April 21, 2017
Some thoughts from Luke Taylor, one of our current HoneyRock Fellows:
For my wife and I, camp ministry was one of those things that seemed like it was probably a long way off. We'd met at a camp in Estes Park, CO in the summer of 2012 and, after we got married in January of 2016, we began to dream about what a life together in camp ministry might look like. However, in a world where experience is highly valued in the process of acquiring employment, and limited opportunities for volunteering in our local context, we were ultimately left wondering how or when we would be able to pursue this dream.
Through a series of grace-filled events, my wife began an application for the HoneyRock Fellows program, but we were still under the impression that a move to Three Lakes, WI from Lynchburg, VA was just not in the cards for our newly formed household. I had a stable full-time job, our mouths were fed, and those student loan payments weren't going to stop coming.
It was after a staff member contacted my wife and encouraged her to complete an application when we realized that there might be the rumblings of some seismic event that would occur in our lives. We took a hard look at what the Fellows program actually was, and the array of other exciting things that were happening at HoneyRock with the graduate school and Vanguard programs, and we felt that we were being offered a chance at really living into something that to us, at that point, was only a dream for the future. The opportunity to live in close community with people, to be a presence in the collective life of a cohort of transitioning young people, and to gain hands-on experience in the Christian camping world really made this a no-brainer for my wife and I. We knew that we'd come into a moment that would likely define the trajectory of our life together forever. It was as if Christ chose HoneyRock for us, he opened a door into the wild, and all we had to do was say "yes". But questions abounded: would there be enough money? What about health insurance? What does Wisconsin look like? What if the people are crazy? Where are we even going? Who does this? In the end, the scales tipped in favor of leaving those questions up to the Lord. The opportunity to take the plunge into camp ministry was in front of us, and we were stepping into that wild with Christ as our guide.
You know that process you go through when you're determining whether or not such and such a decision will likely end with a positive outcome? That process where you're working basically with hypotheticals, the imagination and the internet (that's what we had)? Our time at HoneyRock, even after two months, has proven to us that we are very good at imposing limits on what Christ can accomplish when He opens doors for us into wild things. I have learned more than I thought, I have experienced hosts of new things, I get to live life with young people who are curious and bright and full of struggles that I've already had and already have. I am experiencing the story of the Kingdom in a way that is so up close and personal. This is an intangible benefit. As a tangible benefit, I am afforded the opportunity to see how a flourishing Christian camping ministry plays out in the world. This implies real life experience that will eventually find its way on to a resume. On an individual level, I have space to explore aspects of my personal spiritual formation that I otherwise would not have. The space includes intellectual space, but also the space of nature and the beauty of Christ's created order. It is amplifying my understanding of my own humanness in the context of divine love in unique and special ways.
If you're like me, maybe you possess some kind of soul-deep restlessness, some sense that you are floating in Christ's world like a listless tumbleweed. Or maybe you're like my wife, and you crave intimate relationality and the inherently communal way of life that camp ministry. Or maybe it's something entirely different. Either way, there is authentic experience to be had in this place, and we are living, discovering, and "being" in it day after day.