Yesterday marked one year of living and working at Camp Wilderness Ridge
and I totally missed it...
... until about 9pm,
when a knock came at the door and it turned out to be our friends Andrew Jeanette and Cody Benge, bringing by the Tiff's Treats cookies that Claire had ordered to surprise me with. It took me a minute to figure out why there was a "Happy Anniversary" balloon, but that's mostly attributed to Andrew's interesting sense of humor.We invited over Josh & Steven, the interns who live down the hall from us, and chowed down on some delicious cookies. It's pretty unusual that we get a surprise visit out at camp, so it was a real treat.
Looking over the last year, it really is amazing what God has brought us through. We did know it was going to be a challenge, but I don't think we really knew all the amazing happenings that we'd be able to witness and be a part of. At first, we spent a lot of time moving in and getting settled, but at the same time engaged in facilitating retreats. Over the winter and spring, I hit stride and felt like I actually began leading the retreats ministry, and Claire felt she was starting to make an impact with her students at Waelder. We also saw God supply not only our personal needs (huge THANK YOU to our supporters!), but also saw Him supply the needs of the camp's continued recovery from the 2011 fire. Numerous individual volunteers and large groups and mission trips came over and over, starting during the winter of 2012 and continuing right up through Summer Camp.
In late Spring, our Camp Director and wife took some much needed personal time off. It was a pretty abrupt change, but our small staff leaned full into God and took up the reins of all administration, food service, and Summer Camp planning. It was a hard season leading up to Summer Camp, but by the time camp begin, we just had to hang on for the ride. Summer was certainly an adventure and a learning experience, and I can't wait to apply the lessons we took from this year to the next. We saw about 15 boys come to know Jesus for the first time in their life, and many other re-commit or sharpen their focus on Christ. And it was FUN! I loved taking leadership over the canoe trips for our Ranger Challenge Camps, and working with such a great SALT and senior staff.
It's been quite a ride, so far. Now the summer's over, and we're gearing up for the Fall. I've managed (again, by the grace of God) to book every weekend of the fall, and now we need volunteers! By the way, if you want to come out and volunteer, please check our schedule at wildernessridge.com/volunteer. Speaking of which, I got the privilege of completely redesigning our camp website, which deployed last weekend. Like I said, it's been busy.
Full honesty, I could not do this with out the unending support of my incredible wife. It also turns out that today (10/2) is exactly 2 1/2 years after we were married, so the cookies served a double "anniversary" purpose. haha!
Claire is a consistent sounding board for ideas, listener of complaints, adviser, friend, and partner in ministry. It's really fun to serve beside her, and I'm incredibly thankful for her willingness to join me in this adventure. I almost wrote "...her willingness to be dragged along..." but that would be completely inaccurate. Yes, I have led her in this journey, but she is a totally willing, engaged participant with many valuable contributions to the ministry of Jesus Christ here at CWR.
The other day, we were leaving for date night and we were right in the middle of talking about how hard we work at camp and honestly evaluating our experience. Then we stopped to take in the sunset, and thought about how many incredible ones we've been able to witness since moving out into the country.
Yep. Overall it's been a great year. And we look forward to many more. This year's going to be awesome.