Growing up in small town North Dakota, there weren’t many options for a job when I was in high school. I worked at the local theater taking tickets, selling concessions and making popcorn. Before I graduated high school, I was looking for a new summer job. One day my Uncle and Grandma suggested that I work at our church’s Bible camp, so I decided to apply for a job as a Bible camp counselor.
The camp director received my resume and set up an interview with me. I drove to Bismarck ND where we met at Perkins for my interview. It was the worst interview in the world! I looked at my shoes and at the top of the table the whole time he was interviewing me. I don’t think I ever looked him straight in the face. I left feeling defeated. Yet despite it being the worst interview in the world, the camp director decided to hire me anyways.
I graduated high school on a Sunday and was off to camp last than 36 hours after graduating. I spent that summer growing as a woman of faith. Little did I know that working at camp would change me in the most positive ways. It was the first place that I openly shared our family’s journey with a mental illness. It was the place that blessed me and would be the place where I eventually would hear the call to seminary.
I worked there all summer. Then the next summer, after my Freshmen year of college, I returned to work another summer as a camp counselor. Halfway through the summer, the camp director and the program director invited each of us to a mid-summer evaluation. During my evaluation, the camp director looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I didn’t think you were going to make it. I hired you thinking I would take you as long as you would make it. And now I cannot get rid of you. You are like a mother hen with all of her little chicks.”
As I heard him say those words to me, a smile spread across my face. God’s hand of grace had indeed intervened as God tapped the camp director’s shoulder and in not so many words, called him to hire me despite all of his hesitation. It was God’s hand of grace that called me to work at camp and eventually led me to seminary. It was in this holy place on the prairies of North Dakota, right off Lake Sakakawea where I received the gift of God’s grace.