Before camp started, Dana told us that this year’s camp would not be about fun. She wanted a strong focus on the gospel and deeper conversations. Although Dana (mostly joking) said fun was not allowed, we had a TON of fun at camp this past week. Being blessed with the opportunity to return to work with along with Open Roads ministry two years in a row, I (Ben Hersh) have seen incredible development and progress in the campers and greater levels of spiritual maturity in my friends on the Open Roads leadership team. Being here for just a week once a year, the changes I see are extremely clear and encouraging.
The development of the campers is a HUGE testament to the Open Roads team and the work they do week in and week out, sharing the love of God. As the team from Blackhawk, we only get to be here once a year for a week. We have the chance to partner with this wonderful ministry and encourage the leaders. Camp was a remarkably uplifting experience for us and for the Open Roads team.
Those of you who have been to Snow Camp or Fall Weekend or HSM Live recently, you will know that the program is led by a few characters who lead games and generally have crazy amounts of energy. This week at camp Hannah, Ali, Dakota and I had the opportunity to be characters for program at camp. We were crazy chefs named Chef Chupergutza (Hannah), a small mushroom (that spelling is definitely wrong), Chef Shaorma (see Cabbage and Dan’s post), and Garlic Ben (me obviously). Dakota got to pour condiments on his head to the theme of 2001 A Space Odyssey at the end of each of our times on stage. We had a blast bringing crazy, food themed games and dance moves to large group all week. We also realized how difficult it can be to muster up energy when you feel pretty spent, thanks to all of our leaders in the past through HSM who have either been characters for program or just put up with us in general! You all rock.
This week, Jimmy made a point saying that coming to Christ rarely, if ever, happens in an instant. Rather it takes a collection for experiences and interactions with Christ followers for a person to choose to follow Christ. Though most of us didn’t have the chance to witness a camper coming to Christ (though some did, TRIPLE WOOHOO), we got to interact with them and be examples of Christ through our actions more than our words. For example, if it takes 200 steps to come to Christ, we may not have been that 200th step, but we may be been steps 55, 56 and 57 for our new camper friends. These three steps are as essential as the last one. God used us in ways in ways that we don’t even know, and may never know until we see Him at the end and that’s a beautiful thing.
God showed up in a BIG way at camp this past week. There is nothing quite like working alongside God and feeling his presence so obviously. It was a blessing and on honor to be part of such a special week.
Shoutout to Momma and Papa Hersh! Once again, you have children in all corners of the World! Thanks for trusting God and letting us explore His love and His world. Dan and I love you and miss you guys.
And to Jenna, more people have told to me say hi to you than I can count. You are loved greatly here and missed even after three years! You’ve clearly left a huge mark here. It’s an honor to have such a wonderful legacy to keep. Enjoy Kenya! Give Debbie a big hug for Dan and I.