Four students–one SSTer, one Maple Scholar, one camp counselor and one Ministry Inquiry program participant–share their warm weather experiences.

“This summer I had the pleasure of leaving the flat farmland of Indiana behind in favor of the much more dramatic Colorado Rockies as I worked at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. I was a counselor and was able to work with kids from third grade through high school. We went on three hikes every week, to valleys, waterfalls and mountains, including 14,110-foot-high Pikes Peak. We occasionally had to coax campers into making it all the way to the end, but I don’t think they ever regretted it once they got there. I worked with students from every other Mennonite college, and had a great time bonding with them and learning about their experiences. The best part of the summer was definitely the amazing people I encountered while there. In fact, I liked the people at Rocky Mountain so much that I decided to live with two of them this year!”

— Micah Detweiler, sophomore. music education major

“One day when walking down the crowded streets of St. Louis, Senegal, I passed a sheep. This was not the first sheep I passed, and many came after, but this one stuck out in particular. This sheep was standing around eating with its fellow sheep and goat friends. It was afternoon and the sun was shining, causing the animals to squint their eyes so much it looked like they were shut. This sheep was chewing its food with its eyes closed and it seemed there was nothing in the world it would rather be doing. It was so content to be there–something I had been struggling with for weeks, and the sheep just got it. The sheep was just so happy with where it was at and in seeing that example I got a glimpse of what I should be doing. Sometimes the best things are recognized in small moments of quiet contentedness.”

–Jess Sprunger, junior, art major

“At Oak Grove Mennonite Church, pastor Doug Zehr challenged me to stretch myself, but also to know my own limits; to approach each day with vigor and each conversation with a shepherd’s heart; to keep confidentiality, but always keep God at the center. I learned more from our debriefing sessions after a hard visit to the house of a dying woman or a heated board meeting than all the scholarly articles on the Good Library database. It’s one thing to know facts, theories and religious terminology; it is another thing entirely to know the right words to say to someone who has just lost a loved one or found out their child has been diagnosed with a rare disease. Sometimes, I found out, we should simply listen.

My summer taught me that I am capable of doing most of the things I always associated with church ministry: preaching, singing, teaching, praying out loud, smiling a lot and occasionally saying something pithy. It also taught me that those things are only superficial and that deep down a pastor is one part teacher, one part counselor, one part scholar, one part politician and one part – one big part – servant.”

–Jeffrey Moore, senior, communication and bible & religion double major

“This summer, I had the opportunity to explore ethnomusicology, archival methods and international travel, all from the comfort of the Goshen College campus. You may ask how this is possible, but through Goshen’s student-research program, Maple Scholars, anything is possible. I worked closely with faculty advisor Dr. Debra Brubaker and professor emerita Dr. Mary Oyer. The project focused on archiving, digitizing and cataloguing recordings that Dr. Oyer made during her travels in 22 countries in Africa during the 1970s and 80s. Dr. Oyer recorded 150 tapes, so my focus for the summer was to transfer all of these tapes to digital files, which I completed during the last week of the program. I also recorded Dr. Oyer’s narrative about the recordings and specific festivals she attended. We hope to be able to make the collection of recordings public in the near future for research and enjoyment.”

–Lisa Horst, senior, music education major