- Summer Camp
- Leadership Camp
- Rodeo Programs
- Family Ministries
- Specialty Programs
- Outdoor Ed
- News & Blog
- About Us
by Mackenzie Shaver on December 9, 2015
“Hey, remember that one time you barked like a dog at that one lady who accused you of cutting the line outside of Target on Black Friday?” I know I just broke the cardinal rule of writing, never start a paper with a quote, but this isn’t a paper and I needed something catchy to go under my picture to reel y’all in. And see, it worked! By the way, that’s a real quote. It was taken from a conversation between me and my cousin this Thanksgiving. Oh, and just to clarify, he was the barker, not I.
This is a regular occurrence at my family get-togethers. No, not barking at strangers, that only happens when we’re provoked. When we are all together, we reminisce on those moments that some may claim to be embarrassing. However, we laugh and share them with pride. What’s the point of being embarrassed around the people you are stuck with for the rest of your life?
When I met the other thirteen Fellows back in August, I felt like we were at a middle school dance. The atmosphere was fun and exciting, but we were just standing against the wall, awkwardly staring at each other, and all I wanted to do was stuff my face at the snack table. I mean come on, Oak Haven is pretty impressive. But we were all nervous and overwhelmed. Sky Ranch is a big place and it’s a lot to take in. After a few days of making small talk, I made a deduction- on my own, I would have never picked these people to befriend; we are all just way too different. But soon I realized that that was the goal. You learn nothing if you work with people that are exactly like you.
You don’t get to choose your family. Just like when you were in elementary school, you didn’t get to choose who was in your group for a project. If you were in line and the teacher started numbering you off, you would try to weasel your way around people so that you could get the same number as your best friend. We must have thought our teacher had a wad of bubble gum in her head instead of a brain (in all honesty, I thought that’s what a brain was until about the 2nd grade). It rarely ever worked because you ended up with the people you talked to the least and that one kid that collected pencil shavings. Now, fast forward fifteen years and you have the Fellowship. Instead of a teacher, you have a manager; and instead of the pencil shaving collector, you have a girl with a fear of buttons (me).
Initially, we don’t have a choice. We are given our people and that’s that. But later, it’s our choice to accept or reject. When you reject them, you do everything in your power to separate yourself from the group. When you accept them, you add members to your army.
Recently, my cousin’s long term boyfriend broke up with her because of distance. It was messy, and left my cousin in a mild state of depression. When it happened, I couldn’t be there for her physically, so I took to social media. I posted the picture above to Instagram along with this caption.
“There are always people that find their way into our life. Some are just passing through while others set up camp. You trust the ones that pitch a tent because you figure they will be around for a while. But at the first crack of lightening, they’re out; unwilling to brave the storm. In their abandonment they leave behind a mess. Sometimes the mess is so big we begin to doubt ourselves. However, we were given powerful reinforcements to help clean up that mess. These reinforcements have been by our side since the beginning and have no intention of retreating. When you have an army backing you up, your strength is immeasurable and your capabilities are endless.”
I know, I should write a book. It’s in the works. Hitting shelves next fall. But if I were to guess, I would say God has gifted me with more than 40 family members that are in my army. People protecting and defending me. People I can call on when I need help. People who challenge me and push me to be better every single day. But I had to choose to accept each and every one of them. Now, I get to add 13 more names to that list.
It’s times like tonight, when I am outside the North Gate with eight other Fellows looking for something camouflaged in the woods, that I feel the most like a family. We were on a spontaneous geocaching adventure that turned into a dance party. As we laughed at each other’s dance moves, we move past the point of embarrassment. We can share our embarrassing stories with pride and laugher. We are no longer awkwardly standing against the wall at the middle school dance. We are out on the floor, dancing in the spotlight. But instead of a dance floor, it’s the middle of a street; And instead of a spotlight, it’s the headlights of Barrett’s truck.
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 …
Zip On “Take me down! Take me down! Take me down!” the fifth grader screamed at the top of the ziplines. He, and many others before him, were paralyzed with fear at the idea of jumping off the platform and zipping …