Oftentimes at the end of a summer season, people ask me “What does work look like for you during the rest of the year?” I’m not surprised by this question, as Mount Hermon’s pace and rhythms look very different throughout the seasons of the year for each department! Within the program department, it takes about a year to plan for the summer theme and to hire summer staff. So after a time of rest and catching our breath at the end of a summer season, we quickly get to work preparing for the next summer!
Over the years, the season of January and February is typically when we write the program skit for the summer season, as well as write the “Challenge Book,” the take-home devotional students can sign-up for at the end of their week at Family Camp and Ponderosa. However, at the start of 2022, this year looks a little different: our summer theme for Ponderosa is all set and ready to go!
In April 2020, at the time when we made the necessary decision to close camp for the summer, the summer theme for Ponderosa was fully created. In the course of those days as we rolled out the communication for that summer and our “Mount Hermon At Home” project, we were also buttoning up the Ponderosa summer theme, with prayer and faith that one day this theme would be used. As we enter 2022, we have such hope, excitement, and anticipation for this upcoming summer at Ponderosa, and for this theme to be taken off the shelf, dusted off, and brought to life!
The theme for this upcoming summer at Ponderosa Lodge is centered on the truth that in Jesus, we have life. For many students growing up in today’s world, following Jesus can be really difficult. Many students express that they feel lost, confused, and unsure where to find real life. Additionally, many students have experienced the loss of friends to suicide, or have faced suicidal ideation themselves. Students are questioning where to find real, lasting life, or even questioning what the purpose and meaning of life really is. In the context of this world, following Jesus is the opposite of what the world and our flesh tell us to do. Yet throughout the Gospel, we read about Jesus’ life and His conversations, and how He flipped everything upside down and redefined what life with Him is truly like.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus shares three key statements about life with Him:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Our prayer is that students will see that Jesus Himself offers the most abundant, hopeful, true, new, and real life they could ever have. It is our hope and prayer this summer that students will come to know more about the God who loves them so much that His only Son gave up His very life in order to redeem and restore us to Himself. He is the Author and source of life, and through His life, death, and resurrection, we “may have life and have it abundantly.”
As we approach this upcoming summer at Ponderosa Lodge, please join us in prayer for the students who will be here this summer, and the work God has in store to do!