My name is Aaron, your camper knows me as “One Hip Wonder.” I am a sophomore at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas, majoring in Christian studies with an emphasis in Youth Ministry. When I graduate, I want to work at a camp full-time or be a youth pastor.
This is my first summer working at Pine Cove, but I have worked at my church camp for the past three years. I went to Towers as a kid and it completely changed my life.
When I drove through the front gates of Pine Cove Towers on May 16, 2015, I had a weird feeling of deja vu. After coming to the Towers as a camper, little did I know it was about to impact my life again 9 years later as a counselor. It has been over 2 months since I arrived at camp, and I can’t begin to explain how God has used other staffers and even the campers, to reveal a larger facet of God’s love and grace to me.
Numerous individuals have made a special impact on my time here this summer and I wanted to tell you a couple of the stories.
One week in particular, a camper came up to me with tear-filled eyes and said, “One Hip, I am just so upset. How is it that a man I don’t even know would die for me even when I didn’t even want him to.”
Immediately, my heart felt overwhelmed as my eyes filled with tears. Here is a second grader who gets it. Why would the God who created the universe send His only Son to come to a world He knows will choose to reject Him?
How could the Father watch His Son grow from an infant born in a stable to a 33-year-old man who was arrested, falsely convicted and nailed on a tree for crimes he had not even committed? The question this second grader posed to me seemed impossible to answer.
I only knew the simple reply, “…because He loves you and I.”
Throughout this summer, I have grown close to a lot of the other guy staffers, but nothing will beat the bond I have created with a counselor named Wet Willy. We met on our first day during lifeguard training. We bonded on the fact that we were both first time staffers, working full summer. I could not have been more grateful than to serve alongside him.
One day, the two of us were working at the Sea of Narnia while a camper was trying to run the full length of the moonwalk (a long, narrow float). The camper tried numerous times to make it from one end to the other and just couldn’t make it. Wet Willy went over and looked the camper in the eyes to encourage him. I watched as he explained how life is a lot like the moonwalk. No matter how hard we try in life, we can’t reach heaven without believing in Jesus. We can’t do it by our own efforts. Keeping our eyes set on the Lord is the only way we can stay on the path and be saved from eternal death.
What I saw next will always amaze me. Wet Willy lined up to give the moonwalk another try. In our time lifeguarding, he had never made it from one end to the other. He started running and never slipped and made it to the end. Everyone started screaming and I jumped in and swam out to Willy. The camper thought it was awesome and was encouraged to keep trying, but to me it was a huge reminder that we may fail over and over again but with Christ we are saved from falling. He saved us from eternal separation from him.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is a great reminder,
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
I hope each of you who reads this has a relationship with our heavenly Father. I hope you go all out to share His love with those around you. We have a privilege of sharing the Good News with a lost and dying world. A world who can’t make it to the end alone. We all need a Savior.