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How God used a postcard and a counselor for lasting impact

by Julie Prindle

*trumpet sounds...*
I would like to announce that I, Megan Ruth Renaud, have been hired as a junior counselor for Hidden Acres this summer! I just got my contract! Whaahoo! I’m so thrilled—I was gonna call you but I lost your number, so this is the best that I can do. Watch’re stuck with me allllllll summer! Dun dun duuuuuun! Hehe—well, TTYL! Love ya lots!
Your ’lil sis,

Receiving e-mail from Megan was typical. She and I wrote frequently, exchanging the blunders and thrills of life and corresponding requests for prayer. In her previous message, she’d written about telling two friends about her faith, experiencing the joys of regular devotions, and finally getting her driver’s license. Megan is like a younger sister to me.

I remember this particular e-mail that came a few years ago because I had anticipated it for weeks. The news spread a ridiculous grin and mascara from happy tears across my face. I was awed. God had done so much in our lives through a small thing: a postcard.

Hearts Connect
Megan had been a camper in my cabin six years ago. I was 16—young enough to be a camper myself—and anxious to jump into summer ministry as a counselor for the first time. Despite my immaturity, God honored my passion for discipleship.

I hadn’t predicted a long-term ministry when I greeted Megan and her parents at the cabin door. I thought I was committing myself to the junior highers for a total of five days. In reality, I was committing myself to a much greater blessing of ongoing friendships.

Megan and I connected that week at camp. My grin and tears after I read her e-mail were a response to irony; our relationship is the result of a follow-up ministry I considered insignificant that first summer. At Hidden Acres Christian Center in Iowa, counselors are encouraged to write postcards to all of their campers to encourage them in their relationships with Christ. The postcard I wrote to Megan was one of many. God blessed me through those camper postcards (and later, e-mails), and Megan is just one example.

Over the years, I’ve been privileged to watch God strengthen her faith and be reminded that He’s working on me, too.

Deepening Relationship
I am most blessed through Megan because of our frequent correspondence. I’ve walked beside her though sibling rivalry, struggles with friends, parental job changes, the death of a loved one, and college applications. Just as the apostle Paul watched Christ carry on to completion the work He had begun in the believers at Philippi and praised God for them (Phil. 1:6), so I thank God for my witness of Megan’s continuing completion.

Two summers ago, Megan counseled her first cabin of campers and was in the same position I was in six years ago. Last summer, I was honored to serve as the head girls’ counselor at Hidden Acres. My former camper Megan was one who followed in my footsteps, working under my supervision as a 16-year-old junior counselor.

Who could have predicted that the Lord would use dorky camper postcards—which seemed like such a hassle to write at the time—to produce a new generation of counselors who are passionate about serving Him? A short, loving note and a stamp changed both Megan’s and my lives, and potentially many more. I know that God will work through her life to touch her campers.

Ongoing Ministry
I’m finished serving at Hidden Acres, but I’m still a camp counselor. I may not be able to regularly go on mud hikes and play capture the flag, but I continue to see God’s faithfulness printed in my campers’ handwriting. And, just as their wobbly letters have become smooth script, I’m privileged to see God perfecting His masterpiece in their hearts.

Megan—I am so excited for you!! I know that this summer God will continue His work in and through you in amazing ways. I can’t wait! And you think I’m stuck with you? On the contrary, you are definitely stuck with me! Hope you’re ready :) How were devotions today? Are you any further in memorizing James 1? We’ll talk soon. I love you, too. :) Julie

Julie is a senior at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She plans to attend graduate school in the fall. She spent six summers counseling at Hidden Acres Christian center in Dayton, Iowa.

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