Dear Camp Victory-An Open Letter to the Camp Victory Staff
By CBM National intern, Timmy Martens –
Dear Camp Victory,
I can’t believe my two month rotation here as a CBM National Intern is coming to an end. I was told that the weeks were going to fly by, but I didn’t think it would come and go this fast. Yet here I am, with my final day on this beautiful camp property rapidly approaching. It truly has been an amazing time, and I want every one of you to know that I couldn’t have asked for a better first rotation.
I remember back to day one. I was exhausted, probably more emotionally than I was physically. Truth be told, I was a little homesick and I hadn’t even arrived. My time at home over Christmas break had me missing the security and comfort I was used to under my parents’ roof. To make matters worse, I was intimidated by the prospect of living alone in an unfamiliar environment. Mix in some feelings of anxiety about what the next two months would bring, and voila! in comes a panic attack. I remember sitting on my bed, praying for peace as I stuffed my face with the homemade desserts Mrs. Jan made for me.
In retrospect, I had little reason to worry. For starters, my first meal was filet mignon, courtesy of the Shertzers. Shortly after, Mrs. Kim came in and left six bags of groceries on the table. Then there was Mr. Bill, the man of the hour who led me to the camp side of the property and gave me instructions about a “mopping party” that would take place the next morning. Just within that first hour, I was welcomed with incredible kindness and hospitality. Thank you for that.
I especially had no reason to fret because, for the duration of my rotation, I had a clear schedule with a plan for literally every day of the month. My leaders gave me clear instructions and I understood their expectations of me from day one. The way you organized my time was inspiring, but even more encouraging was the flexibility you showed in your plans. I could tell your goal wasn’t just to get stuff done — your goal was to build me up as a future missionary. Thank you for that.
Then came the whirlwind of events. I am so impressed with your stamina as a staff. Every weekend except one, there were dozens, if not hundreds of people using your facilities. I’m so thankful for the small part I got to play in your group ministry program, whether it was turning on heaters or wiping tables in the dining room. And the best part about it was that I was never alone. I was always working side-by-side with dedicated missionaries. You made seemingly meaningless jobs like picking up sticks and pine cones become meaningful. Thank you for that.
It’s easy to give the intern all of the “grunt” work, but I never felt that way during my rotation. I had projects with deadlines, and I had jobs that were necessary. I never once felt like I was just “filling time.” Everything you assigned to me had a purpose, and as I look back, having conquered the mountains that you personally mentored me through, I can be satisfied with my accomplishments. Thank you for that.
And finally, the relationships that I’ve made are going to last for life. Thank you for not just being my bosses, coworkers, and partners in “crime,” but also my friends. Thank you for caring for me as if I was one of your own children. Mrs. Jan, thank you for watching over me and overseeing a large majority of my rotation. I’ve learned so much from you. Mr. Bill, thanks for meeting with me, encouraging me, and giving me bowling tips (even though they didn’t help much). Mr. Jim and Mrs. Mary, you are both such an encouragement and a godly example of servant leaders (and Mrs. Mary can make a MEAN deviled egg). Chad, thanks for the talk about outdoor ministries; you’ve seriously made me ponder about what God would have me do with the advice you gave me about when I enter full-time ministry. Tonya, I’m still waiting to see what the “straw-trick” is; before I leave, I’ll make sure to stop by and see. Cowboy Steve and Barbara, thanks for the fresh cow, for opening your house to me so that I could finally watch Woodlawn, and all of the talks about the hottest pepper dust in history. Miss Barb, your food is glorious, but spending time with you is an even more glorious experience; thank you for ministering to me during this time. Nate and Laura, thanks for the Hardees and the talks about football and camp programming; it’s obvious that God is using both of you in this ministry in amazing ways. Paul and Kim, thank you for taking me to church every Sunday and Wednesday, and for taking me in as part of your family; I had a blast hanging out with your children and getting to know all of you better. Amy, you’re like a sister to me and I enjoyed all of the time we were able to spend together.
Camp Victory has left an indelible mark on my heart. It’s obvious why your ministry is effective. You are all God-honoring and holiness-pursuing people who take the call of ministry seriously in their lives. I’ve have so many examples to follow, notes to review in my head, and memories to store in my heart. I will never forget the kindness I experienced here, and will always remember you in my prayers.
Your CBM Intern, Timmy