Why Would God Call ME to Camp?
Is He calling YOU?
I have always felt called to ministry sharing the GOOD NEWS of the love of God!
So in my past I understood God wanting me to be a church youth group leader, and
work with street kids and homeless, and teach Sunday School, and be in children and
family ministries, and work for Girl Scouts etc…
But when I got called to be in camping ministry with my husband, I had no idea why?
I was terrified to move to the tiny town of Joseph, OR! I had only been to one church
camp as an adult instructor so didn’t have a “church camp connection.” I mean, how
much ministry could really happen at camp?
I moved to Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp in January of 2012 and lived in a tiny
wood yurt while we renovated a cabin to live in. I missed my family and friends and felt
LOST and lonely…..I was totally out of my “element.” The camp was SO big and SO
much work! I was overwhelmed! Why, God, did you call me out of my comfort zone to
serve here? Why did people donate their time and money to camps? How was I going to get volunteers? Why would anyone volunteer at a camp? Help me God! Get me out of
here! Why aren’t you answering me, God?
The problem was, I wasn’t listening. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself, I didn’t
LISTEN. And when I finally opened my ears, I heard the voice of God….(and these are true!)
- I am the voice of the ministers who found their calling at camp!
- I am the voice of your 87 year old volunteer who when my wife died was in such despair my pastor suggested I contact camp and volunteer my skills as a woodworker. I have found a new joy and purpose in my life along with many new friends.
- I am the voice of pastors who feel the stress of dealing with SO much! When I am at camp on private retreat being “taken care of,” it refreshes my soul and I feel ready to go back to my church and minister.
- I am the voice of 30 quilters who came to camp to sew quilts for veterans.
- I am the voice of the Nez Perce teen from the Lapwai Reservation. My mom is in prison. My dad died. My sister is in prison (my other sister and I were raising her baby.) I have been abused. I have serious health issues because of my mom’s drug and alcohol use. I live in fear, despair and sadness. I want a mom. I want my dad. For two years, Joseph United Methodist Women paid my way to Wallowa Lake United Methodist Horse Camp. Camp staff took me under their wings and helped me find a safe place to live so I could finish high school. I am going to live and work at camp this summer and then will live with a staff couple in their home. They will keep me safe, will teach me life skills, and will keep me connected with my tribe. I will be surrounded by the love and Good News of Jesus Christ.
- I am the voice of the elderly man whose my wife passed away. I come to Dulcimer Camp each year so I can eat my meals in community rather than all alone.
- I am the voice of the young male staff person who attended weekly staff Bible studies last summer…it was my first time hearing the Good News!
- I am the voice of the Nez Perce, the Niimiipuu for whom this land is sacred, OUR homeland. We have been welcomed here by the United Methodists. We are in conversations of peace and reconciliation. When we are here, our spirits soar. We share our spiritual ceremonies with all who are at camp. We have blessed your teepees, led pow wows, and taught history, customs and dance. We have had a ceremony of mourning for a United Methodist pastor who died. Last year in a special ceremony we were invited to hang our tribal flag next to the American flag, where they now wave side by side. Our children attend Wallowa Lake Camp Horse Camps where we will teach with their leaders. This year for the first time, we are having a family camp for tribal families in crisis. Our teachers come to retreat here.
- I am the voice of a Choir Camper. I learn new songs of praise to take back to my church. I am so inspired by the beautiful music and extraordinary level of instruction we receive here. God is Good!
- I am the voice of a non-believer. I attend an educational retreat at the camp. Each year I am surrounded by loving hospitality and messages about the love of God. Why are these people so kind to me? Is there really a religion with open hearts, open doors, open minds? Could that include me?
- I am the voice of an disillusioned elementary school teacher who vowed to never go to church again. I attended Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp for a writer’s event. I got to know the camp staff and the Camp Director has been my mentor ever since. I now attend Sacramento United Methodist Church every week and am going to volunteer for 6 weeks at camp this summer. I can’t wait to be in such a positive place!
- I am the voice of a woman who has been through 3 years of agony. I lost my mom, I lost my marriage and I lost my job. I almost lost my life at my own hands…camp saved me.
- I am the voice of the small child playing in the creek. I am having SO much fun! I LOVE this place! My parents seem so happy and relaxed! They are spending so much time playing outside with me or visiting with other adults while I play with other kids!
- I am the voice of the older woman at camp with my church family ….I am visiting with another older woman who goes to my church. We have never talked to each other at church but have just spent 2 hours talking after our meal. We realized how much we have in common and can’t wait to spend more time together when we go back home.
- I am the voice of God at Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp.
- I am the voice of God through My beautiful creation, through quiet time, prayer, and meditation.
- I am the voice of God through hospitality, laughter, friendships, and conversations.
- I am the voice of God through education, and music, and quilting together.
- I am the voice of God through my magnificent horses, campfires, games, and silliness.
- I am the voice of God through volunteers, through staff, through prayer flags and sacred chapels.
- I am the voice of God through community, and fellowship and coffee.
- I am the voice of God through fresh mountain air, comfortable beds, and lounge chairs.
- I am the voice of God through clean sheets, handmade quilts, Outdoor Bibles and food made with love.
- I am the voice of God through the songs of birds, the chattering chipmunks, the sweet newborn fawn, and the intricate spider web.
- I am the voice of God in the rush of the river, the coolness of the creek, the wings of the hummingbird and in every blade of grass.
You see…..I am the voice of God through My creation…
and your hands, your donations, your prayers, and your service at Wallowa Lake
United Methodist Camp. Won’t you consider how you can serve God at camp?
UMCRM member Peggy Lovegren has served as Co-Director with her wonderful husband David at Wallowa Lake Camp (OR) since 2012. Before that she was a Regional Manager for Girl Scouts and Director of Children and Family Ministries at the Bend First United Methodist Church. Her background is in Criminal Justice, and that knowledge helps fuel her passion for being in ministry. She has two grown daughters and loves fishing, rock hounding, reading, running, playing games, and being in ministry!