Now that I have time (and internet), I can finally write about my time at LVR.
The trouble is, I’m not quite sure how to go about it. How can I sum up three of the most formative months of my life? At the end of each week after the campers left and before the cleaning began, our staff met in the lodge and shared some of our highs and lows for the week. Sometimes all I could do was sit there on the floor pondering it all and trying to process it in my head. So many highs…and so many lows.
My first week in Colorado was hard. I was not at all sure I was supposed to be there. I started to question my motivations and wonder what in the world I was thinking. I doubted I could ever get close enough to the staff to open up to them. I foresaw a long summer of uncomfortable situations and locking myself inside…something I’ve had some experience doing. I wasn’t even sure I’d like having campers. I dreaded my first cabin and wondered how I could possibly do everything they were training us to do. I missed Michael like crazy and wanted cell phone service more than anything. It was so much to take in.
Then, suddenly and gradually, everything changed. I got into my job and it wasn’t as hard as I thought, and I loved it. I got closer to staff members and started developing friendships. I adjusted to being cut off from the rest of my life. LVR became my life.
During cleaning weekend, our director Steve gave each of us an individual exit interview. He asked me how I had changed over the summer. It was a hard question, especially since I hadn’t taken the time to step back and look at myself in a long time. I still don’t think I know for sure, though I know that I have. I’m still processing. The ways that LVR changed me will probably present themselves in big and small ways as time goes on. Working as a counselor required a selfless lifestyle. A lot of people would look at the job and see all the sacrifices, but I see all the benefits. I’ve become more mature, independent, patient, closer to God. I made some of my closest friends, and I miss them dearly already.
Some of my highs:
Outpost horse care camp, mountain biking camp, high ropes, climbing/rappelling, bouldering, servant events, sunrise/sunset hikes up Cedar Mountain (well, any hikes up Cedar Mountain),the King’s Team campers, the Bethesda campers, Eleven-Mile Canyon, My Place, The Platte River, the army surplus store, REI, Cripple Creek, Casper’s house, the twins’ house, one-match fires, Shine Time skits, late nights in the lodge…the list goes on. I have to stop because I’m feeling like Minnie. She could never limit herself when we were sharing highs and lows- she was bursting with so many highs that she had to share. Sometimes we tried to cut her off, but I know how she feels. My high was being at LVR and falling in love with everyone and everything there.
One of the first times I knew for sure why I was at LVR was when a group of high school seniors from Kansas were sharing their testimonies about how coming to LVR had changed their lives. Some of them had been coming for four or five years in a row. One of the guys said he knew about God, but he never understood how to actually have a relationship with Him until he came to LVR. Each person talked about how LVR had made their faith stronger or made their faith real, or how they were able to connect with other people who were going through the same kind of sufferings as them. They gave and received the strength and encouragement to get through broken families, abusive pasts, tragic losses.
As I listened I thought, this is what we’re here for, and it actually works. God can work through a bunch of 19-20-something year-olds who were half scared out of our minds and mostly unsure of what we were doing to radically change people’s lives. I saw clear, undeniable changes in every single group I worked with this summer. The transformation from the group that arrived at the start of the week to the group that left at the end always astounded me. It could only be God working through me, and that is by far the best part. LVR taught me to be an open vessel, ready and willing put myself aside and to let the Father’s will work in and through me. No matter where I go from here, if I can continue on that path I know I’ll always be blessed.