By Carrie, former Eagle Lake Camps Rez and Crew Camper and Rez counselor
From a article in www.navigators.org in the May 2017 newsletter
When I was in sixth grade, Eagle Lake Camps became my safe haven. My parents had just divorced and life was crazy and painful and I just wanted to escape. That’s when I first went to Eagle Lake as a camper.
My relationship with my dad became especially difficult after the divorce. It was during another summer at Eagle Lake that I had an amazing breakthrough. At a time of worship one night, I realized that my dad is human and will continue to disappoint me. But I also learned that God is my heavenly Father, and because He is God, He will never disappoint me and will always be there for me.
My time at Eagle Lake was so important that I knew I’d be a camper until they told me I couldn’t be a camper any more. Last year I joined the Eagle Lake staff as a counselor. During orientation, we talked about how God puts campers in our lives who have similar stories, and it was really cool to see how God orchestrated this in my life, too.
One day during a Rez [residential] camp I had the opportunity to hang out with a camper from another cabin. Joe’s* counselor asked me to talk to him since we had similar stories. Joe paid for himself and came to camp for three weeks to escape his family situation. It was heartbreaking that he was going through such difficult times, but even at such a young age he was turning to God and searching for Him instead of seeking fulfillment and escape in other ways.
It was unforgettable to be able to talk to Joe and share in his pain and troubles and assure him that he is not alone in this journey. I was able to tell him about how God is still working in my life and carrying me through the lingering pain of early hardships. I feel honored to have met Joe and connected with him. That week he memorized 80 verses and received the Eagle Award!
At Eagle Lake we have the opportunity to see God working right in front of us, and using us in one another’s lives as we all strive to know Him more. Behind each relationship, cabin assignment, activity, and one-on-one, God is working and has a plan. The camper I connected with is hoping to come back next summer to take part in the Crew program (a volunteer leadership program) and grow even closer to God. I am praying for Joe’s pursuit of God as he continues on the journey through life!
God still uses Eagle Lake to work in my life. During camp, I realized how much I love youth ministry, and decided to change my major in college, but I wasn’t sure where to go from there. A full-time staff member connected me with an Eagle Lake alumni family who live in my home town. They’ve really welcomed me into their lives; thanks to them, I found my current church home and got plugged into leading a Bible study with 9th grade girls!
Eagle Lake is not a normal job where you move on to the next thing when it’s over. It has become a part of my life story.