Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
Holding hands in a circle and singing “Shalom chaverim” to the starlit sky, I looked around at our group, our eyelids heavy after a busy week of games, crafts, workshops and singing. As we sang, my mind wandered to my own summer camp experiences where I first truly saw the face of God. It was there as a staff member that I felt called to apply to Global Ministries. On a different continent, in a different culture and surrounded by people I had just met, we sang this same song. There, too, I felt the presence of God.
My week at the International Camp Leadership Conference reaffirmed the belief that I’ve held all along: camp changes lives. There’s something special about cheering on team members in a ridiculous game, chatting and praying with your cabin before bed, and fervently singing a song about a watermelon who aims to conquer the world. At camp, we learn to work as a team, to see past the walls of society’s stereotypes and to provide space for each person to grow.
We know that there’s still work to be done, in our churches, in our communities and in ourselves. We seek to spread the camp spirit outside the walls of summer and across the borders of our countries. We seek to sing the same song around the world: Shalom. Peace.
Lauren Kabat serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Pentecostal Church of Chile at the Shalom Center. Her appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.