From the Desk of Pastor Clay

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
(John 14:11-12, NRSV)
One of my favorite days of the year happened a few weeks ago. Keith Shew, our Conference Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, e-mailed me a link to the Dropbox that contained our camp curriculum for 2022. A few years ago, we started using curriculum from InsideOut, and every year has been better than the next. This year’s curriculum centers around the days of creation and helps us realize the power and creativity of God.
It is truly a joy to start making plans for camp and holding my campers in prayer. Each Monday and Thursday I am sent the roster for camp, and each week I cover those names in prayer. The cool thing about doing camp for many years is that some campers come back year after year, so I know a little bit more about them and how I can be praying for them through the year. I have a few campers coming back to Minecraft Camp for their third year, and I am so excited to see what God has been up to in their lives in the last year.
I have been counseling or deaning camps since 2013. I have seen campers come and go, and it is amazing to see how God works through our Dakotas Conference Camps! A few years ago, South Dakota State’s recruiting tagline was, “You can go anywhere from here” And I feel like that applies to our Dakotas Conference Camps. On Saturday, I have the honor of going down to Beresford to watch one of my former campers become an Eagle Scout. One of my campers is now a mom of two kids. Sharing some of the same experiences with her around the life and times of our toddlers has been hilarious and life-giving. One of my campers now works for NASA; another has some kind of political job in DC. What our young people do gives me so much hope for the future.
As Jesus is preparing his disciples for what we all just experienced last week – his death and resurrection – he tells them that because of him, they are going to do great things, and not just great things but even greater things than he was able to accomplish here on earth. And given that Jesus died on the cross for humanity’s sin and through his death gave us an access to God that we could not fathom, that feels so unthinkable. But then a kid you played marshmallow dodgeball with goes to college and changes a kid’s life as a teacher, and it starts to become clear what Jesus meant. As we live our lives of faith, as we exercise our spiritual gifts and live into God’s call on our lives, we are going to do the work that Jesus has done; we are going to bring people into faith, we are going to make medical breakthroughs that heal more people than we can fathom. We are going to interact with people and meet them in the midst of all they have going on and lighten the load in some way.
All we need is a time away from our normal routines and lives to hear the still-small voice of God calling us again and again to doing these great things. This is the power of camp. If you grew up at camp, this is your reminder that there are camps for all ages, and your pastor and his wife are always looking for volunteer counselors if you are interested in being a part of the great work happening at camp. If you are interested in what all the fuss is about camp, let me know how you can be involved! Send your kid to camp, volunteer as a shepherd or a counselor, support your camp by covering them in prayer.
It will be amazing to see what God is up to this summer and beyond.
In Christ,