Hello all,

I really enjoy mixing different things together and seeing what happens. This is why I love cooking. Choosing the ingredients, preparing them in a specific way so that you are able to explore new flavors, all to delight the sense of smell and taste.

It is also why I love camp. Every year, kids who do not know each other are put into close proximity with strangers in the context of Heartland Camp. Over the course of a single week, friendships are formed, laughter binds hearts together, and prayers are said in praise of God who created us all. These experiences make us into a new community, flavored with the love of God and the friends we make along the way.

This is my first time directing Culinary Camp. The kids learned how to chop onions and bell peppers and sautéed them as a delicious topping for hot dogs. We experimented with skillet cornbread. One of our campers had a birthday this week and so we made a birthday cake and buttercream frosting (from scratch!). We also made chocolate chip cookies.

And as it happens each year, I am delighted to see the joy sparked by kids being pushed to try new things and realizing that they could do them. Seeing the sharp, bright smile of a child who has a new sense of confidence in themselves and in their relationships with those around them is one of the best feelings I get each year. These young people take such pride in their accomplishments. And they should, because they know that the accomplishments are their own. It is wonderful to see them grow over such a short period of time.

Our theme this year is "Wonder," and as we have gone through this week we have challenged our youth to ask questions: about how to cook, who God is, and how we are in relationship with God and each other. Tonight, as we prepare to celebrate communion together, I know that God will bless us again with his Spirit as we are formed once more into the body of Christ. We will, as the apostle Paul says, taste and see that the Lord is good. And in doing so we will be transformed to be Christ's faithful disciples bearing the good news into all the world.

Thank you for sharing your kids with us.

Jason Carle