I walk quietly along the wooded path. Somewhere in the distance a loon lets loose its erratic cry. It begins as a gentle clucking sound and then crescendos until the bird nearly screams its doleful call across the lake, letting its wail slowly fade in every corner of the lake. On a distant shore, another calls back, echoing and reechoing the cries until the entire vista seems filled with life. It's beautiful. It's mesmerizing.
I reach my destination, a secluded cabin at the edge of Camp Cherokee, and pull out my laptop.
I sit quietly on the porch, not daring to interrupt the feeling of the moment. Across Gilpin Bay comes the sound of joyous laughter as kids at a neighboring summer camp enjoy evening activities. Quick footsteps down the trail startle me; I look up. It's Ross, my co-counselor for the summer, as he returns with his Bible from the caf and heads for bed.
I return to writing.
I'm back at Camp Cherokee for the second summer in a row. It's not because it's the best camp in the world, nor because it has the most fun things to do at a summer camp, nor even that it's the most spiritual (although I could easily argue that). No, it's because, one year ago, it's where God specifically called me to spend my summer and the camp adopted me. Now He's called me back for another summer of ministry and I've gladly accepted.
This past week has been full of blessings and trials. We're working long hours, preparing the camp for ministry. There's a lot to do - boats to be repaired, horse stalls to be cleaned, soccer balls to inflate. Some things minor, some things major, but all things wound around the smooth operation of this summer camp. It's easy to get lost in the work and business of it all. Sometimes I focus on what I'm doing more than why I'm doing it.
It's about the kids. And the staff. And me. It's about ministry. If only one child, one camper, one staff member, will be able to draw closer to their divine Creator, it will all have been worth it.
Yes, New York is nice. The Adirondacks are beautiful. Living in a camp for the summer in rustic cabins or creaky lean-tos helps de-clutter your mind. The nature, the quiet, the loveliness of an amber sunset; there's nothing quite like it. Camp Cherokee definitely has been blessed, but it's those blessings combined with the blessing of God which creates such a powerful ministry here at camp. It's the prayers of our leaders, our church members, our staff. It's your prayers which keep pushing us on. We need them. We desperately need them!
The loons have moved down the shore. The trees sway gently with the evening breeze. I yawn, fold up my laptop, and climb the ladder to my bed. It's going to be another long day tomorrow...