Practical Application | Sarah Ring’s Counseling Internship
Of the various ministry opportunities available at MBU, one that many students take advantage of is working at summer camp. No matter which camp God draws them to, students are in for not only a fun and exhilarating experience but also a time of growth and learning throughout each of the challenges they will face. Sarah Ring was no exception.
The Experience Gained
On July 11, 2021, Sarah set foot in Peniel Bible Camp in Fredericktown, OH, ready to serve as a counselor for two weeks as preparation for her senior year as a Biblical Counseling major. With her Piano Pedagogy minor, she hopes to find a local church upon graduation in which she can use her counseling training and teach piano as well. And, as anyone who has served at summer camp can testify, there is no better context in which to practice both of those skills!
Sarah grew up attending Peniel Bible Camp as a camper, and in past summers she worked in various other departments on campus, but counseling was a completely new experience to her. Having been on both sides, as a camper and a staff member, Sarah has learned to appreciate camp much more and getting to know the full-time staff members as personal friends was a special opportunity for her.
The first week, Sarah supervised, alongside a co-counselor, a cabin of around ten to twelve elementary-aged girls, and the second week a cabin of middle-school girls. Although attendance was low overall, she acknowledges this as a good thing: “The smaller size allows deeper, meaningful relationships with co-counselors and other staff, as well as with campers. It also allows greater connection with the campers’ home churches for further discipleship.”
As Sarah counseled, she found that the procedures and methods of counseling she learned in the classroom had practical applications in helping her understand her campers and their individual struggles. Perhaps the most significant contribution this experience had to her education was in giving her the chance to experience local church ministry in the context of camp. “It helped me realize how important attendance and involvement… is for Christian growth. It also gave me more perspective for taking in the new information I receive in classes to be able to apply it better.”
The Lessons Learned
The campers learned and grew during their respective weeks of camp, and Sarah testifies that she grew as well: “God taught me more through messages and devotions each day than I expected, and I realized that gave me a unique opportunity to direct my girls to learn those things as well since I was growing through them myself.” Something specific that God focused on was her need to recognize her own strengths and weaknesses, both practically and spiritually. Going into her senior year of college, Sarah has a stable understanding of where she needs more training and areas that she has mastered. This understanding will guide her through her final semesters as she maximizes her experience at MBU and seeks employment after graduation.
Sarah also acknowledges her need for reliance on God and how important spending time in His Word each day was to her leadership in the cabin. She knew God was pushing her to read the Bible every day and to glean from it the wisdom to help her girls work through their struggles. “I learned how important it is to rely on the Lord for words to say, strength for each day, and the right attitude toward difficult people,” Sarah states.
When she left camp on July 24, Sarah had grown not only as a counselor but as an individual. She recognizes her absolute dependence on God as the ultimate lesson he taught her over her internship, summing it up perfectly with this statement: “No ministry I can do would be effective without His working, and that inspires me to learn to be even better in my strong areas and improve the weak ones, [and] to let Him work through me as His instrument in others’ lives.”