Callie Rieder’s Life Change Story
During my childhood, I attended the same church. I knew everyone, everyone knew me, and I was there any time I could be. In high school, II was often asked to help, guide, lead, and teach, so I was always front and center. I saw my leadership placement as a medal of honor from God. I thought it meant I was a great Christian and that I totally had it together; therefore He gave me these opportunities. It wasn’t a sense of love or gratitude to Christ that drove my service in those years; it was pride through and through. Thankfully, God is a sovereign God. He blessed the years and people I got to lead and teach, even through selfish ambition. Then, I was introduced to FUGE Camps.
My senior year of high school, my youth minister of the past five years was stepping down to follow the Lord’s next calling on his life. About December of that year, our new youth minister started. He and his wife had both worked for FUGE Camps for years. My youth group, on the other hand, had never heard of it. We had spent all our summers at another summer camp that we had come to love. Needless to say, I went into this “new summer camp” with a heavy and bitter heart.
So, as a senior in high school I showed up to my first ever FUGE Camp at Union University. I had built a wall. This was one of my last things I would get to do in the youth and it wasn’t even what I (notice that selfish word I) wanted. But, I saw those staffers and knew then and there (out of that prideful leadership place in my heart) that I loved what they did and I wanted to do what they were doing. All week long, I watched and admired the staffers. I even found myself a little jealous of them thinking, “I could totally do that”.
Fast forward a year: I applied to work for FUGE Camps for the following summer. At the time, I was too young but was placed on support staff and as a lifeguard. For those who don’t know, support staff just means you do whatever is needed and go where hands are needed. It was A LOT of work…hard, tiring, exhausting work both physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Lord taught me hard and taught me quick what true service, true leadership, and a life on mission REALLY meant that summer. One moment in particular, I vividly remember lying on the floor of the auditorium in tears thinking I was going to die from heat stroke, crying out “I was wrong, I wasn’t meant to do this, I’m not meant to lead God, I can’t do this. You picked the wrong girl.” And His response was so clear in my heart, “You’re right Callie, you can’t. But the thing is, ‘I can.’”
The rest of that summer, I served from the heart. No longer was I pulling from an empty bucket and trying to do it all on my own will for my own pride. It became the overflow in me that propelled me through the rest of the summer and ultimately carried over into life back home. To this day, I’m far from perfecting it but I’m constantly reminded of the summers that He has carried me, called me to more than I imagined, and allowed me to be a small part of His big Kingdom story. Not because I was ever capable of it on my own, but because God was the one all along who would make it happen through me. The girl who showed up at FUGE Camps her senior year of high school had no idea the part God would have FUGE Camps play in her walk. Summer of 2018 will be my fifth summer serving, and I can honestly say I’ve experienced life change at FUGE.