Seth Coates, Camp Director of Moose River Outpost, always talks about camp as the place where we are challenged to take the next steps in our faith journey. Everything we do at MRO comes from this desire: to see campers take whatever their next step is in their relationship with the Lord. For some, this looks like hearing about Jesus for the very first time, or possibly the decision to allow the Lord to guide and direct their entire lives. The next step may also look like leaning into an insecurity, or overcoming certain fears. It could be forming new healthy habits, like reading the Bible or spending time meditating on a verse each day. Whatever that next step looks like for each camper, we want that to happen at Moose River Outpost.
I am always so amazed, and startled by the ways the Lord moves in and through his creation for the advancement of his Kingdom. This summer at MRO, I saw, yet again, the works of the Lord as both campers and staff allowed Him to guide and take control – as if we were ever in control! I saw the Lord at work in the lives of three kids from the Czech Republic who attended MRO this past summer, each of whom are on their own faith journey with the Lord. As the boat driver, I saw these three kids take on very tangible goals, and pursue growth through the challenge of wake sports. I saw Ondrej go from barely getting up on two skis, to flying a couple feet through the air on a slalom ski – intentionally, and controlled of course. I saw Natalie and Renata accept the love and encouragement offered by their fellow campers, and achieve the very things they said they could never accomplish on the water!
While the three campers were at work on their gravity defying skills, the Lord was meticulously at work in their hearts. In a reflection letter to MRO, Natalie wrote:
“In the middle of all [of camps programs] there was love. I mean, love with a capital ‘L.’ It’s just so good that you let [the Lord] lead this whole time. He spoke to my heart many times and I bet I’m not the only one!”
Natalie was NOT the only one! Ondrej mentioned in his letter that he felt the “biggest progress in [his] mind…and the environment [at camp] changed [him] a lot.” He, and many other campers with him, left the summer having taken one further step towards growing into the men and women God has called them to be.
True personal growth is often preceded by real spiritual growth. Eugene Peterson brings the words in Mark 8 alive in a new way by saying “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am… Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.” Seeing these kids from the Czech Republic grow into their true selves, and take that next step in their faith journey continues to remind me of the importance of the work the Lord has us doing at our family of camps.
Written by Adam Jalovick – MRO Summer Camp Pastor 2017