I spent every summer in college working with Eagle Lake Camps and God made sure to not let that time go to waste. When I look back I can see His hand working in every awkward introduction, every late night conversation, every hour of cleaning bathrooms, and every voice-shattering cheer. I know the time and energy I spent with Eagle Lake was not just a fun summer job in college. God not only used those summers to continue to mold me into the image of His son but also to invite me further into his ministry of reconciliation. What a privilege to be even just a small part of a people and a place that God is using to advance His kingdom.
I had heard from friends and older students in the Navs ministry at Colorado State University (Go Rams!) that Eagle Lake would make for the hardest, but best summer of my life. God did far more abundantly than all I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
At the beginning of my first summer I was anxious to make a good first impression and to find where I fit in. Somehow everybody already knew my name, my favorite food, where I went to high school, how many siblings I had, and my credit score. I don’t even know my credit score. All joking aside, this seriously is how Eagle Lake leadership start the summer (minus the credit score) – intentionally including and caring for their summer staff, even in something so small as a name. As orientation passed and the first week of camp came to an end I became aware of an internal battle for my identity. My flesh desired to be highly esteemed by the PCs and other counselors, while the spirit desired for me to be fully engaged in the Luke 2:52 growth of my campers. Day after day, I performed for a crowd, showing my “exemplary service and selflessness,” only to find myself dissatisfied. Binded by toxic comparison and motivated by my reputation, I found myself exhausted by the fourth week.
How pathetic, I thought, to be using God as a stepping stone to my own glory. And how ironic, that in the next few days it was those who I had yearned to show my every strength who ended up knowing one of my biggest weaknesses. The PCs and counselors I had grown close to gently tended my heart back to the Lord and reminded me of his faithfulness. Because of His great love, I was not consumed, for His compassions never failed. They were new every morning. Oh, how faithful! (Lamentations 3:22-23) And how thankful I was that God’s faithfulness was not based on my faithfulness. Even further, when I was not faithful, God still wanted to show that he loved me.
Two weeks later I received a care package from a few of my campers from the second week of camp full of candy, glow-sticks, and bubble gum. Buried beneath it all was a framed picture of our cabin group, Shoshone, along with personal letters from each of them. One camper wrote, “God+Eagle Lake Camps=AWESOME!!! I told my mom about what I learned and now our whole family is going to church! You showed me how much God loves me, I decided to follow Jesus.” It’s hard to describe how floored I was after reading these letters. In the midst of my sin and faithlessness, God showed himself to have an all-surpassing power that permeates all circumstances and hearts (2 Corinthians 4:7). While I was busy reaching for my own glory, God was busy taking it for himself (Isaiah 42:8).
After learning more of God’s heart throughout my first summer, He called me to come back to the mountain for the next two summers serving with Crew – the high school camp focused on service and discipleship. High school is such a formative and fun time in life; to commit 5 weeks of your summer is quite a decision – props to all who’ve done it! Anyone who has spent time serving with Crew, camper or staff, can attest to the amazing community formed over just 5 weeks. However, more than any other lesson, Crew has helped me see the value of discipleship. Somehow, in the midst of the busyness up at camp, campers and staff prioritize and find time to meet together and encourage one another to grow to maturity in Christ. The messiness and chaos of life is met by the truth and peace of the gospel as the term ‘life-on-life’ ministry comes alive. God uses Eagle Lake as a greenhouse for growing His children into laborers for the kingdom of God. The training I received at Eagle Lake prepared me to continue to labor for the kingdom as a brother, son, mentor, and friend. As I drove down the mountain to be with those I love, God worked through me to not only share the gospel of God, buy my life as well (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
One of the beautiful things about Eagle Lake Camps is that it creates margin in your life for God to make big moves. Whether you’re deep in the Rocky Mountains, 10 minutes down the road at the local church, or in your bed at home God wants to talk to you and show you He loves you. Doesn’t it make sense that when the volume of the world is turned way down and the voice of God is turned way up, you hear Him? Take one walk around any Eagle Lake Camps property and around every corner you will find another opportunity to participate in how God is making big moves. Eagle Lake Camps has forever transformed the way I view God and helped me understand how God views me. God is not a distant and uninvolved king on his throne; He hears our cry for mercy and answers with a new heart and abundant life (John 10:10) offered through Jesus Christ. Further, He invites us into His ministry as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We’re on a co-mission with God to reconcile the world to himself in Christ.
God is using Eagle Lake to impact eternity. Eagle Lake Camps empowers young children, high school students, all kinds of college students, and even college grads to live lives transformed by the all-surpassing power of God – to live lives marked by knowing Him and making Him known among their families, friends, and peers.