Church camp is a beautiful place to connect to God in the midst of nature, loving friends, and summer games. Annie Cueni-Smith graciously shared with me her wonderful experience of serving at Eagle Sky of the Ozarks in Piedmont, Missouri. While she had never formerly attended this church camp, she said, “I really felt God calling me towards being a counselor, so a couple random google searches did the trick, and I found Eagle Sky and applied!” Annie counseled at Eagle Sky for six weeks. There were three weeks of kids camp (ages 7-12) and three weeks of teen camp (ages 13-18). The other seven weeks she offered her help at the retreats that took place there.
Annie’s day as a counselor at Eagle Sky began in a “triplex,” which were “basically three cabins conjoined that were all wood and had bunk beds.” She noted how beautiful and new they were. During retreat season, her living conditions changed but were of no lesser quality. In the morning, her schedule consisted of breakfast, a small Bible study with a discussion and “me and God time” following. After that, they would have an activity such as “gaga ball,” human foosball, or the ropes course. In the afternoon they would eat lunch and then have rest time, which Annie jokingly noted as the best part of the day. After their nap, they would go swimming in the lake, eat dinner, go to chapel, partake in another fun activity, and then her day ended in a prayer time with each of her campers. Annie stated, “This was my favorite time of night because it was where I got most of my connections with the kids. I got to see what they were going through, see how I could help them pray, and help them to further their faith through prayer. It was so powerful.”
While God was prevalent and worked in beautiful ways all throughout the summer, Annie shared one powerful story with me that was truly moving. There was a deaf teenage boy who had attended one of the camps. His family at home had never taught him sign language, his main way of communicating was paper and pencil. During the last night of camp that week, many campers were praying over him that he would be able to hear. Suddenly, he looked up in shock because he could hear the music that was playing in the room. The counselors took turns making noise and when they did he was able to pinpoint with his eyes closed where sounds were coming from. Annie finished the story saying, “The next day, they called his translator who said that he wouldn’t ever be able to hear anything unless a jet plane flew right by him. It was a true miracle and one of the best things that I have ever experienced. A true gift from God.”
When asked if she would want to serve at Eagle Sky again, Annie said, “in a heartbeat.” She then concluded, “I learned so much this summer, and it was such an extraordinary experience. The kids that I met and mentored this summer were so inspiring, and the presence of God is at Eagle Sky. It is an experience that I recommend to anyone who is feeling stagnant in their adventure with Christ.”
Media by: Di’Mond Salmond