Friday 5: Church Camp

God's Mailbox

God’s Mailbox

Tonight is my yearly trek up to church camp in Michigan with the confirmands.

It’s only a weekend trip, as most of my trips up there are, but our short time there is incredible. I take youth up to our church camp about twice a year. I’ve been to both of our conference’s camps and each are great in their own way. But Michigan, it’s different.

Here goes nothing:

5 reasons why I love going to our Michigan church camp:

Number 1: It’s Michigan in the Fall. The camp is located near Lake Michigan. When you pull up at night it’s creepy since it’s so dark. In the morning we’ll notice the trees are just starting to change colors, the air is a bit crisper but not enough to keep us bundled up or indoors. It’s supposed to be in the upper 70s all weekend and clear, which means hiking to God’s Mailbox and the Dunes will be a fabulous walk. God’s splendor in fall weather at it’s best.

Number 2: The wildlife. I’ve chased deer, well mysterious deer. The youth saw it and then lost it so we tracked it. I’ve heard owls at camp and seen field mice scamper by out at God’s Mailbox. I’ve followed a pack (flock?) of wild turkey who like to roam the camp as unofficial residents. The trees are one thing, the wildlife another.

Number 3: Not your typical camp. The camp does have cabins it uses in the summer but for the most part, my groups stay in the more retreat like cabins with running water and air conditioning. It may not be a five star resort but it’s better than roughing it all week, which I don’t do.

Number 4: The youth, especially on this trip. This trip it’s the confirmands, those 8th grade youth going through Confirmation. This is the first real chance I get to spend with them to get to know them. By the weekend’s end, I’ll have learned a bit about how they tick, what they like and dislike. I’m usually left exhausted and Sunday afternoon I want to crash. I mean, it is a bunch of 8th graders. But I love it. They teach me things I never knew about and allow me to experience God in a whole new way.

Number 5: God’s Mailbox. It’s my favorite thing about the Michigan Camp. It’s literally a mailbox in the middle of the forest. After about a 20 minute “hike” (meaning on the designated path that’s still wild but mostly clear), the youth come before the mailbox and a cross. Before the group leaves for God’s mailbox we always write a letter or a prayer or whatever. Then we put it in the mailbox, say a silent prayer and from there the camp staff takes the letters to burn. The idea being those prayers or letters go up to God. Though the mailbox sits not too far from camp or the lake, it’s silent. If you listen closely you might hear the waves of the lake. It’s where I find God the most. It’s one of my favorite spots on this earth.

I’m hoping to have a God moment at some point this weekend, I usually do. And I hope the youth do too. I hope they come back with more than how fun the weekend was and the things the group did.

Well, I suppose I need to go get things done. Lots to do before I leave!

Happy weekend everyone!



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