By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
Recently I received an email from a previous summer staff member. Her insights are so valuable, I am sure we can all relate and be encouraged. She writes…
It took me a while to write this because I might have thought it wasn’t as important to share as a testimony, when thinking camp is mainly focused on campers. Obviously God was telling me the opposite. As you probably know I grew up in a Christian home, and sometimes that can make you think you know it all, or you’ve seen it all. But God has other plans, and I have always learned so much more than I can imagine just working at camp. One of the things that always stuck with me is praying, for anything and everything, small or big.
The other is camp songs and the worship, they might come in handy. So one of the things that I struggle with is knowing if I can be an example to my extended family, they know of God but don’t truly have a relationship with him, and it’s not always easy to be that example. A little over a year ago we had a new addition to the family, my little cousin Jonathan. When he was about 3 months, I had to watch him for a bit, and well it had been a while since I watched a baby. He was fed, he was changed but then he started to cry, like really loud. I couldn’t reach anyone and I began to panic. I tried rocking him, putting on baby music. Nothing.
Then I remembered that I should pray, funny how that’s not always the first thing you think about in a situation like this. I asked God for help, and I started singing out of nowhere, the Holy Spirit song that I had learned at camp. For those who know me, singing is not one of the talents God gave me, so I don’t even know how I remembered the words, and was literally singing and praying for the Holy Spirit to fill the room. I felt this incredible peace, and Jonathan had calmed down and was falling asleep. In that moment I felt God touch my heart and encourage me to pray differently for my family.
Jonathan just turned one this past November and to this day he doesn’t fall asleep or calm down to anything but that song, and it always brings a smile to his face. Both my aunt and other cousins, his older sisters have learned the words to the song. My cousins started coming to church, wanting to read their Bibles, and wanting a deeper connection to God. I keep praying for them and seeing what God has done.
I can’t wait to come back this summer and see what God has in store.
What an amazing story. Time after time I hear summer staff members tell me how they have learned to pray while serving at summer camp. We are currently accepting summer camp registrations www.joyelcamps.org. If you want to serve at a Christian camp and retreat center in Pennsylvania we are also accepting summer staff applications.