For all of us who have been campers or worked on staff, we've heard it so many times..."I want to stay at camp forever!" I have heard and thought it more times than I could ever wish to count. Now having some time to reflect since my last summer on staff (2011), I can see why God provides places like Camp Gilead to be a temporary place for a permanent change. The lessons I learned, the people I met and the way Christ worked in me could have only been accomplished in those three summers at camp. Wanting to stay at camp forever is a selfish desire of my flesh not wanting to put what I have learned to the test! I am reminded of a set of verses in Romans chapter 1 where Paul says to the Church of Rome...
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you, always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you - that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:8-12 ESV)"
For me, the desire is very strong to return each and every summer to continue the ministry that happens at Camp Gilead, but understanding and accepting that God's will has men and women who want to serve God there on staff this summer, learning the same lessons that have profoundly impacted my life, is something I rejoice in. I am encouraged by the step of faith that each staff member is taking by being on staff this summer and I am strengthened by the memories that The Lord has allowed me to have at camp.
As Paul wanted so much to be with the church at Rome, many want to be in ministry with God's servants at Gilead. Just as Paul prays without ceasing for the church at Rome, many people across this country pray for you at Gilead. I pray that the ministry at Gilead remains strong, not just this summer, but for decades to come so that God may allow many, many more staffers like myself to be impact through the grace and divine plan of God!
In His Service,
Tyler Pagel * Staff Alumni 2009 - 2011