I was on fire for God and I loved working at summer camps, but I didn’t realize just how many more lessons God had in store for me.

I had spent the previous two Summers working at Trout Lake Camps in Pine River, Minnesota. And though I loved it, I felt it was time to move on to something new. After finishing my tenure at camp and going on a missionary trip to Bucharest, Romania, I came back knowing that I wanted to continue to do ministry in an outdoors setting. So I typed “best Christian summer camps” into my search engine. Two camps caught my eye. I applied to both in late August for the following summer, and began a very long waiting period.

Then one day in the middle of December, while I was at the St. Louis Science Center, I received a call from Rock-N-Water telling me that I would have to redo my letter of introduction… because I had botched it.

Listening to Others

I felt dejected. That they probably wouldn’t want me if I couldn’t even send in a letter right. But a few weeks later on New Year’s day I went back to Trout for a former staff celebration and I discussed my summer plans with Jen Abramson, a former California native. I told her I had applied to Rock-N-Water but after messing up hadn’t bothered to resend my application. She said she had been to the camp before, loved it, and thought I would do really well there and encouraged me to complete the application process. I listened to her wise counsel and proceeded to listen to her wisdom over the two phone interviews. I thoroughly enjoyed the interviews, because they asked good questions that I found hard to answer. Not just hard to verbalize, but sometimes difficult to admit to myself what the truth might be.

A journey into the unknown

Somehow I wound up being one of the seven selected for the 2017 summer volunteer program, and began to prepare for camp by exercising and getting the necessary gear. After a long and arduous journey from Oklahoma, I finally made it camp.

It has been an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience, but also very physically challenging. I’d say the two hardest things we did was going on a six mile hike in the mountains with 60-70 lb packs, and paddling against the wind in Folsom Lake after already rafting 20 miles of whitewater earlier in the day. But the adventures are well worth the effort. Even outside of camp I get to explore. I’ve gotten to go rock climbing in Tahoe, and the view from the mountains was perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Getting to enjoy the glory of God’s creation with several friends I have on staff was a memory I’m going to treasure.

Drawing closer to God

I think Rock-N-Water has got me completely convinced that I need to move out to Northern California. This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Not only that, but I’m seeing fruit bearing from my time out here. It was a big leap of faith to come out to a place where I had no pre-existing relationships, but God has been very faithful to me. I feel as a result of not having any friends that God drew me deeper into prayer than I have ever gone before. I feel closer to God then ever as a result of it. And though I’ve lost my car and a fair amount of clothes, God has given me new experiences, skills, friends, and best of all, showing me that my identity should be in him and anchoring in his love.

I no longer feel I have to compare myself to others and I don’t care about measuring up anymore, all I care about is my relationship with the Lord and whether I’m giving Him my best effort. I needed this lesson that I learned while working here, and God has been humbling me throughout the experience. I feel the continual message has been, “you’ve come so far, but you have so much farther still to go”. I’m so thankful to the Lord for what he’s been doing in my life and the lives of others here, and while the glory ultimately goes to him, Rock-N-Water has been an integral part in his designs.

By: Dillon Drew – Member of the ROCKs Volunteer Team 2017