By Jean M. Brindel

Some say in today's world that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame.

This new adage reflects that all of us have a story to tell, and it will hold the attention of the general public for about 15 minutes.

The camping ministry has a story too, but it takes a long time to tell because it is the story of us - you and me along with lots of great friends experiencing life in a Christian community for a few short summer days. Those days were and are life changing and life giving.

As I've gone around the conference asking people about their support for the camping ministry project, many people have shared their stories. They range from being away from home for the first time to meeting their spouse at camp. Pastors often share they answered the call to ministry at camp. Whatever the story, there is no doubt that camping changes lives and brings out the story teller in all of us.

The North Indiana Conference would love to hear your story. This can be done in a couple of ways. First, at the North Indiana Annual Conference session at Purdue from May 31 to June 2, there will be a special Camping Project Capital Funds booth in Elliott Hall outside the auditorium. At the booth participants can pick up a card or two that will help to reflect your story. On a lanyard, they can place the cards that will say things like: "I gave my life to Christ at Camp;" "I met my spouse at Camp;" "I answered the call to ministry at camp" and "I had a life changing experience at camp."

There also will be a "video story-telling booth." Here, participants will have the opportunity to share their stories on video. The video will become part of the archives of the camping story as the power of this important ministry is shared. Each person is invited to share two minutes of a story, so those who wish to participate in the video need to be prepared for two minutes of fame.

Another way to participate is by mailing your story to the Capital Fund team. These stories will be complied and archived. Mail your story to the North Indiana Conference Center using this address: My Story, North Indiana Conference, P.O. Box 869, Marion, IN. 46952-0869. Stories will be given to the Capital Fund team. Please do not send your stories by e-mail.

As I think of my own life story, camping has been an interglacial part. Everything from giving my life to Christ at age 12 at Camp Adventure, answering the call to ministry at age 18 at Senior High Institute, to missing my first year as dean of Senior High Institute because I was on maternity leave. That story might take more than two minutes. I would like to hear your story, too.

Jean M. Brindel, CFRE, AFP, serves as senior pastor of Saint Matthew United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Ind. Her e-mail address is jbrindel@sbcglobal.net.