For those don’t know me, I’m a former counselor from 1998 (Summer Safari!) and now teach music at Seattle Christian and privately. Being a counselor started off being tough for me but by the end I didn’t want to leave; God used the staff at Gilead to change my life. This year, I was privileged to help out during staff training week and sporadically dropped in to play guitar or whatever at chapels and for Sunday nights. I’m also a regular at TLC; you might know me from there as did many campers and counselors.
I got to know several members of the staff fairly well – as has been evidenced in the blogs and elsewhere, the 2009 staff is amazing! It’s an incredible collection of people God has gifted and assembled. I’ve known the Moyers and Mallorys for quite some time, and it was great to meet everyone else. Several I got to know fairly well, and also I was the prayer support person for Jason Quey. From a semi-outsider’s perspective, the energy, even when they were tired, was intense. And, from my nearly weekly trips to Gilead, I got to see in snapshots the synergy and growth of the team; allow me to share couple of the very special things done by God through these people that I felt extremely blessed to see.
Before I was a Counselor, I had witnessed to many people, shared my testimony, and seen results from these things. This being said, I never yet actually was present to see someone receive Christ, let alone lead them to the final step myself. I will never forget the moment, up by the rifle range, when one of my campers received the Lord as Savior – the first time I was there for the ‘great destination reversal’! It changed everything, and my life hasn’t been the same since. Later, during one of the Junior Camp weeks, I had Tyler Pagel and his brother in my cabin. Admittedly I had no idea what I was doing as a Counselor (yet… I got better, I hope) and was praying that God would somehow use me in some way. He did, and the blessings continue to this day. Jump to 2009 – if you haven’t read (now Counselor) Tyler’s blog, from July 23, please go read it now! I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to see how God allowed such a backwards idiot sinner as myself, with zero previous camp experience, to be used by Him in this way. You see, Tyler told me that 1998 was part of how he came to love Camp Gilead. If that weren’t enough, later during the summer Tyler and I talked and he told me about how he just had the same experience of leading his first person to the Lord, and how it changes everything. God is amazing!
The other one is the “happy Counselor look.” It’s something that every Counselor and regular visitor or participant in camp ministry has seen and experienced, and I love it every time I see it. At Camp, for some reason it seems more special. I was hoping I would get to see it at some point during the summer, and God put me in just the right place for it to happen. I met Counselor Teanna Alsum during staff week, and she, like me in 1998, was wondering in what way God would choose to use her and was, again like me, a little concerned and apprehensive about her first campers coming in. Fast-forward to about a month later – after a chapel the Pastor asked any campers who wished to stay behind and talk to their Counselors. I was outside on the bench with my friend Will, who hadn’t been out to Camp Gilead before, and I told him quietly – “Look, Will, this is one of my favorite parts: the kids staying behind and talking with their Counselors and getting things right with God.” While I was having major flashbacks from 11 years ago, the three girls with Teanna got up, with her following behind them, and there it was. The “happy Counselor look” – a certain glow in the eyes and a calm smile that says, “Wow, God just did something amazing.”
“I’m glad I was a Counselor… sing along now…”
Camp Counselor * Summer 1998