Favorite camp meal?

Breakfast — because coffee and toast!

How did you decide to go on KDSM?

Sophomore year at a Cru fall retreat, someone was talking about Summer Missions. I decided it was something I should do; it would be exciting and honor God. But I only wanted to do it if I could find a health-related project. So I searched the website and found KD would offer me the opportunity to work as a camp nurse. I applied with the idea that I could back out at any time. I remember having a phone conversation with Leeann in which she prayed for me and the potential of me coming out to camp. After that, I remember being like, “Okay, this is happening.”

What did you learn by raising support?

Everyone says this, but support-raising is hard. I basically did everything late. I applied late, I sent letters late. I remember sending letters to people I knew, asking for support, and having this sense of dread when no one responded right away. During the process, my grandpa and cat passed away within a week of each other — I was basically a mess for a little bit. I remember feeling angry and depressed and taking my emotions to God instead of running away from Him. And in the end, God provided. The crazy thing was He provided funding through people I assumed wouldn’t want to support me. It was definitely not what I expected and could only have been orchestrated by God.

Talk to us about community.

My KD experience started with me getting on a plane to travel to a state where I’d never been to live with people I’d never met. Usually, in a situation like this, I would be nervous and anxious. But I had a sense of peace surrounding the whole ordeal that could only have been from God. Having said that, I remember being initially disappointed in not making super close friends right away. I hit a turning point about a week into project where I intentionally made the decision to be vulnerable and uncharacteristically open with another student. This opening up on my part led to the beginning of some beautiful friendships. Overall, KD became a place where I felt I belonged. I was valued for my unique characteristics. Everyone was, really. All us were so different, it was hard occasionally to get along with some people whose personalities were so different from mine. But through them, I learned how people so different from myself can reflect different aspects of God that I can’t. King’s Domain is now a home.

How has your relationship with God changed?

My summer at KD initiated the single greatest period of spiritual growth in my life to date. I attribute a significant portion of this to being discipled. Systematically going through lies I believed about God and myself and replacing them with biblical truths was a major paradigm shift. I came away from this with a new found sense of my identity in Christ and the fact that my worth was not based on what I did. Realizing and internalizing these truths have had a profound impact on my life every day since KD.

How were you challenged?

Evangelism was the biggest factor that challenged my comfort zone. I am an introvert who is awkward at small talk and meeting people — basically not who you would pick for street evangelism! But this seemingly apparent disconnect made me depend on God for results and showed me the value of an avenue for introducing people to Jesus that I had previously not given much credit.

What’s your summer summary?

KD was a great summer. I got to spend 10 weeks playing with kids; helping campers and counselors when they were sick or hurt; learning about God’s character and my identity in Him; riding firetrucks, mechanical bulls, and roller coasters; experiencing the beauty of grace and community; expanding my joke archive; and being made fun of for my accent.

Any last words?

God is doing great things all over the world, including at King’s Domain. He wants to grow you, show you Himself, and use you somewhere. Deciding to partner with God will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Faith Vanderwaal


University of Minnesota

Graduation year

Spring 2015