Favorite camp food?
That’s a toss-up between the turkey hotshot sandwiches and the beef tips and noodles. Those are two of my favorites at home, so they were automatically my favorites at camp.
How did you decide to go on KDSM?
For me, it was easy. During my freshman year, my staff leader saw the King’s Domain booth at Epicenter (winter conference) and pointed me in their direction. After speaking briefly with Luke and Christine, I felt in my heart that it was where I belonged. While considering KDSM as a serious option, I expected raising support and settling for a limited summer income to be difficult, but I also knew God would provide. I was pushed over the edge by the opportunity to serve the Lord in a unique way — giving kids the chance to experience camp and Jesus, many for the first time!
(After investing one summer at KD, I felt a strong pull to do so for a second year. So I did!)
What did you learn by raising support?
First of all, I’ll acknowledge that it is both intimidating and difficult. You just have to stick with it and trust that the Lord will provide! Raising support taught me to build relationships with my supporters. They invested in my life, and I should invest in theirs also.
Why invest a summer serving at a camp?
Being a counselor impacted me more than I realize. I always went into each week praying I could impact my kids, but I never realized until they’d gone home just how much they had impacted me. The difficult home lives many of them face has made me truly grateful for the life with which the Lord has blessed me.
In addition, my camp ministry experience has greatly benefited me since returning to school. Currently, I have an internship with a local youth group, and the lessons I both learned and taught as a counselor continue to be applicable to students’ lives. Working at a camp has forced me to be prepared for anything. As a result, I am able to handle much more confidently and gracefully the unexpected situations and topics that arise within the youth group.
How did evangelism experiences impact and equip you?
Evangelism is a challenge to all Christians. As we initiated spiritual conversations with students at the University of Cincinnati, I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and became more confident in my ability to interact with people I don’t know. In addition, we shared the gospel with our kids during each week of camp. Every day, I talked to my campers about Jesus and what he has done for them.
Although I attend a Christian university, I still have opportunities to reach out to students who don’t know the Lord. Meanwhile, I am also constantly engaging in gospel conversations with the youth from my internship.
Talk to us about community.
The community at King’s Domain is the most tight-knit I have ever experienced. We spent most of our time together and grew close very fast. Without fail, someone is always available to talk, cry, or laugh with you. We also encourage one another to seek the Lord and challenge one another to go beyond our comfort zones. I love chances to simply spend time together telling funny camper stories, talking about how we saw God throughout the week, or just laughing about nothing.
How have you seen yourself change because of KDSM?
Before coming to King’s Domain, I had a hard time trusting people and letting them in. I would pretend everything was okay when, inside, it was all but okay. Being at KD, I learned, “It’s okay to not be okay.” Initially, allowing anyone to see my real self (in discipleship and small groups) was difficult, but eventually, my vulnerability led to closer relationships.
How has your relationship with God changed?
Prior to my first summer at KD, I was very self-reliant and prideful. I had faith in God, but I still believed I could do everything on my own and had no need to rely on Him for anything. Throughout the course of the past two summers, I have realized my dependence on the Lord is anything but a weakness. Now, I strive to rely on Him and kill my pride. I need God in my everyday life, and He is the One who gives me strength to press on.
Can you summarize your KD experience?
King’s Domain has turned into a second home for me. The project students and staff are just like family. Occasionally, I find myself questioning how much one week of camp can change a child, but then I watch as the kids try to hold back tears while saying their goodbyes. As a counselor, I have had the amazing privilege of planting seeds in children’s hearts, hoping they will desire to seek Christ. Without question, KDSM is one of the most challenging things I have ever experienced, but it is also one of the best and most rewarding.
Would you recommend KDSM?
Yes! It is such a unique opportunity to learn about yourself and the Lord. Being in college provides flexibility during the summer, so I would encourage every college student to trust God by investing an entire summer in full-time ministry. He can use each of us in amazing ways if we trust Him!