Our theme for the summer is I AM, but this week for our Senior High Challenge campers I have seen them embrace a slightly different theme: I AM up for the challenge.

Every Sunday before camp begins I am reminded that the Lord is doing new things at Heartland. This was no different when I first met the six women who make up this week’s Senior High Challenge camp. Within the first hour of camp, the campers were already faced with a challenge: getting the fire to start for dinner. At our evening worship on Sunday, I got to hear all about how they finally got the fire to start after an hour of hard work and strategic log placement. I also got to hear about the story behind their group name, The Meat Hands. The group had chosen their name after a battle with some ground beef for their meat sauce. From then on it only made sense that they each got to choose which meat their hands were specifically. The silliness that gave way to their name did not stop at Sunday night.

After worship I had the pleasure of staying over with our challenge campers for the first night in our brand new hogans. During this time we got to talk about our highs of the day and several campers spoke about how close their group already felt.

Listening to the group’s highs I felt myself similarly astounded by the Meat Hand’s abilities to open up to one another and push themselves out of their social comfort zones in order to get to know the other campers better. This group is also uniquely mature, not the kind of mature where they are too cool or too old to participate, but the kind of maturity that leads them to interact and build up our younger campers by serving them first in the cookout line and swimming with them in the shallow end of the pool. This maturity also revealed itself through asking difficult questions about our God; such as why does our God allow suffering? These are the moments where I begin to feel that the Lord is allowing me, allowing our staff, and allowing one another to have a glimpse at the immense love that He holds for each one the women that make up Senior High Challenge.


In addition to seeing a great amount of maturity from the Meat Hands, I have also seen and experienced goofiness, determination, laughter, and worship with them. Whether they are decorating chalkboards, swimming in the pool, riding horses, conquering the rock wall, climbing up the biggest hill on camp to their cabins or setting camp records on our continuous belay, this group has embraced all that each moment has to offer.

As a director, I find myself constantly praying thanks to our God for allowing me to witness a part of His kingdom in the Meat Hands. When the Word speaks of heavenly treasures I know that the moments shared with this group is what He was speaking of and as the week is coming to and end I am combating any sadness with the fact that these memories, these treasures, these relationships, and these challenges we’ve faced and overcome are eternal.

Thank you for the opportunity to witness our Creator through your children. What a blessing they truly are.

1 Peter 2:9-10

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Emma Norwood

Senior High Challenge Camp Director