Campers interact with many different staff throughout their week at camp. They see the people running activity classes, serving food, the retail staff, and of course, their counselor just to name a few. Another staff member that every camper sees is a senior counselor. Every group of cabins has one, and their job is to support counselors and campers, keeping everyone safe and able to enjoy camp. We asked one of our senior counselors, “Tooth-Der-He-Is,” to come share about his experience and what God showed him this summer.


Wow. I arrived at Pine Cove Outback 12 weeks ago. After a week of training, a week of orientation and 10 weeks of camp, I have no idea how to communicate all that has happened. It is impossible to reflect on all that God has done this summer in my life and the lives of those around me, but I will make a humble attempt at explaining just a little bit of what I have seen.

Being a senior counselor this summer has been sanctifying in every sense of the word. The Lord has forced me to rely on Him as never before, and the scripture that has become my anthem and favorite to share is 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

In moments where counselors and I find ourselves in difficult situations, God is faithful to remind us that although we are inadequate, the Spirit within us is MORE THAN adequate. 2 Peter 1:3 is TRUE in that He really has given us everything we need – His Spirit. That’s right, the same one that resurrected Christ from the dead lives in us!

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I’m so thankful and humbled that God saw fit to call me, a broken vessel, to be poured out at the Outback as a senior counselor this summer. I am even more thankful for how woefully unready I was for the job, because it has made me realize how much more I need Jesus and how much He really does not need me. But He still wants me. To have the privilege to invest in four or five counselors every week, to have the joy of lovingly confronting campers and doing discipline with them, and to have the joy of watching the Lord answer prayer in a way that only He can – SO TURNT!

Coming into this summer as a man who struggles hugely with people-pleasing, the fact that much of my role involves handling discipline and confrontation terrified me. The Lord has been so gracious this summer, showing me how facing confrontation and correcting in love can truly be life-giving.

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Some of my favorite moments of the summer have been with the kids that I have had the opportunity to do discipline with, usually for their unruly behavior. Seeing campers begin to grasp the gospel as their counselor is taking their punishment for them, getting to spend time with campers while hearing their heart for why they do what they do, and using truth to dispel the lies they are believing. Oh, what an incredible gift it has been to watch God melt some of the coldest of hearts with the warmth of His everlasting love this summer!

Every Friday night at camper share, God blows us away with His awesome power and might, bringing me to my knees in reverent fear of His omnipotence. Campers share what God has done in their lives that week. For example, a 6th grader came to the realization that he needs to be intentionally sharing the gospel with his friends who don’t know Christ.

Some get up to the mic and passionately share the gospel as they realize more of who God is and what He has done, and still some share stories of how the God they felt was so distant actually very evidently revealed Himself to them that week. But more than any of that, many campers share how God took their dead, sinful heart and made it ALIVE as He saved them by grace through His gift of faith.

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Getting to do life with the Outback staff for nearly three solid months has been nothing short of life-changing. My job most certainly would have been impossible without community. These brothers and sisters in Christ have held me accountable, rejoiced over the salvation of campers with me, prayed over cabins with me, made a fool of themselves on stage with me for the entertainment of the masses, and much, much more.

God has shown me that, as Psalm 73:26 says, “my flesh and my heart may fail {and does, DAILY}, but HE is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” He taught me that contentment is not to be found in my circumstances but rather in Him alone and the joy of salvation He has given me. I had this knowledge before camp, but this summer has given me a practical opportunity to see this knowledge become experience.

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At the end of the day, this summer confirms what 1 Corinthians 15 talks about, “what is of first importance.” Christ’s death, burial and resurrection changes EVERYTHING! Praise God for sending The Way to make a way for us to be made right with Him! Praise Him for dying on a cross for our sin as the only perfect sacrifice, taking the punishment we deserved once and for all and defeating sin and death when He was raised. He exchanges our sin for His imperishable righteousness when we take hold of the gift of faith He so graciously extends to us!

He alone is worthy of ALL praise, and God has reminded me this summer that He deserves far more worship than He is getting! May our lives be lives of worship unto Him, and may this not be just a summer of service for any of us, but rather a catalyst launching us into a continued lifetime of surrender into the hands of The Only One worthy of our entire lives! Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me of the honor to live for you – oh, what an unspeakable joy it is to be your ministers of reconciliation!

Timothy “Tooth” Harakal
Senior Counselor