Growing as a shepherd
Eli Hall said he feels like a shepherd.
Hall has been a camp counselor at South Mountain Christian Camp for three years. Every year he has worked with and ministered to youth during the summer camp program.
"I feel like you take on that perspective of being a shepherd. You look after them for a whole week and lead them in the right direction," Hall said. "My favorite part is the experience of loving on these kids."
Hall, 19, is originally from Ellenboro and now attends Ignite Academy, a Bible-based college in Virginia. He said he has always known that he was being called into ministry.
"My name is Eli, which comes from priest Eli in the Bible. That's how it was given to me and ever since then, I've wanted to be a pastor," Hall said. "It just feels right. I've always had that passion."
Hall has been attending SMCC since he was in elementary school. He started as a camper, worked his way up as a junior counselor and then landed a camp counselor position.
"I wanted to come here just because it was a step I wanted to take ministry wise and it's working with kids. I've always liked working with kids in church," Hall said.
He said that his experiences at the camp have helped him to grow in his journey to becoming a pastor.
"It has helped me with leadership. I'm in a role where I'm ministering to kids and watching after them spiritually and physically," Hall said. "It has also helped me grow in faith. These kids come from all different backgrounds, they're here and under your protection for a week. So you basically pray for them because once they leave, they're gone and you don't know what's going to happen."
Hall, who just completed his first semester at the Ignite Academy, has been on mission trips to New York City, Nicaragua, Mexico and Kenya. His school is mission-based and students travel somewhere new each spring semester.
"I went on my first mission trip to New York City in 9th or 10th grade and since then I wanted to go into the mission field. My favorite part about the trips is watching God work. I just love telling people about God and spending time with people," Hall said.
Once Hall completes his two years at the Ignite Academy, he has the choice of taking two more years of online classes to receive his pastoral degree or taking an internship in another country.
"My ultimate dream is to preach on every continent," Hall said.