I love camp!!!! Over the last year or so I've had the chance to reconnect (Thank you facebook!) with some of the faculty members that allowed God to use them to impact my life when I was a camper. Their obedience to God literally shaped the rest of my journey. And yes I stole all of these pictures from facebook. Stop judging me!
TODAY'S LIVING EXAMPLES OF JESUS: Camp Faculty Members
Don Stowell (you should add a picture to facebook so I can steal it)
When I was in middle school I insisted on attending the 8th & 9th grade camp lead by Don. At first it was because it was closer to being high school week than the 7th & 8th week but after that it was because the week was so incredibly amazing! Every time you walked by Don at camp there was a high five or a hug followed by incredible words of encouragement. I imagine Jesus was much like that, encouraging the people he came in contact with. I remember one summer I was frustrated and didn't think there was really anything I could do well. I don't know if he had caught wind of this or not but one night he pulled me aside and listed the things I had done that week that had impacted someone else. He even gave me a nickname the reflected that. Reminds me of when Jesus gave Peter his name.
Tracy and Wendy Tooley
At one of those weeks of middle school camp, Tracy and Wendy Tooley were my family leaders. WOW!!! Talk about one incredible family group. I never thought I would meet people who were so passionate about Jesus and knew how to have a ton of fun. I remember family discussions about God's forgiveness and unfailing love. Every time we had verses ready to recite to them, Tracy will drill us with questions about the meaning of the passage. Tracy and Wendy understood the value of taking family time and pouring into a group of students. They shared so much wisdom with us and I tried to soak in as much as I could. I'm sure the conversations and silly things we did were much like the times Jesus sat around with his 12 disciples.
When I was a high school camper, DJ lead the high school week. I also considered him my adopted youth minister. We did a ton of things at our church when I was in high school but we didn't have an official youth minister. DJ followed up with how things were going through out the school year. He would invite me to come along on trips or join Bible studies with his youth group. More than anything he always challenged me to spend more time in the word. He would ask how things were going and then immediately ask how my time with God had been. It was that accountability that helped me develop the discipline to spend time studying and praying daily. He never judged me when I got lazy. He just always pointed me back to the Father, just like Jesus.
I first remember meeting Matt when my brother, Matthew started attending CMU where Matt is the campus minister. I remember tagging along with Matthew to hang out with friends from His House or sit in on a Bible study. Then I went to high school week and Matt was there. Matt is another one of those incredibly encouraging people. I'll never forget the summer I was the only girl who decided to play ultimate frisbee. After the game Matt pulled me aside and said, "You're a pretty good frisbee player. Don't let anyone else ever tell you you can't do something because you are a girl. You have special gifts. Use them." Over the next few summers at camp and the times I saw him during the school year he helped me discover some leadership skills I didn't know I had and taught me how to start embracing them as a gift from God. Kind of reminds me how Jesus pulled out the gifts in some crazy fishermen.
There are many more stories and many more people. Check out some of the previous posts in this series or stay tuned. There will me more to come!