(THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN JUNE OF 2015)

An insider's view on how Heartland is preparing for this incredible Christ-filled summer.

Starting Strong with Morning Watch

Every morning campers and counselors get the opportunity to spend one on one time with God and His word, this time is called morning watch.  Afterwards, everyone comes together to see how the Lord spoke to each of them in that passage. Discussing the passage and answering questions that may have come up allows the campers and counselors to relate to one another and to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. It is important to start each day in His word.

Some members of the staff shared what stood out to them during morning watch:

“Morning watches have taught me to rely more and more on God’s word. That nothing other than him can sustain us. And that most importantly, we are called to love because he first loved us. ”

— Rachael Jongsma; Counselor

These verses inspired her feelings on morning watch:

"We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him." Romans 8:28
"... But I gain nothing if I do not have love." 1 Corinthians 13:3 

“During morning watch specifically, I have noticed and realized just how patient and caring God is. He has provided me with such great understanding and courage to dive deeper into his word every day”

— Sarah Wages; Counselor

“YOU ARE WORTHY.”

— Alison Lorei; Videographer

“Just a constant reminder on how much growth I still have before me.”

— Matthew Taylor; Head Wrangler

 

Once the morning watch has ended the plans for the day begin. Training consists of going over  policies for the camp to be run professionally and smoothly. The staff also spends a great amount of time having thought provoking conversations and doing team building activities to prepare each other spiritually for their campers. Our community finds this vital to making our campers feel loved and at home. Some of the ways that they help make this place feel fun and comfortable is by playing games throughout each day. All of the staff have their particular favorites and ways they see God in these games. It is in the debriefing of games at camp that campers realize the fun that they had glorified God, which is something that each counselor hopes to express.

Some of the staff shared their favorite games and how they related that game back to God:

“My favorite game is sprout tag. I see God because it’s a game of second chances. Just like in our walk with the Lord, if you get out, there are essentially limitless opportunities to get back in. God’s mercies are new every morning.”

— Jenna Pierce; Counselor

“Ninja- I don’t have a fancy metaphor for the game, but I love how it takes a ton of different people and let’s them find joy in the community God’s given us.”

— Micah Black; Counselor

Something that we emphasize at Heartland is that no matter where you are or where you go you can worship Jesus in everything you do. The time splashing in the pool and the times spent around the campfire singing to the Lord are both pleasing to the Lords eyes and ears. At the end of the day, no matter what we're doing, we all hope that each camper walks away knowing that God is on their side and talking to Him isn’t something to be afraid of. 

We end each day at Heartland with what we call Vespers.  This is time around the bonfire singing and worshipping as one. We go over a passage in the Bible and discuss thoughts over what was read. Vespers is to lean on one another in Christ and continue to grow as a community. It is an intimate time with the body and the Lord.  We intentionally start and end each day with the word of God. We pray that this creates a lasting closeness between campers and the Lord even once they leave camp.

Here some of the staff shares the things they have felt during Vespers:

“Talking about joy in Christ at vespers really motivated me to focus on why I am at Heartland which is to serve a living God. It provided me a lot of peace in a busy time.”

— Shelby Voigt; Program Associate

“Vespers has brought a realization of how amazing Gods creation is around me and seeing how God loves me even though I’m not perfect!”

— Missy Jackson; Counselor

“God is really present here. He is always trying to show us something here and there’s always something more we can learn about Him here.”

— Tyler Brotton; Counselor

“When I’m in nature, when the Holy Spirit moves through the worship, and everyone knows this is why we are here, to feel this, to see His work, and to show it to others by serving but also experiencing Him”

— Catherine Norwood; Head Media

The purpose each summer at Heartland is to build relationships and impact lives for Jesus Christ. The brothers and sisters in Christ that now make up the staff are excited to welcome the summer of 2015 campers and make that purpose a reality! So, welcome campers and let's see what the Lord does here this summer!!


Written by: Lauren Woody

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