In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 describes what faith looks like. It provides examples from the bible of people who had such strong faith even when those around them would turn from God’s promises if put in the same situation as to assure their own safety, freedom, or their own life. We can find endless examples of this kind of faith; through Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah.
“All of these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God,” says verse 13. This reminds me that, everyone has the opportunity to influence someone else so vastly that their impact could very well change that person’s life completely. And, like these biblical characters, we may never even know or see the effects of our actions.

Now, there are two sides to this influence and I have touched upon them in the past. Obviously our words and our actions toward others can be so hurtful and condescending that they can lead someone into such deep emotions that they are scarred for the remainder of their life through such things like anorexia, depression, cutting, addictions, or even suicide.

But today, I want to look at the positive influence we can have on people. And this has been triggered by some of the guest groups I worked with during the Spring here at camp.

We have some pretty close interactions with the students while they are here; playing games, doing activities, eating together. We spend lots of time together. And it’s really pretty amazing because, on day one we know no one. These kids are all new to us, and we have the choice to either just be their leaders, go through the motions and dream about our evening time off, or we can choose to get to know the kids, treat them as our friends, and really make our time with them less like a job and more as a friendship. And it’s such a blessing to see the results of those efforts.

As one group was getting ready to leave, a young eighth grader by the name of Shaina, who had been in my small group for the past four days, approached me and asked, “Ben, when will I ever see you again?” As I told her that she just needed to come back in the summer and she could see me, she replied, “But you will be at the boys camp. I won’t see you even if I come to camp. I won’t see any of you ever again. Honestly, you guys are just so great, and so nice and so funny, you made me feel so important –like, I’m going to start to cry right now because I’ll probably never see you ever again in my whole life.”
A few groups before this, I was walking with a grade seven student. This group had already been at camp for a couple days, and this student had not been in my small group, but I did help instruct his group for one activity. As we were walking and talking, I said his name. As many students are quick to ask, ‘how do you know my name?’ this student posed a different comment. “That’s really impressive that you remember my name. I mean, I’ not even in my group yet you still have made the effort to get to know me well enough that you see me and can call me by name. I’ve been to some other camps and the staff there are just there to work and never get to know us. But you guys… you guys are different. You care about us, and that’s so cool.”

One of the last groups that we had this spring was just great. We had a lot of fun with them, and made some good friendships with them. Like a couple of the other groups, this group had a few students that even decided to add a couple of us as their friends to their Facebook page the day they got home. But this group in particular did something that really caught me off guard. As we were saying goodbye to them, they all piled onto their coach bus to begin their long drive back home. But before the doors closed, a large group of them filed back off the bus, camera’s in hand and wanted to take our picture. So, as their group leaders, we huddled in close with some of the students as well, and we smiled for the cameras. Even some of the teachers and parents were taking our pictures.

When I think of cameras, I think of capturing a moment. I think a photograph is a memory that can never be forgotten. And this is exactly what these kids were trying to obtain. We only had four days to get to know these kids, and in the end we became such role models and friends to these kids, that they wanted to get our pictures. They didn’t want to forget us. They associated their great camp retreat with the staff that worked directly with them. Staff that cared about them, and wanted to build friendships with them. Staff that, as one teacher put it, “are clearly not here for the money. You care about our kids, and we can totally see that that is because of your faith. Thank you so much, we will never forget you, and please send up a prayer every once and a while for us.” This coming from a teacher with a minimal faith background.
As Christians, we may not have lead all of our guest group students to a saving relationship with Christ, but we were able to demonstrate God’s love to them in the best of our abilities, and they saw that, and they will remember that. When they pull out those dusty photo’s years down the road, they will be able to point us out and say, ‘that guy was great. He really made that retreat amazing for me.’ And who knows what sort of influence I’ve really had on some of those kids. There could be something I said or did, that had impacted them so much that it was just a stepping stone unto the path toward an eternal life with God, I have no idea. But as Hebrews tells us, when we step out in faith, God too will step out. And we may never truly see the results of our impact, we may never experience the promises that God offers us, but we can strive to lead the type of lives that God can use to further His kingdom.

A man entered the office doors here at camp a few weeks ago. Telling his name, he asked the lady at the desk if she could possibly provide him with a particular man’s phone number or home address. He could only remember this man’s camp name because he had been this man’s cabin counselor over 30 years ago. He wanted to get in touch with him and personally let him know that those 30 years ago his counselor helped lead him to a relationship with Christ and now he was a pastor and he wanted to thank his counselor for all he had done for him.
As we step out in faith, we may never know what the type of impact we can have on the ones around us.


When you think of camp and its location and what it does to a person, do you, like many others, view it as this huge Christian bubble? A place where everything is safe, surrounded by God’s presence and creation? A place where you can be rejuvenated and learn things that you may be blind to in your everyday life outside of camp?
It’s interesting, where does this perspective come from?

Over the last month, I have received numerous messages from readers of my blog who tell me they miss my writing, they’ve missed what I’ve had to say, they’ve missed learning what’s going on through my mind. On one hand it encourages me, letting me hear that people actually read these blogs of mine. But on the other hand, these comments have led me to take a step back and re-evaluate my life right now.

The first question I asked myself is where did my motivation come from when I wrote my blogs before? What inspired my writing? The experiences I lived out, the conversations I had or listened to, and the thoughts or epiphanies I had gave me my material. Everything that was going on in my life, I put down on paper.

This led me to ask myself why I haven’t written anything in the last month. Is it because I’ve been too busy with work? No, if anything I work less now and have fewer distractions than I had before when I wrote more. You see, my blogs have been from things I’ve felt God teaching me, so if I have nothing to write anymore, does this mean God is teaching me anything? Or perhaps am I less responsive to the things God is trying to teach me? As I sit here and look back on the past month, I don’t believe I can really tell you much of anything that I really feel God has taught me. Nothing stands out, not even small insignificant things. How can this be?

Isn’t it interesting that I feel I’ve learned the least from God in a place where our relationships with God are to be at the foreground? Isn’t it interesting that the place where I should be learning the most from or about God, is actually where my faith seems to be the most stagnant and neutral?

Perhaps my conversations with co-workers need to be more in depth, perhaps I need to read more interesting books that will inspire me, perhaps there are deeper issues that I can look at beyond the familiar bible study topics we cover each week as a group. Maybe I need a life-altering situation to fall right in front of me, so I can learn some deeper message from it. I don’t know. But maybe, in telling you all of this I have written a sufficient enough blog to

Where do feel you learn the most. And don’t say school. I don’t mean academic education. I mean real life learning. Experiential learning. Spiritual learning. As you sit there reading, can you take a look at your past month and tell me the things you’ve been learning? The things you feel God is trying to open your eyes to. And how responsive have you been to those little tugs on your heartstrings? If you’re sitting there right now, and feel your life is stagnant, boring, uninteresting, ask yourself why? And what needs to change? Are you too comfortable? God doesn’t like us to be comfortable. It limits Him to what He can do in our lives, what He can teach us. How still are your waters? Will you let Him toss a few stones in so He can watch them ripple? Watch the water change, take form, move, flow, being real and allowing the calm waters come back to life.
We always must make decisions. And recently, I have made a very big one for myself.

Following a two-year absence from school, I have decided to take the next step in getting back into school by joining a program through the Canadian Mennonite University called Outtatown. After months of consideration, I feel this is the where I need to go next year. Come September, I will be going to Winnipeg, Manitoba to embark on this incredible adventure with fellow students ranging from 18 to 22. The program has about 100 students, divided up into 3 site groups of approximately 30 students. For the first semester we will be travelling to some of the largest cities across Canada. Spending 4 days to 2 weeks at each location, we could be in classrooms listening to guest speakers, or in a houseboat on a desolate lake, or doing a bible study on the Rocky Mountains. One day we may be standing in line at a soup kitchen getting to know the some of the homeless, and the next we could be learning from Canada’s aboriginal people about the struggles they have faced over the many years. Through all the teaching that the program has to offer, they take advantage of the locations and make it an incredibly fun experience!
After returning home for a month during the Christmas holiday, I will be heading back to Manitoba to begin setting out for the second semester. Like I said, the program is divided into 3 site groups, and for the second semester the three groups split off; two will travel to Guatemala, and one will travel to South Africa. I have been accepted for the South Africa site group, which was my choice. I will be living in South Africa for 3-4 months traveling every two weeks from town to town. From participating in building projects, to working in orphanages, to praying over those dying of Aids in the local hospice, I hope to gain a clearer understanding about service, love, and poverty. Amidst this, we will have teaching from South Afrikaners learning about their struggles with poverty, conflict and apartheid. We will also take advantage of the beautiful location and spend time doing hikes, sleeping in caves, going paragliding, bungee jumping, and swimming with sharks among many other things. Where this may lead me to next, I don’t know yet, but I can’t tell you just how excited I am to embark on this possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I hope that you can share in my excitement as I prepare for this journey.

At the beginning of May, I came back here to Camp Mini-Yo-We. Along with almost 20 other students, we have worked hard on preparing the camp property for the summer. From building projects, to raking and mowing lawns, to training as guest group team leaders, we’ve been having a blast getting to know one another. We’ve had many laughs, cries, conversations and arguments. All in all, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are having a great time! Just the other night, when we had no guest groups in, we made a campfire at the Junior Camp site, and had a nice worship time for over an hour. Although our team is quite diverse in our attitudes, personalities, and personal time agenda’s, we do get along well and are gaining greater appreciations for things in life that we may have taken advantage of before.

In just a few weeks, following my 20th birthday on June 15th, the camp will fill up with all our summer staff for Staff Week and Skills Week. After these two incredibly fun two weeks, our summer camp will officially take off. I am the Ministry Director again for Boys Camp this summer, which is a position that directly oversees the bible studies and worship. I have been doing my planning and preparation over the last few months for this, but there is still much work to be done. Time is cutting close now, but as much stress as there is linked to this deadline, I can’t help but just be excited for the summer and having our camp be trampled on by the hundreds of campers that will be coming every week.

Again, I will do my best to update you and share my thoughts and struggles with you when I can, but until then you can put your mind at ease in knowing that I am still fully alive, living in God’s creation, and enjoying every minute of it.