Hey all! My name is Gabby and I am 18 years old. I was born and raised in the great state of Wyoming, and am one of nine kids. This past year, I spent at Living Waters Bible Camp has been one of the most amazing years of my life. There have been a lot of challenges for me to work through, and so many different ways that the Lord has been growing me. I am so incredibly thankful for this experience.

Growing up, I never really had the desire to come to Living Waters and serve. I came as a camper 10 years ago, and had a blast, but unlike a lot of my siblings, I never wanted to volunteer or be on summer staff. Apparently, God had a different plan for me!

Last spring, I was praying about where to go for the summer, and there were a couple of different doors open at the time. As soon as COVID hit, most of those doors closed, except for the one to come to LWBC. I still wasn’t completely sold on coming to camp, but decided to trust God and go where He was leading me. Pretty much as soon as I arrived at camp, I knew that it was where God was wanting me. God gave me this amazing feeling of peace and I just knew it was the right place at the right time. Once I got to camp, I didn’t again doubt that this is where I was supposed to be for this season of life.

 The summer was crazy busy and challenging. Being on program staff during this weird summer of COVID required us to facilitate our programs four times a day, unlike the usual once a day for a normal summer. Four times a day! That’s crazy for anyone to do, especially a quiet introvert like me! But God grew me through it and showed me just how much I needed Him to restore me and give me life each and every day.

 I decided to stay for Teleios pretty early on in the summer. I didn’t completely know what being in the program would entail, but I was leaning into God and trusting Him. Being in the Teleios program has been amazing, and so challenging for me. I came into the program thinking I’ll be living close to camp and be serving down at camp every day, what a blast! Ha! I thought wrong. Don’t get me wrong, living close to camp and serving every day is amazing, but there is a lot more to the Teleios program and ministry in general than just showing up, serving, and leaving. Being a part of the Teleios program meant that I was all in, I was part of a community, and needed to be willing to do whatever was needed. I have faced a lot of challenges during my time at camp, but as a result, God has been growing me immensely and I am so thankful for it. Growth is hard. Like really hard. But it is SO GOOD and exactly what each one of us needs to grow closer to Jesus and become more like Him every day.

A few of the main challenges I have worked through this year have been effective communication, and living in community with other believers.  Let’s start with communication. Communication is a necessity for life. Everywhere you look, people are talking. From the time a person is about 2 years old, they start talking and communicating more effectively with others. Effectively communicating is a good but hard thing to learn for someone who is pretty reserved and not a huge talker. I personally have a hard time with finding the balance of how much to say, and who needs to know what. I have had so many opportunities to practice this while at camp. You want to know the greatest thing about living in a solid Christian community? It’s that people forgive you and give you another chance while helping you learn how to do hard things. Let’s be real though, there are multiple chances given because God’s people are just amazing! Speaking of community. It’s a blessing and a difficulty. Living in community is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Being a part of something that is greater than us. A people group who is loving on each other, encouraging each other, and pushing each other closer to Christ. This doesn’t always feel as glamorous as it sounds, though. There’s this thing called accountability where others are keeping you in check, and saying hard things to help you grow, and it’s definitely not easy. When you don’t live in community, its easy to judge others and push them out of our lives because we don’t get along with them, or we just have different personalities. But while living in community you can’t just ignore others because its difficult, or you don’t get along well. I mean you could, but it ends up being pretty miserable. God has shown me this year how beautiful it can be to become good friends with someone who rubs you the wrong way. Overcoming this is a continual process, but seeing how God can use others to grow us, and how we can be a friend to others even when it is hard is quite an amazing thing.

 I believe my time at Living Waters has been equipping me to be able to serve at Hickory Cove Bible Camp in North Carolina this summer. I believe through serving long hours, learning how to communicate more effectively, living in community, serving selflessly, and becoming a better leader has all been equipping me to go serve not just at other camps, but wherever God takes me in life.

 I would appreciate your prayers for this summer as I go and serve at Hickory Cove. Pray that we would make an impact on the campers that come, that I would be able to be a blessing there and that God would continue to make me more like Him.

 In Christ,