Favorite camp food?

Corn dogs. Those things were heaven during those crazy days when I couldn’t take any more whining. The corn dogs just erased the stress and helped me overcome new challenges!

How did you decide to go on KDSM?

It was a pretty long process. I knew a few people who had been on KDSM, and my curiosity was piqued when the staff came to Cru at Purdue on a recruiting trip. I asked questions and enjoyed hearing their hearts and what they are all about.

At IndyCC (the Great Lakes region’s winter conference), I talked to Bethany for hours, and I just kept hearing over and over how the Lord works at KD. And I couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to impact kids’ lives. I wanted to be the father figure they had never known. I wanted to be Jesus to them.

Although I was already halfway through the rigorous interview process for a job offering great pay and experience, I stopped to commit to KDSM. I knew it would mean financial sacrifice for this year, but I had peace about it.

How did discipleship impact and equip you?

Throughout the summer, I grew closer to my group (Micah, Pat, and Matt) than anyone else at KD because I was able to be extremely real and could talk about anything and everything. Every time we met, I was able to get real-time feedback on things that were going on in my life. I am so thankful for these lifelong friendships and our time growing in the Lord together.

How did evangelism experiences impact and equip you?

These times were so stretching. Typically, we went sharing on our days off — the days when, honestly, I didn’t want to. Ultimately, my attitude led to greater opportunities for the Lord to step in and amaze me. I had some absolutely incredible conversations with homeless men in Cincinnati, which wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t in step with the Spirit. He led me to these men, humbled me, and showed how anyone can encourage me in my faith.

Plus, I was prepared to return home because we went to the University of Cincinnati. Back on campus, all of that experience is directly applicable to my daily life.

How did the teaching during KDSM impact and equip you?

The teaching at KD was top-notch. I can honestly say that I learned something new each week from the men that taught us. I still find it incredible how deeply we studied Psalm 23 and how to view the Lord as our Shepherd.

How have you seen yourself change because of KDSM?

Each week, in the midst of some trial, I saw God show up in my weakness. He softened my heart when it was hardened by stress. He spoke to children who wanted to speak to me about Him when I didn’t want to talk at all.

In addition, I’ve learned I am so much more capable than I had thought — and I don’t want to forget that. I am more of a leader than I had thought. I am more fun than I had thought. (That sounds weird, but it’s true.) I can’t even put into words all that I learned.

Honestly, it was also sort of preparation for fatherhood. Though for only a week at a time, we were with the kids 24/7 trying to teach them as much as possible while being almost entirely responsible for them. While parenthood is probably awhile away, I feel more confident I’ll be a good dad someday.

How has your relationship with God changed?

One of the coolest things is that I got to experience the love and grace of God without even knowing it. I can look back at each week, recall a specific trial I faced (e.g., sickness, physical or emotional exhaustion, specific troubled campers), and see how God used that weakness to display His strength. He exposed what was weak in my life, making me rely on Him that much more. I know I can trust Him through it all.

How was being part of KD’s first teen camp?

It was probably my favorite week of camp and is still dearest to me. Because of their living situations, the kids had some insightful questions about life I had never considered, forcing me to depend on the Lord as I searched scripture for answers. They were soul searching, and I was able to make a small mark on their lives in a critical time of their development.

Currently, I work with kids from a similar demographic at a community center, and I feel equipped for what I’m experiencing. Yes, working with at-risk kids is hard, but I would be a mess at work if it weren’t for teen camp and other emotionally challenging weeks this summer.

Why should someone consider KDSM?

You will see God clearly in everything. You will absolutely go through trials, and it isn’t easy. But God will pull you through. Each and every week, God used the campers to teach us! How cool is that?

It is so powerful to see a child put his trust in the Lord for the first time. It is so powerful to pray with a child as he receives Christ. It is so powerful to do this alongside other college students. You will encounter the Lord in ways you would have never expected, and it is truly a life-changing experience. Don’t miss out!

Michael Ooms

School

Purdue University

Graduation year

Fall 2015

Major

Movement and Sport Science