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Saranac

October 16, 2012

(Photo Credit: Katy Scherer)

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful place in the world. I had the absolute joy of being able to spend the entire month of August at this gorgeous camp property. I have fallen in love with upstate New York all over again, but more importantly, I fell deeper in love with my Father during the month I spent here.

I was an a.m. cook for the month, and I loved every minute of it. It was definitely hard work, and I spent most of the day inside, but the Lord taught me so many things during my time there. I also met a ton of incredible godly people who helped me grow immensely. I am very grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to serve alongside such incredible people and in such a stunning place. God is so good and faithful to me.

I learned several huge things while I was there:

  • HUMILITYAs I said before, I worked in the kitchen for the month. This was prime for me to be humbled. I began my work in the kitchen with a prideful spirit of thinking I already knew all that I needed to know to get the work done. I had worked in the kitchen at this camp previously, so I did have some basic knowledge of what lied ahead. I also have worked at a restaurant the last couple years. Both of those factors really built up my pride and ultimately affected my attitude in my work. Within the first week, God really revealed to me how my manner of working was not Christ-like at all. I was working to gain praise, and trying to show my worth to those around me through my work. But go figure, they weren’t all that impressed. Within the first week I had made serving about me, completely losing sight of my whole purpose there. My focus lied solely on myself and not on God, not on loving those around me, and not really serving the campers.This is just the perfect example in my life of how even the best of things can become idols. Serving became an idol for me. Striving to become the “ultimate servant” so that others could see how hard I worked or how “good” I was. Four years ago, I was serving at Saranac on Work Crew, fresh from graduating high school. There was a guy there serving on Summer Staff named Brad. He was just one of those all around good guys that everyone liked. The thing that stuck out most to me about this guy was his willingness to serve-to humble himself and work hard in order to serve those around him. He wasn’t the most talkative guy and he never boasted in his work, he just did it to serve God. When I went on Summer Staff, I was using his example for my work while I was there. But striving to be like someone else was still serving with the wrong motives. God didn’t use me the same way he used Brad at Saranac, and that is okay. We are all created differently with different gifts for service.  

    There was one other awesome lesson in humility while we were there. One day during our Sabbath, we walked into the Club Room expecting to worship together in singing, but instead the assignment team and camp staff told us they wanted to wash our feet and pray for each one of us individually. We had just read John 13, and it was crazy how easy it was to relate to Peter in his reluctance to allow Jesus to wash his feet. I immediately felt unworthy to receive their service, but it was one of the most incredibly moving things to be a part of. I felt so loved and cared for by those people, and it was beautiful to see people around me that I was serving alongside being prayed for. It was so moving to see the humility of these people we had been looking up to all month, on their knees washing our feet and asking how they could pray for each one of us. This is what Christ calls us to! A life lived for Him and for those around us, where we are not the center of the world, or even our own lives. Instead, we look to how we can serve our Creator and his cherished creation with humble hearts and an attitude that is Christ-like in manner.

    ACCEPTANCE

    This was by far my biggest battle to fight during my month at Saranac. I struggle with feeling left out a lot, and just a general fear of man. It’s been something that I actively have to pray against on a daily basis, and I often feel this is where Satan attacks me the most. The month of August was no exception. In fact, it was slightly intensified with such a short amount of time to meet and grow in friendships with people. I just want everyone to like me all the time-I realize this sounds unrealistic, and I know that, but I can’t help it. If it seems that someone doesn’t really like me, I become hyper-critical of myself and analyze everything that I say and do and how they could affect the views of those around me.

    During my time at Saranac I definitely never felt unloved or uncared for, however there were some people I just never really got to know. It was due mostly to the fact that we just had entirely different jobs, or maybe we didn’t ever sit together at meals. And as unreasonable as it sounds, I often found myself feeling left out. Naturally, the people who worked together all day had inside jokes and were closer. But it just really bummed me out that I didn’t get to be a part of those times. Mostly because I knew I was surrounded by all these incredible godly people, and I hardly got to know some of them. And as much as it may have sucked to have those moments of feeling left out, it allowed room for God to remind me that I don’t need to rely on the approval or acceptance of men, because I have already been fully accepted in God through the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. It really doesn’t get much better than that!!! (John 1:12-13, Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:14-17)

  • GOD IN EVERYTHINGAs you can probably tell from the picture above, Saranac is an absolutely gorgeous place. God’s creation is mighty! And it is so easy to witness it while at this property…between the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, the gorgeous lake, and the abundance of trees, God’s hand is undeniable. Every morning I was overwhelmed by the breathtaking sunrises that unfolded over the lake. Praise God that I was up so early every morning that I was able to witness such incredible beauty.There were days I felt God in the breeze, or basking in the sunlight or even in the sound of the wake hitting the rocks. But above all the beauty that was visible in nature, I saw God in His people!! What a blessing it was to see God’s hand at work in the hearts of hundreds of campers each week. Nothing is more astounding than getting to witness lives as they are being transformed throughout each week, or the entire month! Each week was such a fresh reminder of the gospel and how much Christ truly loves each of us. Not only did I see God in the transforming lives of the campers, but also just in the small moments. Whether it was simple words of encouragement, a high five, a smile, or some dancing (shout out to Strut-O-Clock!!) Those little moments brought me such joy, especially if I was tired or feeling worn down. Being reminded of scripture was especially life-giving because it always came right when I needed to hear it.

    GOD IS ENOUGH

    Seeing God’s provision for me throughout the month is just crazy! Not only was I provided with immediate community and fellowship, but each and every day the Lord provided me with the energy and strength to continue serving His purpose and calling. Looking back on the month, I saw how God was using those lessons within the month to carry home with me in my serving in every day life. I don’t think I realized how amazing His provisions were while I was a camp until I got home and remembered that I maybe slept 5 hours a night for a whole month.

    God provided comfort for me in the moments of frustration and in times of hurting. I never felt alone and knew I was able to rely on God to listen to my every emotion. (John 14:18) God is my constant and because of my knowledge of that fact, I am able to rely on him to provide all the physical, emotional and spiritual needs I may have. I can rest safely and securely in His hands.

    PRAYER IS POWERFUL

    Wow. I don’t think I am even able to recount all the amazing outcomes of the prayers that were poured out during our time there. I usually don’t feel all that empowered through prayer, or I feel as if I’m not actually speaking directly to God. But during my time at Saranac, I was truly amazed to see fruit from all my time spent in prayer. God was there listening to each and every plea, petition and praise that was uttered from the lips of every person on property. That’s amazing! And we were so blessed to witness many, many answered prayers. We saw the lives of kids changed that had been showered in prayer before they even came to camp. I was moved to tears on at least a weekly basis because we saw answered prayers left and right in transformed hearts and new relationships. Prayers were constantly being poured over the camp and all the people within it, and we could all see it and feel it. God is good and faithful in prayer. Not every prayer was answered, but God’s timing is above any comprehension we could imagine.

     

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