By Mel Herring

I have been going to Delanco for the past eight years and each year God does something different. No matter if I was a camper or on staff God has always used Delanco to change me and give me guidance and direction.

This summer at camp was different that other years of camp for many reasons. It was the first summer since I graduated high school that I was not on permanent staff, which was hard to adjust to at first. However this summer I got to serve on weekly staff for four weeks, alternating between being a counselor and a teacher. The other changes that took place were more internal than external. This summer God really worked inside of me and changed my heart in different areas.

This summer was the first time in a while that I got to be with the kids and focus in on getting to know them and being Jesus in their lives. I can honestly say that was the best part of the summer. My love for the campers grew as the weeks passed and it reignited a passion to really know the kids that I was working with week after week. I got to spend time with some really great kids and I got to see a side of them that truly wants to love and serve the Lord. I found myself seeing the campers in a different light. I could see the potential in each of them to live radically and passionately for God. I could see the light and joy that each one of them gave to the world in their own way. It must be similar to the way that God looks at each of us.

God also used camp to help me work through some things going on in my own life. This summer at the beginning of Teen Camp 2 my grandmother passed away. I was scheduled to be a counselor that week and I did keep my commitment to be there. It was a difficult week and I went through a lot of different emotions, but God really held my heart and was close to me during that week. My prayer is that despite where my heart was at that week God used me to reach the campers. There was a verse that was used in the prayer walk that week, and its a verse that really helped me cling to the promise that God can always heal and restore us.

“And the God of grace, who called you to his eternal glory in christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

This past summer was a great time to get to serve God and also be changed. God reminded me why it is that Delanco has been such a big part of my life and why it continues to be a place that is held dear in so many hearts. God reminded me why it is that I am doing youth ministry and he reminded me what it’s like to be in middle school and high school and the compassion and love that is needed to reach kids at those ages. This coming May, I am graduating from college and it’s because of God and the way that he uses Delanco that I feel the calling of doing camp ministry through the rest of my life. No matter where I end up Delanco will always be where my heart is and I will continue to serve there and allow God to use me in whatever way he wants. I’m so thankful for Delanco and I am thankful for this past summer.

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