Hello! My name is Melissa Ruhlman and I am a counselor at Camp Gilead this summer! I have been attending family camp and kids camps literally since I was born, but this is my first summer actually being on staff at this amazing place.
This past week brought the first batch of campers to Cabin 7 (also known as Castle 7)! Since this was the first week of my first summer as a counselor, and it was junior high week, I was extremely nervous Monday morning as my campers began to arrive. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to them, if I could keep order, if they would respect me, if anything I said or taught throughout the week would resonate with them, or if they would even like me. Greeting them, I came to find out that eight out of the nine girls played on the same soccer team together….and at first thought, made me feel somewhat intimidated and even more nervous because I didn’t know if the cabin would be able to mesh together as it ought. Also, I came to realize throughout the week that most all of the girls, as far as I can surmise, had some sort of a relationship with Christ; not necessarily a growing and healthy one, but they all claimed to have made a commitment to Him in their younger years. Because of this fact, and since none of them publicly came forward after any of the chapels to make any spiritual decisions, I began to get somewhat discouraged and feel like a failure in my job as a counselor.
It wasn’t until Friday, after the campfire during the cabin devotions, when I realized how wrong and prideful my thinking was. The girls in my cabin took turns saying one specific thing that they were going to work on or change in their life due to what they had learned during the impactful week at camp. Hearing my girls commit to read the Bible daily, pray more often, and to share the gospel with their unsaved friends and family was so amazing and made me gulp down my pride. Who was I to question the Lord’s plan for the week and His plan for the girls in my cabin? It is not about how many salvation decisions I can tally down for my cabin, and it is not about what I know and teach during Bible time and the words that I say. It is completely and utterly about God and how He decides to work in my cabin through me, using me only as a tool, as a means to bring about His sovereign plan.
Looking back on the week and the individual girls in my cabin, I can tell that they were all specifically in my cabin because I was exactly like them when I was in junior high. I was crazy, weird, loud, played soccer, and had made a salvation commitment at a young age but didn’t actually live out my faith in everyday life. It was an utterly perfect fit. God used my life experience to be able to relate very well to the girls in my cabin, and I thank Him for being in control of everything, all-knowing, and continuing to use blundering, proud, messed up people like me in His global plan to bring people closer to Him.
Counselor, Cabin 7