So after my Newfoundland adventure, I made my way to Ontario Pioneer Camp (OPC).
(Note: you will be asked for a financial gift later on – be prepared)
(Also, I forgot to take pictures, so I can only share stories)
OPC has been a home away from home to me for the past four summers, though this summer was a bit different. Instead of going up in an official capacity, I was helping with the Leaders In Training program in a behind-the-scenes way. I helped set up rooms in the evenings for the interactive “Faithfully Improvising the Christian Story” teaching sessions in the mornings, and helped run audio/video on some mornings (I was working with my new supervisor Nicky who was one of the teachers); I filled in for small group leaders on their days off by sitting in on small group discussions and room groups before the LITs went to bed; I ran a couple sessions on understanding World Religions and a crash course in Church history and our Christian family tree; as well, there were a plethora of errands to do in town, and I often went.
I absolutely love serving the staff and campers of this program, especially because I believe so much in what’s taking place. Teenagers are seeing their understandings of faith stretched and grown as many people give up their summers to care for and mentor them. Many who have never heard of the Kingdom of God get their first glimpse and are transformed. Some LITs began to wonder what it would look like for a divided body of Christ to one day be restored. Others began to see new dreams form around what it means to care for people in their high schools - wondering aloud where their gifts and their communities needs intersect.
An unfortunate tendency amidst the busyness of life is that many dreams that I feel God has laid on my heart get lost in the clutter, so I was excited to see some of my own Kingdom dreams rekindled while at OPC. Some of them are directly tied to Inter-Varsity’s goal of graduating Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders – many of whom I interacted with at LIT. Others were around developing intentional living environments in which life together is celebrated, and the gospel can be lived out amongst those who cherish it and those who have never known it. I’m glad I got a chance to introduce teenagers to faithful improvisers life Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier, and that those introductions were a catalyst for much inside of me.
So here’s where I am after reflecting upon my time at camp:
I was unable to commit to an actual position at camp this summer because my own funding is not fully in place, which would free me up to partner more with camp (I’ve raised well over half of my budget, but was still short). It was sort of a fluke that I was able to go for a week. Though I am incredibly grateful for that week, it was difficult not being able to be around for more time, and though I enjoyed filling in where needed, I really missed being able to connect more with LITs in ways that official roles allow. This is not a sob story. Instead, I feel more dedicated than ever to develop my support base so that I can commit more time to developing kingdom leaders on campus throughout the year, and at camp in the summers. This excites me, especially because this work/calling/vocation/desire is so closely linked with who I feel God has made me to be!
So don’t be surprised if you hear from me in the upcoming weeks and months about partnering with this ministry! Or if this post compels you, you can donate here!
God is good. Oh so good.