We asked our Chaplain, Carolyn Halford to share her summer story about her experience at Pine Cove this summer & wow.... we are so proud & excited for her. Read her story below!
Three months. What seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye came and went, and now here I am attempting to put words to what my summer meant to me. I remember coming home from camp last summer, not sure how to process how crazy and wonderful and hard and beautiful those weeks were. I simply explained to my mom that I had never felt more fulfilled by any role, never been more content in one place. Returning for a second summer wasn’t even a question, and I loaded up my car and headed back to Texas mid-May, this time for the full 13 weeks, ready for it all.
I came in with some baggage, both literally and figuratively (I unashamedly overpack on all occasions). I was growing apathetic, catching myself doubting the goodness of the Lord and losing sight of my identity found in Him. I had stopped asking big things and expecting God to move mightily. And guess what. He did.
This summer was tough. Camp had a way of humbling me beyond belief, what felt like the occasional slap in the face of, “Don’t you get it? It is not about you.” There were moments I felt like I couldn’t give more. Let’s face it, it was about 135 degrees and we were jumping and screaming and children were always asking when free time was. I was sweaty, too full from all the fried chicken and potato variations, and exhausted from the physical and mental toll of being a counselor for 2nd-5th grade girls. But then there were moments – such incredible, yet simple – PROFOUND moments where God lovingly reminded me that camp wasn’t about me in the slightest.
Camp is so centered on the Gospel, and our bible study theme this summer was “changed.” Every day we looked at different stories in the Bible, from Nathanael to Saul to Zaccheus, each man experiencing a life transformation because of his encounter with Jesus. We talked about walking with the Lord and what it meant to accept Jesus into our heart and live forever changed. My girls asked me tough questions, and we talked about the price Jesus paid for us by dying the death we deserved so that we might live in freedom. Things I grew up learning in church became so much more alive and tangible because these 7 and 8 and 9 year old girls were eager to hear more. There were moments I sat back and couldn’t help but smile and thank God for waking me up to the realization that He is so at work, and the craziness of the story of the cross is just as new and incredible as the first time I heard it.
So this summer was a whole lot of things. 4,000 campers came through the gates of the Pine Cove Towers, and every single one of them got to hear about Jesus. I got to see my girls put their faith in Christ for the first time and hear them worship and praise Him. I was pushed, stretched, and molded – coming home with a new understanding of grace. Challenged to not just give some of my life to the one who created it, but rather wholeheartedly live to serve my Father. I think I love camp so much because when you’re surrounded by people you love, doing what you love, nothing beats that. We sang loud, jumped high, and looked like total goobers 110% of the time. All for the glory of God. It’s been a few days, and I miss camp already. But praise God that He can be glorified beyond those gates, in our homes, cities, and college campuses. Praise Him that because of the cross, we can live changed.