Hi friends! Miss me?
Let me just say, it feels so good to be back to blogging again.
I took an unexpected break this summer as I challenged myself to take a step back and be completely enveloped in my summer job as a camp counselor at Kanakuk K-Seven. For those of you who don’t know, this is a Christian athletic camp that I have been apart of ever since I can remember. This summer was my 12th year at camp, but my first as an employed counselor.
So do you want to hear about it? Here we go. Hold on tight, this could get lengthy, but I have a lot to tell you about.
First thing’s first. I lived in a tepee from July 4th – August 10th. We were paired up with a “Co-Counselor” almost as soon as we got there to basically do life with for the following weeks. My lovely co’s name was Meagan Stamm. I don’t even know how else to introduce her except by telling you that she is absolutely everything you could ever want her to be.
I would have never guessed that I would come home from Kamp (yes, with a “k”) with a sister & best friend, but Meagan proved me wrong.
Each morning we would wake up around 6 or 6:30 to spend time in our bible, our prayer journals, and discuss the upcoming activities. Throughout the day we would bounce down the schedule and end each night with a special party or night of praise and worship. After night activities, we would close with tepee devo’s and pray over each of our precious girls (12 of them to be exact). We would then put them to bed & drag our Crazy Creeks onto the porch for paperwork, quiet time, discussion of the day’s ups and downs, and then end by praying together for strength, intentionality, wellness, joy, etc, etc, etc.
Meagan and I grew together and individually each day. Not a day went by that we weren’t challenged by new experiences, change, or simply or own physical/emotional exhaustion. We quickly discovered that we could not do this alone nor just with each other. Our strength came solely from the Lord. We prayed every morning that our words, actions, and attitude be a reflection of Him. We were challenged to put ourselves “third” (God First, Others Second, I’m Third) in everything that we did and just when we thought we had nothing more to offer, God did. Our mission was to become all things to all men in order to “win some” each and every day for the gospel. Together we were able to accomplish far more than we ever thought possible through the power of Jesus Christ.
I grew exponentially with each passing week. I began to realize that my reliance on my own strength, reputation, and success had outweighed my faith and trust in the Lord. I fought each day to battle my insecurity and feelings of weakness with the truth in God’s word. I began to rid myself of the lies that I had been believing and prayed each day that He would captivate my thoughts and heart so that His love & grace would be my only measure of worth.
John 3:30 reads, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” It did not take long for me to fall on my knees and ask the Lord to empty me of myself. I prayed that He would take all doubt, feelings of insignificance, worry, sin, temptation, regret, disgust and envy (etc) away so that all my campers would see in me was the beauty of mercy and renewal as I stood in the confidence, assurance, and acceptance that came from Christ alone.
One of the most special parts about Kanakuk K-Seven is the unique opportunity to bond with both campers and staff during the short time that you are there. I have never felt so loved, encouraged, and accepted than I did this summer. From all across the country (*and Spain) we were thrown together with one single passion to lead kids to Christ. Together we lived, laughed, loved, cried, learned, danced, and battled for the truth. We desired to squeeze in all the energy we possibly could in order to make the most of each day we spent together. I laughed more this summer than I have in my entire life. Without cell phones and internet, we were challenged to get to know each other the old-fashioned way by having intentional conversations, going on morning walks, and sending encouraging notes/goodies throughout the week. In the month and a half-ish that I was there, I developed some of the strongest, most sincere friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
Through all the fun, playing, and partying, our hearts were set on one thing.
At Kanakuk, a camper gets to “ring the bell” after accepting Jesus as their Savior or rededicating their life to Christ. After doing so, shouts of encouragement can be heard all across kamp. It was & is the sweetest reminder of God’s gift of salvation through the dying & resurrection of His Son and our mission to go and tell others of this undeserved grace. Through each activity and event we would always end with “Life Apps” where we would compare the completed activity to our walk with Christ. While sometimes these could seem repetitive and surface-level, as counselors we loved the challenge of bringing everything we did back to The Cross. One of my most treasured memories was getting to lead one of my sweet campers to Christ after what seemed to be a failed attempt at a rainy game of soccer. We knew our job was much more than teaching skiing, basketball, or blog, but rather to add on to the party list in Heaven every single day.
In fact if you spend any time with me these days, it is all I can talk about.
I am so blessed to have served and to have been served by each and every camper and each and every staff member at K-Seven this summer. Though goodbyes were incredibly difficult, I can smile knowing that whether here on Earth or in Heaven I will see them all again one day.
But I’m not finished.
I returned back at Drury this semester and after only a week into the school year, I am already blown away by the work the Lord is doing here.
Let me fill you in.
My best friend Hannah & I have been praying all year/all summer for a student ministry to take off on our campus. I cannot tell you how many nights we desperately prayed/cried about not feeling purposeful in spreading the gospel here. We waited…and we waited….and we waited (Mark Haney style) for the Lord to show up and break down barriers that we, as humans, could not do ourselves.
AND HE SURE DID.
The week we got back from kamp we were contacted and told that a ministry from Missouri State (5 minutes up the road) was going to branch out and start a ministry this fall at Drury. As if our hearts weren’t already exploding with joy, we were asked to be apart of leadership and help former Kanakuk counselor Casey Carroll with recruiting and such for the kickoff event that happened just this past Tuesday. We absolutely were in awe of the Lord and His faithfulness to answer prayer, but it gets better. Hannah & I had also felt the Lord calling us to start a small group for freshman girls on campus, but had absolutely no idea where to start. A week after we were contacted about “The Vine” starting at Drury, we were asked to lead a small group FOR FRESHMAN GIRLS. Is the Lord good or what?
You could not & still can’t wipe the smile off our faces. All of our prayers for the school year were being answered and the first day hadn’t even started. BUT GOD WASN’T DONE. Monday night, Drury hosted what we like to call “Fun on Drury Lane” where all the campus organizations get together & throw a big party with free food (And more food, and more food), shirts, a huge fireworks show etc etc. We set up a table to get the word out about The Vine, small group sign ups, and passed out flyers about our kick-off event happening the next evening. Throughout the night we were flooded with people asking about getting involved and putting their names down for more information about what we were doing this semester.
Tuesday night rolled around and as we were setting up and looking at the rows and rows of chairs in front of us we couldn’t help but worry about how are we ever going to fill this many chairs. But not only did we fill all 200+ chairs that were in the audience, but we had to add at least 5 more rows and still had people sitting in the grass/standing on the outside.
But like you might already assume, IT GET’S BETTER.
Hannah & I were in charge of a table in the back that collected contact cards & small group sign ups. Each chair had a card asking for contact information and had two questions on the bottom that read:
1) Do you want to know more about being a Christ follower?
2) Would you like to join a small group?
Card after card after card came pouring in saying YES YES YES. Guys, I can’t even express my joy and excitement that comes solely from a FAITHFUL God. Our next event is Tuesday night & we are so anxious to see what He has in store for us next. If I can encourage you in any way, I ask that you pray with expectations for God to do the impossible. Prayer is so powerful & I ask that you keep us in mind as we long to make a difference on this campus. Our small group meets for the first time this next week & we are so STOKED to be in a place where the Lord is so evidently working.
So for now I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this crazy thing.
I am so excited to see how God is going to move this year.
Your patience and encouragement to me through this blogging break has been so beneficial.
I will have a new fashion post up next week!!