Camp Tall Turf:  That’s a Good Place To…

There is a popular quote that tries to explain the unusual things we notice.  It states that, “Coincidence is just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”  That’s clever, but that’s wrong.  God does not wish to remain hidden.  No, the Creator and Ruler of everything we see and know is not trying to be sneaky.  The One who crafted us and designed us, loves us and forgives us, is not trying to leave you wondering.  He wants to have your attention because He desires that your relationship with Him is reconciled and restored.

For almost 50 years, Camp Tall Turf has been a sacred space for reconciliation.  The summer camp on Lake Campbell and the year-round ministry in Grand Rapids have created holy ground for thousands of kids and adults to bump into God.  They meet Him on the dock, in the dining hall, on the campouts, and in the very intentional work of reconciliation.  Time and time again they find out more about God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.

Twenty years ago a soft-spoken woman from Indiana was doing the work of reconciliation with Camp Tall Turf.  She loved and cared for kids, especially those in the city.  Fighting obstacles of doubt and prejudice, she was mentoring a Tall Turf camper.  That camper, a girl in high school in Grand Rapids, signed up to work at Camp’s kitchen for the summer.  Meanwhile, in the same city, a college freshman was working on campus when he picked up a brochure.  A voice behind him said, “That’s a good place to work.”

It just so happened that the woman from Indiana had noticed him pick up a Camp Tall Turf brochure and was hiring counselors for the summer.  God was up to something.  The boy went to work at camp and met the girl working in the kitchen.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Three years later, young and in love, an interracial marriage began.  Not long after, they were blessed with three beautiful sons.  But the work of reconciliation is hard.

The marriage went to divorce and their sons suddenly belonged to two broken homes.  But neither of them could shake how many pieces had fallen into place for them to meet.  There had to be a purpose.  And they were right.  Because coincidence – as we see it – is really a confirmation.  It is the place where we bump into God so hard that we cannot help but to stop, look, and ask, “What was that?”

When that happens, you should listen very closely.  God is speaking.  Camp Tall Turf is a place where you can bump into God because He is already there – faithfully and lovingly honoring the call to reconciliation.  His heart beats for that purpose.  So if you pick up a brochure, or click on a link for Tall Turf Ministries, it’s not a coincidence.  God designed that moment.  The question to ask is, “Now what?”

How will you encounter God?  And how will others encounter God because of you?  You may have a gift of cooking, mentoring, counseling, singing, leading, designing, writing, or praying.  Use it.  You are a part of God’s story.  

Twenty years later, that camp kitchen still calls back to that girl who was mentored.  Now she’s the woman who feeds hundreds of children in the summer, still wearing an infectious smile and a desire to see God in the moment.  And twenty years later, the meeting of that girl and that boy still has a purpose.  Those two, who bumped into each other on some holy ground, are getting married all over again.  Reconciliation, like marriage, is always a work in progress.  And as a testimony to God’s faithfulness, their three sons carry on the work at camp and in the year-round programs.  There they find their own moments to bump into God.

All because of a brochure that just happened to be picked up.

What about you?  What is God saying?  Maybe it’s time to listen and find out.

Camp Tall Turf:  A good place to…