Every summer growing up, I looked forward to going to summer camp.
I went to Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp and learned about God and the Bible, and got to talk to other people my age about faith issues.
It was really an amazing experience.
In high school, some of the people that worked at the camp started talking to me about being a counselor. They told me that they thought I was really cut out to be a counselor, and I should really think about applying in a couple years.
I was really looking forward to becoming a counselor at Riverside…
But, after high school, my life took a different path. I got a job as a photojournalist at a local TV station. I wasn’t upset; I loved my job. Unfortunately, it meant I had to sacrifice my dream of being a counselor.
And that never really felt right.
Only a month after I signed a two year contract, I felt a calling to find a way to work at camp. I didn’t dwell on the idea too much. It wasn’t an option. I signed my life away.
One night in February, I woke up with a jolt of emotion. I could not shake this feeling that I needed to work at Riverside.I got out of bed and walked to a church a few blocks away. As I knelt on the front steps of the church, I prayed that if this was God telling me to leave my dream job, that He would leave me alone and find somebody else.
Just to “prove to God” that there was no possible way that I was going to be a camp counselor, I even filled out an application to work at Riverside.
Dan, the director of Riverside, called me a couple days later to let me know that all positions had been filled, and maybe if I had applied a few weeks earlier I could have had a job, but now there was just no way.
I was satisfied.
But I still couldn’t shake this feeling that I had to be a camp counselor.
A week or two later, my buddy Kevin and I went for a nice long drive. Kevin told me that if it was really God’s will for me to work at Riverside, I probably should find some way to do that. I prayed that God would give me a sign, something to tell me what I was supposed to do.
What happened next is not an exaggeration. It was like that scene in Bruce Almighty.
We passed “Riverside Rd.” We passed “Riverside Tree Farm.” We passed “Riverside, Iowa. “We seriously saw six or seven “Riverside” signs.
I knew that God had some sort of plan for me to work at Riverside.
The next day I walked into work fully prepared to quit my job. I really wanted to do what God wanted me to do.As soon as my foot hit the door, everybody in the news room started singing my praises.
“Great job on that story you shot last night.”
“That was probably the best work you’ve ever done.”
“You’re a born photographer.”
“There’s nobody else that could have shot that story as great as you did.”
I couldn’t leave this!
This was my dream job. This was my life. This was what I loved to do.
That night I lost my job. There was a little incident involving a live truck and a street light.
Two days later, I woke up at 9am to my phone ringing.
It’s Dan, the director of Riverside.
“Hey Patrick, I just wanted to let you know that, if you’re still interested, a counselor position just opened up. You think you might want to come work here for the summer?”
“Yes, Dan! You don’t know how happy I am to hear that.”