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Guest Services Director
Many of you will remember that our beloved Cristal Koop left her position as Guest Services Director in July. When God closes one door, He opens another. Vivian hit the ground running, handled it like a champ and now that she is settled it we wanted to officially introduce you to her. Enjoy!
So, I think we are all wondering:
What’s up with the long name, Vivian?
In Brazil, where I am from, we keep all of our last names. It’s an honoring way for a girl to carry on her father’s last name and to honor both of our parents. Here in Canada you typically take your husband's last name. So, my first name is Vivian Karine. My mom’s last name is Nassar. My dad’s last name is Baptista. My husband’s last name is Goertz. When I lived in Alberta they didn’t care how many names I had but BC is making me change it. It takes a year.
I am never doing that to my daughter, it is so frustrating! I will give her the middle name Baptista and the last name Goertz. I want my last name to be Goertz like my husband….we will get there!
How did you end up in Canada?
My step dad is a geologist. He went to a conference in Brazil and Shell, Canada was there hiring. He prayed about it and felt we would be missionaries in Canada so he took the job. I was in grade 12 and hardly spoke English. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t read the menu at Boston Pizza- I read “chicken fingers” and I was like “who eats that? I am not eating chicken’s fingers. That is disgusting! What is this place?” I took English in Brazil since grade 10 and knew English grammar but not how to speak and read well at all. Someone asked me “What’s up?” and I looked up, confused.
What’s your Story with Jesus?
I grew up in a Christian home; my grandpa was a Pastor. The worship team and choir were my family. I took communion because I liked drinking juice in church, not because I understood what it meant. When I was 14 I went to YWAM (Youth with a Mission) King’s Kids and I accepted Christ because it became real! It happened when I was outside and read about God’s care for me being like the birds, a flock of birds immediately flew overhead and I was amazed at His care for me personally. I am very visual. When I was 18 my grandpa came to Canada to baptize me. This was a very precious thing for me because he was not only my grandpa, but also my Pastor growing up. He listened to my heart and prayed for me. I have always been involved with worship, writing and singing; it is how I feel closest to God.
How did you end up at Charis Camp?
I was working as an Environmental Technologist. I was frustrated at my job as it was not a good fit anymore. I love customer service and helping people feel loved and accepted. I loved worship. I have always been in love with camp life and I prayed that one day I could work in ministry doing camp. I wanted to go to Bible College to do a Worship and Counselling degree but it didn’t work out because of the cost.
One day I was driving to worship practice with Lois Piccioni and she told me about the Guest Services job at Charis. It sounded too good to be true. I had an interview with Darren and Clarinda and was literally offered the job the next day, so I quit my job. I am not a morning person, but my first day at Charis I have never woke up so happy in the morning! That is how my husband, Joshua, knew how great this change was!
What do you love about being at Charis?
Relationships. Everyone is gracious and supportive. I feel like I have been here for a few years, not a few months- it’s a family. I really appreciate it! I come from a very family culture background. I am home here; it is amazing how perfect it is!
Any Fun Facts we should know?
I worked as a clown doing parties and face painting for years and I play 11 instruments!
Wow, thank you Vivian! You have been a wonderful addition to the Charis family and we are so glad God brought you to us! Your love for people is so evident in all you do! We look forward to seeing your clown outfit in action!
Summer Role: Program Director
What do you do as a Program Director, Leslie?
I plan everything from the beginning of Summer camp to the execution and all that needs to come together. That includes making camp schedules, setting deadlines, creating a staff training plan, etc. At camp I make sure everything comes together as planned as I equip and empower the staff to do their job well. I have realized that you can plan and organize things really well but you need to be able to problem solve, think on your feet and make it work in reality. I also help with challenging camper situations like discipline and homesickness in an effort to support our leaders and campers. I really enjoy that time of helping campers because it gives me the opportunity to walk with our cabin leaders and connect with campers. What I really appreciate about my role is that I get to see the bigger picture of camp - asking the why and then figuring out the how.
What is your Charis Camp Story?
I have come here with my own Church since I was in grade 8 as a camper and then a leader. How I was led to become a cabin leader here at Charis camp was an answer to prayer two years ago. I felt God called me back to be the summer camp Program Director at this place for this season. It has been a faith stretching journey to be here, never had I imagined I would be working at a camp, let alone in Chilliwack. Life is cray cray when you’re on a journey with Jesus. It has been an incredible journey as God has transformed me, worked in and through me to impact lives and be part of this discipleship model through Marty and the staff here. The vision of this camp resonates with me. It is a training ground of impacting leaders so they can be equipped to go where God is calling them.
What has God been teaching you in this season?
The biggest lesson for me this year has been about how I have valued planning and foresight, time and productivity. I don’t like interruptions, especially setbacks! However, those moments taught me to pause - Be Still - in the hustle and bustle of life and work, and know that He is God. God is teaching me to submit and surrender. A verse that has been meaningful through this is Isaiah 55:8-9 where God says His ways and thoughts are higher than mine. I want to live this life unsafe and unsure, but not afraid. It’s been all about stepping out in faith, having my desire be Jesus and have everything be a loving sacrifice to God. This hasn’t always been the case...I grew up as a Chrisitian, knowing all these things but it has moved from head to heart knowledge in a whole new way here. I love being able to share that growth with other Leaders. We all have a story to tell.
What has been a highlight so far this Summer?
I love camp ministry and how it impacts kids. Witnessing kids being transformed by the power of the gospel and the love of Christ through camp is always exciting. Being in my role this year I get to equip and empower leaders to do the same by inviting young leaders to follow me as they follow Christ. Working with the program staff also means I get to encourage and challenge them to tap into their gifts and talents. They make camp ten times better than it would’ve been if I were to do everything myself. I love watching God work through their lives through their roles and am excited for what God will call them onto next! It has been amazing to celebrate with the leaders about what is happening in their campers lives. Even the challenges have been amazing as I watch the leaders grow and change - leaning into Jesus - to love and serve in a way that is only possible because of Christ in their lives.
If you could tell everyone anything about Charis, what would it be?
I love this place. My life has been changed here!
It is the people that are here, not the program or structure of camp. I have witnessed so many kids and leaders, young and old -changed. I love everything I get to witness God doing here. Wherever you are in life and your walk with God, I would highly recommend coming here to experience God and witness his work in such a unique setting and ministry. It’s an amazing place!
It is a great place to experience what Christian community can look like. The verse that comes to mind is John 13: 34-35 “As I have loved you, so you must love one another...:” We live this at Charis. This is what really stood out to me when I first came - a community of people who love Jesus and love kids.
I hear you have had a major life changing event happen at camp with a special someone...a bit of Camp Romance, perhaps???
I came to camp because I really wanted to be here for the kids and be part of what God was doing here but another individual came back last summer for the same reasons and we met! It all started with appreciating one another but didn’t think too much about it during summer months. We kept in touch after, our fondness for each other grew, His love for Christ was evident. Eventually we started dating! We both really appreciate this place, this ministry is so precious. The annual staff knew us really well and were super excited to see this relationship unfold. It was funny to watch but also means a lot to have our “camp family’” be involved! It has been fun coming back this year, serving together and discovering how we compliment one another.
Aside from that can I just say how much I love our Staff this summer?
I love the silly goofiness of the Program staff. We have started talking like each other and laugh a lot about it. I catch myself using different vocabulary than I came in with at times. I love the energy. Plus they are highly capable and everyone works together in their gifts as the Body of Christ. I love watching it all come together. Love this amazing group of people … like I mentioned earlier, it’s not the program or facility, but the people who made Charis Summer Camp 2019 what it is. I love the high energy, fun, and relational part of camp but honestly there’s so many moving parts at camp. There’s a place for everyone; including a city girl like me ;)
Thank you, Leslie! You have been a gift from God to Charis this Summer. It has been a privilege to be your family and get a front row seat to God's hand in your life and your transformation!