My STP experience is one I will never forget. I like to classify it as a beautiful GODcidence.
STP was pushed very heavily mid spring semester. I did not understand why it was so important that I go. I had been on several church trips before and done the summer camp experience many times. I had doubts about how STP would differ from anything I had already done in the past. However, a girl named Sam, encouraged me to simply apply by the deadline, and continue to think about going seriously. I remember having a half hour until I needed to be at class. I opened my laptop and planned to whip out the application quickly even though I was sure I wasn’t going to go. Little did I know, the application was more than your name, grade, and T-shirt size. In that moment, I felt the Spirit leading me to go to STP. I ended up spending a lot of time filling out the application because it served as such a sweet time to personally reflect on my walk with the Lord. From the moment I sent the application in, to the day I left for STP, I prayed that Jesus would work in huge ways within my heart and the others attending.
I arrived at Lake Geneva full of excitement and a limited amount of nerves. The campground was absolutely beautiful and I knew that the next three weeks were going to be moving. What I didn’t know, was that I was going to have a hard time hearing and feeling the presence of the Lord. I was spending so much time in the Word, drowning myself in deep Christ-centered conversations and had given God three weeks of my summer to grow deeper with him. With all of this, I still was feeling so distant from the Lord. It was discouraging and a difficult time. However, I was grateful to have walked through these feelings at STP, surrounded by such a deep sea of fellowship, being able to be encouraged that though, I may not be feeling the presence of the Lord, it does not mean that He is not working. With this statement resting on my heart, I begun to dig deep to find how the Lord was working in me.
As soon as I started to let the Lord reveal to me how he was working in me, I was flooded with answers. The Lord presented me with the three things he was doing within me.
The first is teaching me how to be a true servant for his Kingdom. Working for Covenant Harbor Bible Camp was such a powerful thing. The more I think about it, the more I am in awe of how much the Navigators accomplished while being at STP. We worked 20 hours a week, and through all different weather conditions. With this, the amount of complaints were slim to none. All of the Navigators were so encouraging and beyond willing to keep working until the job was completely finished, even if it meant being late to dinner. Working this diligently, and with such great attitudes, it helped me to see what being a true servant looks like. I realized that I needed to demonstrate that more within my life outside of STP.
Secondly, God taught me the importance of being still. A woman named Margo spoke at STP, and gave a beautiful message about the importance of reading the Word and being intimate with God. She described an analogy of a mason jar filled with rocks and sandy lake water. Over time, if you don’t shake the mason jar, all the “stuff” will settle to the bottom and the water will become clear. In contrast, if you shake the mason jar then everything becomes fuzzy and unclear. The question she left us with was: When you are having a quiet time with the Lord, what does your mason jar look like? I wrestled with that question for several days because I think it has a lot of truth behind it, and reflects greatly on one's walk with the Lord. From that time forward, I tried to come to the Lord being still. When doing that, it is amazing to see how differently He works, and how more meaningful my times with him were.
Lastly, another powerful thing I learned was that God finds joy in hearing my voice. Within my own life, the time given in a single day goes very quickly, and when I come to the Lord, it is still difficult for me to tell God everything, the happy and the sad, and the good and the bad. It is easier to think that God knows my thoughts and my actions and He doesn’t need to hear everything again. However, the Father wants to hear my voice. This statement tugged on my heart, and I felt challenged because for such a long time I had assumed that the Lord didn’t need to hear my day to day tasks, conflicts, and praises. It is the Father’s love and it brings great joy to my soul knowing and fully believing that He finds pure delight in hearing my voice.
God works for the good.
I didn’t go to STP because someone told me to, I went because I felt called to by the Lord. It was a true moment for me to walk by Faith. It was not a coincidence, but a Godcidence. I am forever grateful for what I learned, and the friendships I formed. Everything that happened at STP was for a purpose and that was to help me dive deeper in my walk with the Lord.