Working Alongside God

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.

7 thoughts on “Working Alongside God

  1. Love reading about how God is working in Romania, you are a blessing to those who are there, and those who aren’t. Those of us who can’t go abroad love reading your stories, we are living through you all. Hope you have a safe journey back, hugs to all!

  2. Team-

    I know some of you may say that I’m addicted to reading your posts but don’t worry, I just miss you guys a lot and am so amazed by all the things you have done already. Like I said, I am eager and willing to hear all of your stories in person as well!

    The ways that God is moving in you, through you, and in the Romanians brings a smile to my face. Even if it is by reading a blog post I am so happy to be seeing you guys open yourselves up (whether to what God is doing or pouring condiments on your head).

    Ben Hershberger- Wonderful post 🙂 I can’t wait to hear about everything when you get back! I had a mini breakdown today when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to see you all the time in the halls this year… basically we need to catch up before you go out and leave again!

    Ali- thanks for the shoutout girlfriend, I know it was completely out of your love for me and not based on any prompting from a certain someone… 🙂 I sure hope you brought those cards I gave you! I miss you lots and can’t wait to talk for hours when you get back!

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Later Gators,
    Madtown (Madison Pincombe)

  3. Ben – you are a hard act to follow (meaning I’m having a hard time putting into words what I’m feeling right now)! I’m so grateful that God has a hold of you, Dan & Jenna! Even tho I’m super thrilled that you 3 have the courage/trust to follow where ever God leads – even if it is far away – I’m missing you a ton right now! The house is SOOOO quiet – – too quiet! I knew I’d have to let you all go someday, but didn’t realize I’d get a taste of it this summer!

    I’m so proud of this team! We friends/family feel privileged to walk and pray along side you all as you experience firsthand working and serving along side God in Romania.

    We’ll pray over your debrief these next few days as it is so wise to sit together & digest (using your food theme!) all you’ve just seen, heard, felt and loved. We pray for insight, patience (with yourself & others) and jaw-dropping awe at what God is up to.

    Papa Hersh and I just got back from an Hershberger-side family wedding in MN. My job this week is to prepare for a trip to Prague on Thursday (with family from the Hartman-side on a mission!), but all I can think about is making sure I get to see you and Dan for a few minutes on Thursday afternoon. Oh for the love of family!

    Isn’t it crazy how we take family for granted & have so much of it?!? You all just ministered to new friends that are lacking blood family, but now have you all as their God-blessed family!

    Enjoy your debrief! Can’t wait to see you on Thursday afternoon at O’Hare!

    SO to Ben and Dan for trusting God enough to let me go to Prague for a week (& you’ll get a small dose of what I’m feeling!). Plus Dad will be home next week so you’re not totally on your own 😉

    SO to the leaders for making it this far! You all rock! And we parents really appreciate you pouring into our kids so they could be God’s ambassadors.

    SO to the whole team: Keep following hard after God – He’s up to something great in each one of you! Dare to dream!

    Love to all!
    Linda (Momma Hersh)

  4. Thanks for the S/O! I hope you gave everyone a huge hug from me! 😊 Debbie and family say hi and we’re all praying for a safe journey home for you. Ben, you’ve become quite the blog author–it’s so fun to hear from you and get to read about your adventures from Nairobi! So proud of you and Dan (and the rest of the team)! Love you guys!!

  5. Hey guys!

    Hoping/praying debrief is going well, and that everyone is able to process what you’ve experienced. I can’t think of a better group of people to have gone and served (or to play the parts of the crazy chefs.)

    I’m really looking forward to hearing all the stories from camp and your time before and after, and all the little steps you got to see people take.

    Garlic Ben: This is going to make it so much easier to tell which Ben you are, as long as you don’t mind being paired with food in people’s minds (ask Cabbage how that’s worked out for him).

    See you soonish!

  6. What an awesome recap of camp through the eyes of a second-timer. Thank you, Ben! You guys are all amazing. We are excited for all God has done through you and excited to have you home soon. Home stretch! 🙂

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