Healthy Soul/My Life/Witness and Evangelization

More Than Mud: The Glory of Being a Summer Missionary

The fact that you are reading this proves that God has planted a desire in your heart to serve Him in a radical way. Praise God.

Not gonna lie, I love camp… it’s where I first encountered the love of Christ many years ago in high school. I loved that it was more than mud and tan lines (though those are fantastic benefits).

As a college student, the Lord called me to serve a summer on Summer Staff at Covecrest and then another as part of Service Crew at Hidden Lake. Both summers have changed my life in big ways. And here’s why:

1. Sessions.

These daily gatherings are composed of run-ins, dance parties, skits, praise & worship, creative talks, and testimonies. For summer missionaries, it means getting pumped up, welcoming in campers, exerting so much energy, praying, sitting, and listening alongside your assigned parish for the week. It’s a vital part of camp… and one of the most exciting. Session is where the magic happens and where you get to invite teens to go deeper.

2. A Holy (and Awesome) Environment.

God is so present at camp. Everyone prays all the time. Before each session, before every meal, before the low ropes course, and before (and after) white water rafting. Not only does it show teens the importance of relying on prayer, but it helps summer missionaries in everything we do.

Also, camp is just an awesome place to be. It is 6 weeks of jumping in mud, playing sports, dancing like a dork, singing at the top of your lungs, running around, and so much more. People don’t just grow closer to the Lord in mass and adoration, but in the many moments of joy.

3. Talking To Lots Of People.

As a summer missionary you’re called to love. Everyday summer missionaries are called to be present to all campers and guests. Serving means making small talk while walking by, making jokes at the dinner table, and even listening to a teen opening up about their life.

Every conversation is an opportunity to serve and glorify God. Thanks to summer missions I have perfected my ability to create random get-to-know-you questions, participate in a deep conversation, and just listen. Trust me, these teens will change your life and expand your capacity to love people.

4. Rhythm of prayer.

Lots of glory means lots of prayer. Summer missionaries, leadership team, faculty, and campers all joyfully gather together for mass every single day of camp. And every morning, before breakfast, all summer missionaries gather in the wee hours in the chapel for daily holy and morning prayer.

Depending on the traditions of our Church becomes a necessity as you dive in your own relationship with Christ while preparing to love, talk to, and journey with campers. It’s His mission. It’s His camp. It always has been.

5. All Hands On Deck.

Not gonna lie, it is very rare to find a well-rested summer missionary. So much happens in one day. You’ll be surprised to find that the Eucharist is the perfect dose of caffeine. In your call to service, you do lots of various tasks necessary for the function of camp. Such as creating welcome signs on individual cabins, directing campers to confession lines, leading stations of the cross, running to the dining hall to serve food, and finding the camp nurse for a camper needing a band aid. Every single moment of service is important.

You will get to serve alongside the weirdest and most amazing people who will motivate you every single day. I loved being a team player and feeling so united with the rest of my wonderful staff.

Receive Love That Lasts After The Summer

The glory of camp does not fade and your call to serve is bigger than the summer.

On Summer Staff, a parish I was assigned to is located where I live for school. They lovingly invited me to serve at the parish on the Core team for their youth ministry program. Thanks to the theme of Fearless and the story of Peter stepping out of the boat, I accepted. Long story short: Our Lady of the Rosary is my second family and is where the Lord has affirmed my vocation of working in ministry.

The experience has rippled into all parts of my life. Such as my personal relationship with the Lord, how I pray, and how I talk to people. My life has drastically changed all because of God’s hand that one beautiful summer.

He Made You For Greatness

If you’re not sure if God is calling you to do summer missions, remember that God will not be outdone in His generosity. He wants to fulfill the deepest desires of your heart, because He put them there (Psalm 37:4). Whether at camp, at a parish, on your campus, in the slums, and even in your living room…God is calling you to be a saint. No matter how flawed you think you are, God is calling you for something amazing. And maybe your road to sainthood involves being on summer missions. Maybe it doesn’t.

There is so much joy in being open to how God will exceed your expectations.

So that’s my story… what will yours be?

(btw I’m praying for you)

About the Author

Nora Bourke

I'm a senior at the University of South Florida. Core team member and lover of chaco tans. I'm really weird but that's okay because God uses that to help me lead teens closer to Him. I'm a writer, dancer, singer, and undiscovered Disney princess.