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Reflecting on Salkehatchie Summer Service

by Billy Rintz

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J. William "Billy" Rintz, pastor of Huntersville United Methodist Church since July 2001, earned his B.A. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and his M.Div. from Duke University. He and his wife, Vicki, have two children, Emily and Jason. Billy's interests include walking, woodworking, and gardening. Billy's first Salkehatchie experience was accompanying HUMC Youth to the Salkehatchie Camp in Camden, SC in 2002. He is currently the spiritual leader of Salkehatche Huntersville Camp.

Since Jerry Kita, our Camp Director for Salkehatchie here in Huntersville, NC, asked me to write some reflections from our first-ever NC-based Salkehatchie Summer Service for you, I have spent a fair amount of time considering what my reflections from this past summer's experience really were. Bottom line I've decided that mine are relatively simple.

"By the end of a week at Salkehatchie one will be both exhausted by all that had to be done and exhilarated by all that was, miraculously, accomplished."

Rev Billy Rintz

First, Salkehatchie can help you experience Jesus. The things of faith can easily get pushed aside in the midst of schoolwork, family life, and church activities. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling relatively empty inside ourselves, wishing for something to energize our relationship with Christ. Salkehatchie can be that something. By all means it takes us outside our comfort zones by putting us in new living and working situations. It requires new skills of some of us and asks others to put their skills to use in new and creative ways. The wonderful part of all of that is that by doing so, people can come face to face with Jesus himself. Our Lord taught that as you have "done it to the least of these you have done it to me." Spend a week trying to make someone's home a safer, drier, warmer place in which to live, and you will find your Christian faith coming alive. In a real sense, it can be like being with Christ himself.

Billy Rintz is set to great campers as they arrive for registration

My other reflection is like looking at one's self in a mirror or on the surface of still water; you see yourself. By the end of a week at Salkehatchie one will be both exhausted by all that had to be done and exhilarated by all that was, miraculously, accomplished. During the course of the week one will be challenged by homeowners' need, by the possibility of learning new skills, and by the experience of living with persons who only a few hours or days before were strangers. All in all, the week will help show you and others what you are made of. The wonderful part of that is that a person can come out of their Salkehatchie experience with a new sense of self. Salkehatchie enables one to see others, including persons caught in a cycle of poverty, and themselves truly as children of God.

My first experience with Salkehatchie changed me. God used it as a turning point in my life and my ministry at Huntersville United Methodist Church. Every contact I have had with Salkehatchie Summer Service since continues to change me and, always, it is for the better. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, I invite you to experience Salkehatchie Summer Service, at least once, and experience the change it can bring in others' and your own life.