Advent devotion: Fortune Lake
I was standing at the entryway of Birch Cabin watching my family drive away. My parents had met here as counselors, and now, at ten years old, I was carrying out the Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp legacy. I was alone and nervous in Crystal Falls, Michigan, but I wouldn’t be for long. Quickly, Evan, David, Owen, and Alex welcomed me, laying the foundation for what would be my Fortune Lake family.
This yearly tradition, like Mary in Luke 2:19, gives me much to treasure and ponder — particularly the connection between Christians and God. Now, four years later, I don’t feel nervous standing at the door of a new cabin. I don’t see strangers — I see a group of people with little shared experience to base a friendship on, but Fortune Lake has brought us together. Twelve months of bonding is packed into seven days, which is what makes camp friends so special. We are connected to God for one unforgettable week. Like Mary, I treasure the experiences while I’m there, and ponder the bonds and the ways we grow in our faith for the rest of the year, awaiting the time when we get to return and make new memories.
Camp traditions are what bring us together and provide the memories I treasure. When the leaders announce the time for the Lord’s Prayer, everyone knows what to do. The entire group comes together during a campfire worship and lowers their voices to nothing. The crowd is silent until one of the leaders begins the prayer at a whisper. With every word, we get louder and louder until we are screaming at the top of our lungs. We want God to hear us. My camp family is united by something that Jesus taught us to do. I see these friends once a year, and each year, all of us have changed. However, I know that the love of God that binds us together at Fortune Lake will never change. Like Mary, I treasure my time at this holy place, and I ponder the memories in my heart.
John Mendelin is an eighth-grader at Pleasant Valley Junior High.