Favorite camp food?
That’s a tough call, but I would probably have to say it’s taco night! Although I should clarify that it’s something totally different when we have kids — getting them seconds is crazy.
How did you decide to go on KDSM?
It started with a passion for kids and youth ministry that God put on my heart early in high school. For years, I had looked and prayed for a place to invest my passion. During my sophomore year of college, King’s Domain staff came to our Cru fall retreat to promote KDSM. I remember a wave of excitement and enthusiasm coming over me as they explained that staff would faithfully pour into me so I could, in turn, pour into the lives of many kids through camp ministry!
It was a very challenging decision to make because I knew God was leading me to King’s Domain, but support-raising seemed impossible! To say I was scared would be an understatement. I considered other summer camps, but something kept pulling me back to KD. Deep down, I knew it was where I needed to be. I really didn’t think I’d ever end up saying yes, but with the relentless (and quite pushy) encouragement of my friends, two weeks before the start of project, I said yes!
Why invest a summer serving at a camp?
God used summer camp to awaken me to His love and grace when I was 12. Since then, I have been passionate about how God uses camp ministry to reveal truth to children.
Serving as a camp counselor is difficult at times, but seeing kids arrive at a lightbulb moment when they realize the depth of God’s love for them is overwhelming. And I got to experience that week after week! My faith was deepened as I saw God’s hand move in my campers’ lives.
It was often the little things. Like when Rudi, a homesick camper, went from tears to a full smile when I related his love for his family to God’s even deeper love for him. Or when Zack pointed to Psalm 139 and said, “Look! It says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” Or when a camper’s struggle with self-confidence seemed to vanish as he climbed higher on the power pole than he thought he could. Or when Will asked me at 1 a.m. how he could be sure he’ll go to heaven. I am amazed at how much God taught me through the kids every week!
Serving at King’s Domain provided me invaluable experience and helped to confirm my call to camp or youth ministry. I hope I get to serve Christ in this capacity for, well, the rest of my life!
How did discipleship impact and equip you?
I learned how to be real, open, and honest about the struggles I face. The men in my group cared for me, and I actually felt a peace talking about deep and previously unshared parts of my life. In addition, we took time just to be friends with each other by going down to the shop to work on each other’s cars or getting ice cream.
Discipleship at KD has helped me to be more vulnerable with my small group back on campus and has played a significant role in equipping me to disciple others.
Talk to us about community.
Both years on KDSM, I was blown away by how much the group changed throughout the summer. On day one, everyone is clueless about each other. On the last day, everyone is so broken up about leaving their new best friends.
Camp ministry brings out the best and worst in each of us, which creates a unique attachment to one another. We learned quickly to rely on the group to make it through each week. Whether through a note of encouragement or a necessary confrontation, we became real and open with each other. In fact, I’ve never met a group of people so intentional about getting to know me beyond a surface level.
Any specific life-changing moments?
When I was in sixth grade, I accepted Christ at summer camp after a leader presented the gospel. Ever since, I’ve dreamed of being that guy — the one who gets to stand in front of a group of kids at camp and share the most incredible message. While Bethany shared the gospel early in the summer, I distinctly remember thinking, Wow, I’d love to do that someday, but I don’t know if I could ever work up the guts to speak in front of everyone like that. Still, I couldn’t deny my desire and prayed for an opportunity.
During the last week of residential camp, Bethany asked me to share the gospel with all of the kids. Initially, I was overwhelmed and couldn’t believe she had asked me, especially because of how my life had been changed by someone else taking a similar step of faith.
When that evening came, I was filled with anxiety, but I realized God had answered my prayer (very promptly!) and simply wanted me to trust Him. I can’t even begin to tell you how challenging and significant that experience was for me.
Would you recommend KDSM?
If you’re serious about knowing the Lord on a deeper level, absolutely! The challenges push you to deeper levels than you knew possible. Plus, I think the coolest part is that while you’re growing in your faith, you get to be a best friend to lots of needy kids while overflowing your love for Christ into their lives. God has used KDSM to change my life, and He will undoubtedly use it to change yours!
The Ohio State University
Computer Science and Engineering