We’re already over halfway through week 7 and having an awesome time!
Our days have been filled with awesome activities, ranging from trail rides with the horses to blobbing fellow campers into the Sea of Narnia. In the midst of playing geaux-geaux ball and zip-lining through the trees, we’re always reminded of the Gospel and why we’re here.
Campers are learning about the story of Elijah and are enjoying intentional times with their cabins and counselors.
Austin Griffin, the Work Crew Director here at the Towers, is here to share some of His personal story of how the Lord has led him to camping ministry!
My name is Austin “Ah-O” Griffin and I am the Towers’ Work Crew Director this summer. I was born and raised in Irvine, CA and spent the last four years of my life at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. In May, I graduated with a degree in Audio Engineering Technology and a minor in Philosophy.
So, like most people, you are probably thinking to yourself, “How did a California kid with a degree in audio engineering from a school in Tennessee end up in Texas working at a summer camp with 2nd to 5th graders the summer after graduating?” Well, lucky for you, I have been asked that a lot this past summer and I have an answer.
Actually, I have three answers: the practical, the personal, and the divine.
The practical reason is fairly simple.
In Fall of 2012, I was working the welcome week program at Belmont in Tennessee and a lot of the people there had spent the first half of their summer out at Pine Cove. They kept telling me about it and kept telling me to apply. So, I applied and got offered a job as the guitarist at the Towers. I absolutely loved the summer of 2013, so I came back and in 2014. And here I am 2 years later as the Work Crew Director.
The personal answer comes from my childhood.
In California, I grew up going to church and at a young age, I accepted Christ as my Savior. Life was fairly normal for elementary aged Austin. I went to school, went to church, and played some sports. But, when I was 10 years old, my parents got a divorce. That radically shook my world. The picturesque family and happy life I had was pulled out from under me.
It hurt me a lot.
I felt betrayed.
I didn’t know what to do with all the emotions. Luckily, I had godly men at my church that came alongside me and helped me through the hard times and I am a better man of God because of it. This situation leads to the personal reason why I am here: kids feel pain and hurt and life can be hard for them, just like with adults. They need someone to come alongside them and help them grow into men and women of God.
The divine reason why I am here started back in Jr. High.
Since 7th grade, I have loved to serve children. I worked in the preschool at my church and as I got older, I worked with the elementary aged children. While I served, the children’s pastor who led me through elementary school and who I served under for many years believed in the work I did. In high school, he said that he could see me as a children’s pastor one day.
And being the typical high schooler, I blew it off.
I didn’t want to be a pastor. There was no money in it and there were cooler jobs I could have, like being in a band and traveling around the world (which I now know doesn’t pay well either and I would never make it in that world). But he still believed in me and allowed me to serve as one of the children’s ministry interns.
And yet, I still didn’t want to go into full-time ministry.
Starting with Pine Cove in 2013, God kept calling me back to ministry. He reminded me my first summer of the passion that I have for kids and the desire I have to serve them. In my second summer, He changed the direction I thought I was headed in life. I no longer felt like I was supposed to become an audio engineer or touring musician.
I felt called to full-time camp ministry.
Despite my own efforts, that is where God wants me to go. So I will go.
After this summer, I am staying out here at Pine Cove. I will be going through the Forge, an eight month discipleship program where I will be refined and trained to be a godly leader. It will be a time of trusting God, whether it will be in providing funds to go through the program or what will happen after I complete the program. It will be a challenging and life changing eight months, but it will shape me in to a more godly man and prepare me for a life of ministry.
I am beyond excited to see what the Lord has in store for me.
So that’s why I’m here.
Never once in my life did I think I’d want to work full time in ministry, much less in Texas away from friends and family in Tennessee. But through my life experiences and the work of the Holy Spirit, I am here and for now, it is where I will stay.