We call our Pondo staff “door holders.” If you’ve ever been to Pondo and seen the staff shirts, you might have wondered why the odd title. This term comes from, Psalm 84:10 which says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (NIV) This term “door holder” reminds us why we are here and why we do what we do.
We train our staff to make sure everything is running smoothly, that the program is ready, and our campers feel safe and seen because we are “door holders” into God’s presence. Everything we do is about removing the barriers of life that can keep us from encountering God, the distractions, the internal walls, the busyness.
We have crazy fun out on the Rec Field, because it breaks down those internal walls. We serve good food, taking extra care for special needs and dietary restrictions because meals shared can build community. We don’t charge extra for activities because we don’t want any camper to be distracted by feeling left out because they couldn’t afford to do the Zipline with their friends. Every element of camp happens on purpose so that when we gather to worship, to pray, to open God’s word the camper’s heart is ready. The door to God’s presence has been held wide open.
Today, we have the privilege of sharing with you a few words from one of our Summer Staffers. Nicole was once a camper here at Pondo and this Summer we had the joy of this former camper joining the staff team. Her love for Jesus is infectious and we are honored by her words that resonate so deeply as it has been our experience of this place too.
“Being a part of the Pondo team has changed my life forever. I did not only leave Pondo with my relationship with God strengthened but I left knowing I now have a family up the mountain. Every relationship I built, every interaction with one another, every deep conversation, and every hilarious laugh we had together, Jesus was there and we knew it. God has such a special anointing over Pondo and I am so grateful I get to be a part of something so heavenly and God ordained!”
Being a “door holder” is more often than not, the unglamorous work of scrubbing bathrooms, and cleaning cabins, and long hours in a hot kitchen. It’s spreadsheets, and snow shoveling, and lots and lots of prayer. And it is standing in the gap through generous giving. The truth is, we could not keep camp at our low rates with an all-inclusive activities program, delicious meals, and well-kept facilities if it wasn’t for Gospel Partners who have given to Pondo. Whether monthly, annual, or one time gifts, the people who give are “door holders” paving the way for someone to have a life changing encounter with God.
And we have hopes and dreams and visions of expanding the reach of our ministry as we press into the more that God has for us. We want to reach so many more people through new annual events, remove even more distractions and enhance camper’s experiences here through upgrades to our program and facilities. But because what we charge for camp doesn’t even cover the actual cost of camp, we cannot press into the more and step into the season of deeper and farther reaching ministry without raising the money it would take to get us there. We are so grateful for church leader who ministers to their students all year long, to every parent patiently discipling every day, to ever staffer who serves with their whole heart, and to ever donor who gives generously, you are all holding the door open even wider into His presence!
If you would like more into on how to give to Pondo, CLICK HERE!