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by Mackenzie Shaver on March 7, 2017
I love where God has taken me in my life, but never in a million years would I have thought that I would be living in Van, TX. Previously, I had worked as a camp counselor at Sky Ranch for two summers and they were incredible moments of growth in my life. But afterwards, the Legacy Fellowship did not interest me. I thought my time with Sky Ranch had ended but the Lord was not ready for me to close my chapter with this place. Realizing God had a different plan for me – and that His plan was to bring me back to Sky Ranch – was a challenge, but I trusted God. God reminded me of the wonderful community at Sky Ranch and that drew me in to learn and know more about this amazing group called the Legacy Fellowship.
I remember looking online at the Sky Ranch website researching the fellowship and reading the blog posts. I was drawn to know more. After applying and getting accepted, I really had no idea what I was doing. But I knew to trust and know that the Lord’s plan is far greater than my own. Before I knew it my car was packed and I was moving to Van, TX! When I got to camp, I did not know anyone very well. It was mostly new faces and a few familiar ones. It was completely the Lord pushing me out of my comfort zone into this area where I had to initiate things and get to know new people. When training began, I was learning about the ropes course and saving peoples lives in the pool. This was completely out of the norm for me. I knew nothing when it came to tying weird knots and using a tube to prop a floating body in the pool (for practice, of course!). Somehow, I made it through and was able to pass all the certifications. As the fellows went through those weeks of training, we grew closer to one another leaning on each other as a group, and as a community.
A big set back that I faced was having my eye socket broken during lifeguard in-service. It was not something that anyone would want only a couple weeks into a new job. I was overwhelmed with confusion as to why this set back was placed upon me. Having this injury, caused me to sit out of the normal activities. It was difficult being the odd one out. Through that struggle, the Lord taught me to trust and become vulnerable to my community. When I started the fellowship in August, I was not the kind of person that would be vulnerable; instead I would build up walls to hide how I truly felt. When the Lord put this painful injury in my life, it was as if He blew up those walls because the only thing that I could do was be vulnerable. In that vulnerability, I began to let others see my true personality that I tried so hard to hide because I began to trust those around me. I began to talk more and come out of my shell, showing my love for others. It changed me for the better.
An awesome opportunity that we get to experience as fellows is to all go on a recruiting trip with the summer camp team. I was so pumped, when the recruiting trip was explained. I was told that we would walk up to random people and talk to them about Jesus and learn about their interests. It sounded intriguing. But when I did it, I found a love for this! I know that it was truly Jesus pushing me out there and giving me the confidence to do these bold actions. It was a great week and I got to meet some cool people. But it was also a week that busted that “Sky Ranch bubble” that I was in. That week opened my eyes to how dark the outside world is around us. It was sad and hard to witness. I realized that not everybody truly knows what they believe. But it brought me back to our mission here at Sky Ranch “Leading youth and families to know and follow Christ”. In that we are able to be a light to those college students and wake them up so they will get right with Jesus. Asking people the hard questions that they need to consider is a real and needed ministry that needs to be done in order to complete our mission. Overall, recruiting was one of my favorite experiences because it showed me how we all fit in the purpose here at Sky Ranch.
As a fellow, you have many daily roles that you rotate into during your year in the fellowship. They are being an activity lead, an outdoor education instructor, to projects around camp, and an assistant to the camp coordinator (Coco). I had no idea what to expect for any of these roles but I was excited to jump in and try them all. Teaching Outdoor Education (OE) was something that I had to get used to. Because it is not like the normal classroom teaching that I was taught in student teaching. It was walking around outside with students that I taught for about three days and then switching to another group. In OE my biggest challenge that I am still facing is the nature center. When it comes to any type of reptile, I will run so fast in the other direction. I am still working through holding snakes or bearded dragons. In those moments of fear, I am thankful for the community that I have surrounding me. They push me to conquer this fear and are patient in times of anxiety. While working as a Coco, I was able to step up and be a leader amongst my peers as I led them through a retreat weekend. As Coco you have a lot of responsibility, you learn a lot about yourself, your team, and how Sky Ranch operates. Being an activity lead, I lead my team throughout the week and made sure that activities were going appropriately throughout the weekend. I assisted the activities staff in any way possible. One of my favorite things about being the activity lead is shutting down camp. It is time when camp is quieting down for the evening. I was sometimes able to spend time with a friend closing camp and while making sure everything is secure. In the fellows program, I have been able to experience every aspect of camp and how it works. It is so awesome to be involved in so many areas and blessed by so many people. I have gotten to know a lot of different people throughout Sky Ranch and experience how everyone is working together to glorify our Lord by serving Him to fulfill the ministry that is Sky Ranch.
What has the Lord taught me? I imagine most people ask one of these two questions when it concerns the fellowship. “What is the fellowship like?” or “What do you do in the fellowship?”. Well, I can tell you that …
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