Natalie – March update

Hi everyone,

I hope that you have had a good week so far and are prepared for the snow storm! The guest group that was supposed to be up here this weekend rescheduled their retreat due to the chance that they would have been snowed in at Camp. So I’m hoping that we end up getting as much, if not more, predicted snowfall! As I wait for the storm to come, let me fill you in with what has been happening in my life at Camp:
-Right after Christmas break things are always a little slow with my job. Thus I decided to spend a little bit of time in the morning working on reading different Christian books to grow and challenge my faith. The book that I’m still working on reading, and I would highly recommend, is called 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures by Jason Georges. It has absolutely blown me away of just how deep, multifaceted, and complete the gospel is!!!!
-At the end of January, the GAPS and a few of us staff took a Mental Health First Aid class, where we learned how to identify symptoms of different mental struggles (i.e. depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders, ADHD, someone that is suicidal). It was an extremely heavy and sobering class that challenged me to be more observant and intentional with the people around me. I’m asking that God will give me courage and wisdom on what to do when I know that different people are struggling.
-We were so blessed to have four snowy, cold, fun, and encouraging weekends of winter camps. Since COVID started, I haven’t taken for granted the amazing blessing of being able to use our facilities to create a place where kids can have fun, feel safe, and are able to hear the gospel being preached.   I think one of the sweetest times for me was being able to spend time with the non-counseling staff during staff devotionals after dinner clean up. It is hard for me to fully explain, but it was during those discussions, prayer time, and just hanging out, that I could understand how much these staff members enjoyed coming up to a safe community outside of their everyday life.
-I’ve just started teaching a servant leadership class with the GAP students, which has been a fun challenge. I’m pretty good at public speaking, but I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to become better at teaching. The curriculum that I’m using is interactive and discussion based. Thus I think the main skill that I will be learning is discerning when to let the conversations continue and when I need to redirect it. As I was preparing for this class, I was curious to see what part of the class would challenge the GAPs. After the first class, I was surprised by the fact that it will probably be to honestly share their life story with one another. Thus, I’m excited for them to have the opportunity to learn how to create a safe culture that enables people to vulnerable.
-Since the beginning of January, I’ve been able to go back to Family Life Services (FLS) to volunteer on Thursday nights. It has been so much fun to be able to go back and hangout with the kids! I’m in the class with two high school kids, which is a lot of fun. They really enjoy doing crafts, so we’ve repainted the teen room, done tie-dye, made lava lamps, galaxy jars, glittery jar lamps, and slime. I’m not that artsy or creative, so it is fun doing different creative things with them. It is also an interesting time to learn discernment of what to do when they make different comments that are meant to get a reaction.
-Towards the end of February, I was able to go out to TN to visit Jonathan for a little bit. I would describe the trip as fun, refreshing, and mind blowing….Fun-it was nice to be able to just spend time in person doing everyday activities, such as working out, working on different things, and watching a movie. Refreshing-I enjoyed the opportunity to send some time unplugging from work and enjoying the beauty of a different state. Mind blowing-I got to witness first hand what a freak snow storm does to a place that doesn’t typically deal with snow….I’ve since been thankful for the simple joys of life such as plowed on and off ramps, plowed gas stations, and businesses that are still able to operate when there is 5″ of snow on the ground.
-When I was out in TN, Jonathan got and accepted the offer to work at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. He is going to work as an intern for 10 months, with the end goal of being the director of strength and conditioning for the men’s basketball team. Thus he started working at Longwood this week and will finish his masters at Cumberland online. This means for me that I will leave Camp on May 16, which will give me almost 3 weeks to prepare for our wedding. After our honeymoon, we will drive out to VA to begin our new life together.
Dan and I have been working on updating the guest service coordinator job description, so that he can hopefully hire someone before I leave. I’ve also been working in a way that will hopefully leave the new person in a better place than I was when I first started my job at Camp.
I would love prayer for several things:
-I will be able to transition well. I want to do this by staying invested in the present, preparing for the future, and resting in God’s sovereignty.
-Dan will be able to hire someone that will be able to do my job better than I was able to.
-Discernment and wisdom for teaching my servant leadership class and when I’m with the two teens at FLS.
-The FLS kids will believe in the gospel; understand that God will never give up on them; He can handle all of their pain, anger, and questions; they will understand how deep and healing the gospel is in the midst of of bad seasons of life; and that they will know that they are seen and loved by everyone that works with them on Thursday night.
Please let me know if there is anything that I can be praying about for you!