meaningful relationships with the junior staff guys and helped to build them up in their walk, but in this, I found myself always thinking that there was something more to chase. I found myself not being challenged to grow in my own walk, and I was having trouble finding new ways to embrace ministry. Being at Camp Hemlock fourteen out the twenty years of my life has been an incredible pleasure, but It has been my singular experience with mission work.
Because of this, I have never been on a missions trip. My summers have always been full serving at Camp that I have never experienced what ministry in an unknown environment feels like. As December of 2016 rolled around, I felt God tugging on my heart to pull me towards mission work outside of Camp Hemlock for the summer of 2017. I was incredibly opposed to this notion at first, and I even said, “God are you crazy?” The more I prayed over my summer plans, the more God showed me how sovereign he was. In these moments with him, I began to see why God was calling me towards a summer mission.
He wanted me to embrace ministry in a way I have not had the opportunity to experience yet.
Through all the moments I doubted how God would use me this summer, he reassured me that this summer would be an incredible opportunity to serve him in a way I have not before. Seeing how God has blessed me with new friendships and opportunities to serve him through Cru, I know that he will use a Summer Mission at Hampton Beach as another incredibly rewarding path in my walk with him. I have no doubt that the summer will be filled with just as many struggles as there are victories, and I look forward to seeing how God will grow me through the moments where I must press into him and dig deep into the Word for guidance.
I am excited to look back ten weeks from now and see the incredible work God has done at Hampton Beach. He is going to use some very broken vessels to show Hampton Beach the greatest treasure of all eternity. This summer is yours Lord, and because of your Son, I am very blessed to say I will be a part of it.