Wind of the Spirit
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing WIND, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Acts 2:1,2
Prior to the camp season of 2001, David stood in the field across the street from Camp Ojibway on Lake Mudhen. He was engaging a company, on the verge of building a ropes course. During the meeting, some snarky remark was made, “it would take a tornado” to change the course of our planning.
We’ve always said that God is funny like that. When David and I became directors 16 years ago – God made it clear to us, the ministry wasn’t about us. It wasn’t in a rude way – it was in an affirming way that God was in control and the success of the ministry didn’t rest upon our shoulders. It belonged to God and all that would happen throughout each summer would be dependent on Him and His strength. (Exodus 3:11-12)
Looking back, I didn’t understand how important and significant that word to us was. On June 18, 2001, with 54 campers in session, an F-3 tornado blew through our camp. It was terrifying, and yet God miraculously protected each and every person…not even a scrape, although cabins were flipped upside down and the roof was lifted off the building in which we took shelter. So many emotions surfaced – fear, anger, gratitude, helplessness, and awe to name a few.
I’m not going to try and understand the theology of the storm – but I know the Lord and His ways. His spirit was moving during this intense season of change for the camp ministry. He provided, challenged and changed hearts.
I love that the Holy Spirit is referred to in scripture as wind. It makes sense in our humanness. Sometimes the presence of the Holy Spirit is like a spring breeze – gently leading, guiding, encouraging and moving us. And sometimes his presence is like that F-3 tornado – it’s undeniable that the Spirit is moving and we mustn’t get in the way, but instead take shelter in His presence!
Some lessons learned as I look back for the presence of the Holy Spirit:
Protection – When the Holy Spirit is on the move; protection will be upon his people. Sometimes this means physical protection and sometimes this means spiritual. God protected the campers, he protected their hearts and he taught us all some important lessons about his power and faithfulness through this storm.
Provision – The summer of the tornado and the next season, through the leading of the Spirit and the listening ears of his people camp carried on. We spent two summers renting space. This wouldn’t have been “our” plan. However, when God provides and the Spirit moves, our response is to act. God provided a beautiful space on Rice Lake – without the “wind of the Spirit” we literally wouldn’t have moved.
Guidance – The weeks following the tornado were intense. There were lots of important meetings with very difficult decisions to be made. Should we rebuild at Mudhen? Should we look for new property? Should Hope Church even have a camp? These were some of the most challenging questions we faced as young directors. We felt the weight of the decisions. I remember wanting to insist on my own way and being determined to have people listen to my voice. This is where the presence of the Spirit was felt. The Holy Spirit spoke through wise people to lead the way to new property. This was tough – but the ways of the Lord are higher and when we are willing to submit it’s always better!
Peace – Even though there was much turmoil as decisions were being made, camp carried on. The Holy Spirit’s fruit of peace was present in the ministry team, amongst the staff and campers. This was God’s gracious gift to us during a terribly challenging situation.
Transformation – Through this trial, the Holy Spirit brought incredible transformation to David and my life, the lives of our staff, and those who invested in the process of moving Camp Ojibway to Rice Lake. The steady presence of the Spirit guiding, comforting and affirming us to let God lead the process and to surrender control were important life lessons that we continue to carry with us today.
God has done an amazing work at Camp Ojibway for nearly 60 years. We are thankful to have witnessed the work of the Spirit through our own personal experiences as campers, and as college-age staff and now as the directors. I am convinced that what fuels the ministry of Camp Ojibway is the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6
Kim Laufenburger, Executive Minister and Camp Ojibway Co-Director