Well kids, I'm back from my short time up at the ol Camp Zephyr.
You know the story.
I fell in love up at Zephyr as a young teenager in more ways than one.
I first walked the caliche roads there as a fresh 14 year old girl, new to the world of "faith lived out loud" and deeply desiring a life of victory and faith. I heard the Gospel preached, felt the sound of worship penetrate my young heart, and made some lifelong friends.
Then not too long after that, I walked those same caliche roads as a lowly intern, dreaming of one day becoming a Zephyr Staff member. Those beautiful girls that worked all summer at camp must have had it all together. I mean come on, they were gorgeous, they loved Jesus, and they had boys surrounding them all summer long. What could be any better than that?
Finally, the summer after I graduated high school, I walked through those doors as a full on Summer Staffer....ready to serve, ready to experience Jesus in a new way, ready to do my part. Little did I know that I would spend four summers living, loving, sweating, breaking, and mending at that beautiful, beautiful camp.
Well, I spent the first half of this week running around camp pretending like I had a purpose. :) I was supposed to be taking pictures of the campers (which I did, of course) but really, I was lost in my own memories.
I was remembering the first summer I spent out at Zephyr as a camper. In the days when my soul mates were found in my best friends and "the Zephyr Zombie" was cool to talk about behind our youth minister's back. And the snack shack had yet to be painted like a cow.
I remembered the first summer that made Room Six my home. Laurie, Candace, my sweet roommates who taught me so many lessons on being a woman of character who lived out 1 Peter 3:3-4.
I remembered my final summer, as I prepared to marry the man of my dreams. The summer that signaled a change in the future of Zephyr. Change was on the horizon and a new era was about to dawn. It wasn't easy to leave, it wasn't easy to let go. I remembered the tears that fell as I packed my little car up with my stuff and drove through the gates with blurred eyes.
But then I remembered the summers in between. Meeting my future husband. Sitting on the back porch of the conference center with various roommates marveling at the faithfulness of our God. Walking from Room 6 to the kitchen in the early morning light wondering what the day would hold. Burning the coffee pots repeatedly because I could never remember to collect them after morning breakfast. "Five minutes!" from Stuart. I remember playing hide and seek on the gators and making Sunday evening runs to Wal-Mart. I remember being there with Erin in her last months of her pregnancy with Emma. Sitting at my favorite picnic table and reading books by my heroes of faith: Corrie Ten Boom, Elisabeth Elliot, Leslie Ludy. The ridiculous banter that never seemed to cease, morning, noon, and night, and every moment in between. The numerous faces of youth ministers, students, sponsors, children, and friends that poured through our doors. Each with a unique story, each loved so dearly by such a great God. Each who have been touched in some way through this camp.
It really was such a joy to me to just hang around. Wesley was with Grandma Nancy, Nathan was in town working, and I was without the duties of my daily life for nearly 3 whole days. I soaked it up. I didn't have any life-changing moments as one might expect, but I did have some good moments of peace and solitude, lovely conversations, and some good rest. I was able to see some familiar faces and catch up with some dear friends.
I was also able to see how incredible that staff really is. The leadership has blossomed, and the Lord is blessing them for their faithfulness. I wish I could adequately explain to you how put together this group of people are. Of course there is no such thing as a perfect working environment, but this group of young people are darn well close. Really! I only knew a handful of them when I arrived, and now I can say that I just adore them all! They blessed my heart more than they know!
So if you're a student pastor out there, or even a leader of a small group or church, don't hesitate to take your church family, students, or own family out there for a weekend retreat or weeklong camp. You won't regret it.
Oh...and pray for some rain. :)
p.s. I'll make a FB album of the pictures as soon as I dig through them all.