This place. I can’t seem to escape it. I’ve been hundreds of miles away, living a life completely oblivious to its events or changes. Yet, it has crept its way back into the forefront of my heart in ministry. This place is Camp Copass.
I first stepped foot on these grounds as a camper in the summer of 1997. I remember the run down cabins, the stuffy worship center filled rickety old pews, and the suffocatingly dank dining hall. I remember the packages of Oreos we saved from dinner in order to have a cookie fight as soon as the lights went out. I’ve since come to repent of my wasteful handling of such blessed treats.
I came back in the summer of 1998 to work as a member of summer staff. This time I was cleaning the less-than-glorious facilities that populated the camp. The whole summer. Cleaning. Serving food. Cleaning more. It was miserable. I despised the work, and a few of the people drove me nuts too.
I’m back this summer. This isn’t the first time I’ve been back, but it is the first time I’ve been back as a teacher. It’s weird. It’s like I’ve been invited to the grown-up’s table even though no one here has any notion of being superior to anyone else.
It’s also weird because I never expected this. I never expected to become so connected to this place. Camp Copass has become an unexpected port for me as a minister and as a person. I cherish the moments here. I love the people who use their divine giftedness to make this place function and bear such great fruit.
God has a funny way of linking us with places and people. Most of the time, people flow through our lives like telephone poles by the car window during a long drive through the panhandle of Texas. Places are often just dots on our mental landscape, revisited only periodically in a random moment of recall.
Then there are those places that stick. That just won’t go away. That you continually find yourself smiling about or revisiting with fondness and excitement. Those are special places. And this special place took me by surprise.
Don’t take those unexpected anchor points for granted. Don’t gloss over them. Don’t assume that they will always be there to enjoy. Those moments of care-free bliss. Those periods of uninterrupted fulfillment. Those places that God seems to provide a deeper sense peace and purpose. Cherish those. Embrace them as building blocks to some great work of God in you and through you.
The facilities are continuously being improved upon, and the footprint is vastly different from what I experienced all those years ago. The people are the same as always: genuine, loving, and diligent. The programming is first class, and the vision is focussed. I praise God that he has woven Camp Copass so deeply into my heart.
This place. I can’t seem to escape it. After all these years, I don’t have any reason to want to.