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What Staff Say About Maranatha

"Camp Maranatha was my favorite place in the world growing up. I looked forward to going all year because of the typical camp stuff: the campfires, the ridiculous songs, the week long pursuit of dunking my counselor in the pool, etc., but also because it was one of the few places where I could experience discipleship. I knew that I would be in a cabin with a "cool" young adult that loved God and also loved me, and that would do their best to teach me some of God's truths as well as demonstrate how to live as one of his followers. I didn't typically have that. I was actually first introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through one of those "cool" counselors.


Years later I'm so glad I've had the chance to serve on the other end as a counselor and on adventure support staff. I can see now that the reason this camp was so special to me is because of its emphasis on the growth of each cabin as a team or family.  They are encouraged to work together, to look out for each other, to listen to each other, and grow together. Because of this, my campers have felt welcomed and loved, even if they don't like banana boats and climbing towers. Because of this, I've been able to pay attention to details and tailor activities and lessons to individual campers. (I think I've learned the most about my campers in conversation simply walking from the cabins to the activites, or wherever.) Because of this, campers get a glimpse of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. Because of this, I still love Camp Maranatha.”

 

“I was never a camp kid, quite the opposite, in fact. When Thursday rolled around at day camp I would cry until they let me go home instead of being excited with the other kids about our overnight sleepover. That said, it is probably no surprise that I hesitated when I felt God call me to the camping ministry at Maranatha. Sure, I had changed over the years. I knew I loved interacting with kids and had learned to enjoy the outdoors but… a whole summer at camp? After months of prayer I found myself spending every night in a sleeping bag and living out of a plastic bin. And I loved it! Camp was a gift that afforded me the opportunity to experience a different way of life that included going far beyond my comfort zone, being challenged by other Christians to become a more Godly woman and, most importantly, to grow in my walk with Christ. If you are now a parent who is considering sending your child to camp you are giving an amazing gift. Yes, you are blessing me with the opportunity to fulfill the call God has placed on my heart to share my faith while surrounded by the beauty of His Creation and also allowing me to learn from and love your child. However, you are granting your child the greatest gift possible- the chance to get away from their daily distractions so they can hear the unique call God is placing on their heart. It is a call to know Christ as their Savior, a call to love Him and a call to follow Him in the path created just for them. Whether your child is a “camp kid” who can't wait to jump in the mud pit or, like me, is scared to stay away for a night, God's presence will surround them at Maranatha.”

 

“Before I knew Christ I had what I thought were friends. We would hang out, laugh, have a good time. But there was something kind of empty there, I didn't know it at the time, but there was just something missing. Well later I came to know Jesus and threw that I was brought to camp. I was kind of nervous with not knowing what I was getting into and having only been a Christian for just under four months coming in to work with people that had been in the church their entire lives. After I got over those nerves I began to realize what awesome people there are working at this camp and coming to camp as campers.

I found the true meaning of real friendship and having people that not only were your friends, but also actually cared about you and your well being. Not only your physical well being, but emotional and spiritual as well. I had never really known what a true friend was until I came to camp and got to meet all the staff members, they are friends for life.

Not only do you find true friends that will help you in your walk with Christ, but it is also a great place of spiritual growth. Not only do the staff members there challenge you, but the campers can be truly challenging as well without realizing it. In the bible studies they will ask questions that catch you completely off guard and that is when you learn to just let the Lord take over and give you the right words to say, because through Him you will always have the right answers for any question. Camp has just shown me so many things and these are just two examples of what it has meant to me. It's meant the realization of true friends and how to trust the Lord with everything.” - Jeremy Menzel

 

Camp to me is a family. I was able to find Christ and grow in His Word at Camp. I am still close with many of the people I worked with. You can usually find me singing camp songs as I walk around campus! I want to use them in my classroom one day! I have been a camper and a counselor and I hope to work more with camp, as I get older.  When I think of camp it makes me smile!”

 

“Maranatha was, by far, one of the most amazing things that I have ever been involved in. I was a little shy at first and wasn't brave enough to jump out front and lead the songs as others did.  However as the summer flew by I found myself making life-long friends, growing in the Lord, and impacting children for the Lord's kingdom. I have the honor of leading a cabin of girls to Christ the last week of camp, that is an experience I will never forget. By the end of a simple prayer I was in tears. It's just so amazing to see how God can use you if you let Him.

Last summer was also hard for me because I lost my grandmother about a third of the way into camp. I took a day or two off and when I returned everyone was just so loving and sincere in their sympathies for me. I realized that week that all of us had really become a family at Maranatha and I knew it would be hard to leave this family.

And I was right. The last day of camp we were all on the verge of tears. But we held out and played for the majority of the Saturday on the water toys and just watching movies. When I finally had to leave I did cry, because I was leaving my family. And I knew I would miss everyone greatly.

Maranatha was an experience I will never forget. The people I met, the kids I came to love, and even the crazy 3-minute showers were all worth it in the end. Maranatha reinforced my belief that I want to be a youth pastor. And so here I sit at school, moving forward towards that goal so that I can bring more kids to Christ.”

“Camp can be a difficult thing for someone to understand who hasn't been in this environment before. Someone once related to me when they were asked to explain their camp experience to another person who had never been to camp before. This person had much difficulty explaining the feelings and emotions they had felt in that magical place. After a few moments, the person replied, ‘On the outside looking in, you can't understand it. On the inside looking out, you can't explain it.' For a person who has ever been to camp or worked in that environment, these words speak volumes! It is hard to explain what camp is to someone who hasn't been there because camp is a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad. It could take pages to explain why you have knots in your stomach when that one camper gives you a great big hug and leaves at the end of the week - the moments spent with that camper were filled with innocence and laughter and happiness that easily mask the horrors we sometimes find in our day to day lives outside of the real magical kingdom that is camp. And sometimes when campers come to camp to have the best summer ever, they don't realize that they are changing the lives of their counselors.

Being the youngest child of three, one moment in particular affected me in a positive way I can't honestly describe. One particular seven-year-old girl from a different group than my own became very attached to me over the week to the point she always wanted to be with me. One morning while we were all playing on the beach and having a fun time, she blurted out to me ‘You could be my daddy!' It startled me and I became a little choked up as I reflected on the fact her father was in the military and she probably didn't get to see him that often. I said, ‘Well now I can't be your daddy, but how about your big brother?' She looked at me with big eyes and a huge smile and said ‘Ok, you can be my big brother!' and she gave me a great big hug. The rest of the week she told everyone that I was her new big brother. It was a very special moment for me because I didn't have a younger sibling to play with and love on growing up, and it broke my heart in some ways at the end of the week, knowing how much this young girl had touched my life, making me yearn to be a better uncle to my young nephew and niece and the best father I can become one day!” – Daniel Miller

 

“I remember when we were going to go on the staff ropes course, when we all had to scale the climbing wall. I was super uncomfortable, and I told the Assistant Director who said... ‘Good. The minute we are comfortable Christians is the minute we have stopped growing and pushing to be the best we can be in the Lord.'

Camp Maranatha was for me a time that was some serious pushing. I felt like "the Rock" Peter. I knew that the important move for me to make if I wanted to walk on water was to get out of the boat.

Camp Maranatha literally pushed me over walls, out of the boat, and into the water. Like Peter sometimes I walked and sometimes I just let Jesus carry me. It wasn't always comfortable but I always felt that I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be and that knowing goes beyond any level of discomfort one can experience.”

 

“I never thought something so difficult could be so rewarding. Some kind of growth is inevitable at Camp, growth in ways you didn't know possible. It's kind of like when you work out a muscle that you didn't really realize was there (I somehow keep finding those) and it hurts for a while. However you eventually get stronger and tougher and more capable. Camp brings out EVERYTHING from your mind, body, and soul and shows your strengths and weaknesses. From suffering comes perseverance and hope. Camp is in ample supply of both (even in these hard times).”

 

“Something that sticks out about Camp Maranatha, that I like, is how camp calls for one to challenge themselves. Many of the activities at camp require the campers (and counselors) to overcome their fears and get out of their comfort zone. For me, the major challenges were the climbing wall, zip-line, and the high ropes course. I like the physical and mental aspects of taking on those activities, in particularly overcoming my fear of heights. Also, being out in the woods, away from the city and comfort of home is challenging to adjust too. I also enjoy how people build a great bond at Camp Maranatha, through friendship and trust for one another and also a closer bond with the Lord. Those are a few of the things that I enjoy about Camp Maranatha.”

"The first time I came to camp was an awesome and life changing experience. Being on staff is like getting the chance to give back to camp. I hope to help others have a similar experience when they come here too."

“(This summer) we truly got to see how BIG God can be when we just allow Him to work through us, not to mention some wicked awesome teams, new friends, and activities.”

 
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