There are certain buildings at Twin Rocks that have a very distinct smell. When you walk through the door your lungs are filled with camp. Not every building is like this, just the ones that have been around for decades of summers, the buildings that have experienced multiple generations of homesickness and actual sickness, heart-to-heart conversations and hard conversations, whomp ’em and “wrestlemania,” late night giggles and end-of-camp tears. The smell is a combination of cleaning products, unshowered bodies, and legacy.
Every time I experience the smell of those buildings I am reminded of the generations of faithful folks who have taken part in camp—who glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven. They were eating together, worshiping together, having fun together, maturing together, and experiencing community as the Creator intended.
The phrase that gets pulled out at Surfside is, “dude, we’re family,” and indeed we are. We’re a family that takes part in the community and also gives time, energy, resources, and prayers in order for future generations to experience the no-strings-attached love of God. This family has been so driven by their love for God and his people that their efforts have made camp one of those “thin places” where the presence of God is evident even to those who don’t know how to identify it.
I am grateful for those generations who came before me, laying foundations and pointing out encounters with God. I am grateful for the people I serve with—thank you for letting me troubleshoot my way in ministry and still ask me to come back next summer. I am grateful for the generations that will come after me and will be compelled to continue these legacies because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Father God, thank you for placing me in the midst of a faithful community that spans multiple generations.