SWO Staff: Saige Valfre

What is your role at SWO?

I have been at SWO since May of last year; this past summer was my first one! Now my current job here has two parts: working with students and working on grounds. Whenever we have retreats, I am assigned to a group of guys from a church that I get to hang out with, and minister to, the whole retreat. I get to tell these guys about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am blessed. Now the other part of my job is working in the grounds department. Whenever students are not at camp, my job is to maintain the grounds around campus. This will look different every week; sometimes, I am a part of the crew re-doing the volleyball court, and sometimes I am splitting/moving firewood. I truly love both aspects of my job!

How did you hear about SWO?

I was a camper! I never actually came for a normal summer, but I did come for SMO. My church, Lakewood Baptist Church, came to camp for different retreats throughout the year: men’s retreat, purity retreats, D-now’s, etc. Like any other camper, I always loved coming to Snowbird. I always saw that there was something about SWO that really attracted me to it. In the summer of 2018, my sister Madison Alexandrea Pearl (Mady) Valfre worked a summer here. Afterward, she would always press me to apply for the next summer. I wasn’t sure about it, and I definitely didn’t want to do it just because she told me to! Truly it was that I was scared. I was scared to make such a big step and leave my home for three months; the idea was so foreign to me. After a lot of prayer and fasting, I could see the Lord pushing me more and more towards working the summer. It came to the point that I did not know what was in store for me, but I trusted Him, and so I listened. I filled my application out a week before it was due and found out a month or so later that I got in. Terrified and excited, I moved here in May with the expectation to leave in August to come back home. However, the Lord did not want me to leave Snowbird in August. I had heard of the SWO Institute program, but I hadn’t ever thought about really doing it. After some more prayer, the Lord made it clear to me that He wanted me to stay here for a year as an intern. I filled out the application and I got in! In August, my sister (Madison Alexandrea Pearl Valfre) and I moved to Snowbird, both terrified and excited.

What is your favorite SWO memory?

The week that everyone went to Honduras on missions. I got moved to the rec crew with Skyler Smith and Courtney C-fart, and we had to remove all of the foam from the foam pit. It was quite a task. We spent days submerged in foam along with old band-aids, latex gloves (found in the foam pit), buttons, various insect nests, and many random socks. We did find $20 in quarters, but at what cost? At what cost?

What is your favorite camp meal?

During Men’s Retreats, Barb makes hot wings and these buffalo chicken sandwiches. Those are definitely my favorite.

What is your favorite rec?

When I came to camp as a camper, I was terrified of every rec; mainly scared of heights. But now that I am over that, I love most of the recs! The most fun one has to be the goliath swing though. I really hate that swing, but it is very fun.

What was the best part about being in the SWO Institute?

The SWO Institute presents an opportunity that is very rare: you get to work in a ministry, while also taking classes preparing you for ministry. Granted the classes include four-hour lectures, but doing this alongside other believers pursuing the same goal as you is so encouraging. The late nights spent in the Metal Building, everyone separately reading their textbooks and then joining together to study as a group for the big test the next day; that I really enjoyed. It was exhausting, but growth isn’t supposed to be easy.

What is your salvation story?

I did not grow up in a Christian home; it was not until middle school that my older brother got me to go to church with him. I loved to go to youth simply because there were stupid guys my age and a bunch of pretty girls—I didn’t understand any of the spiritual stuff, I was just having fun! It was at a weekend retreat my youth pastor called Genesis Weekend where that changed. I can’t remember what the specific teaching was on, but I know that the Lord brought me to my knees trembling at that retreat. He showed me that I was a sinner and I needed Jesus Christ’s blood to wash me clean; Christ saved my soul at that retreat, and I haven’t been the same since.

In this season, what is the Lord teaching you?

This has been probably the best, most growing, season of my life. That being said, it has kind of been like I am an ant and there is a magnifying glass shining the sun on me; the heat is good, but so much concentrated directly on me kind of burns. What I mean is that this season here at Snowbird has caused me to grow a lot, which is awesome, but the growth can hurt sometimes. Sanctification is not a painless process. As God burns up all that doesn’t glorify Him, it can be painful. This pain is good though; it is a sort of sweet pain, like pulling a tooth out. Throughout this season, the Lord has been teaching me to see my struggles and failures as a part of me being sanctified. Not as an excuse to screw up more, but to see the big picture of my life: God is in control, and He is molding me more and more into His image daily. 

What are you currently reading?

Right now I am studying through the book of Judges; a crazy book showing the depravity of man when he does only what is right in his own sight. I am reading Pilgrim’s Progress, that is, whenever I find the time. I highly recommend Pilgrim’s Progress! It is essentially a giant allegory for the Christian walk- I really like it.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

The Lord is calling me to youth ministry! The goal is to be a youth pastor eventually. Right now, my smaller goal is to get into positions that can train me to be a youth pastor in the future. Today that is interning at SWO and taking classes online from Southeastern; in the fall, that will be interning under my youth pastor as a ministry intern and continuing to take classes from Southeastern. In the next 5 years, I see myself pursuing the Lord’s will for my life. Making a plan for your life is dangerous because the Lord could so easily have a different plan from you. That being said, I am just going to trust in the Lord and His plan for me.

What is one thing you want the person reading this to know?

Do not view this life’s pains and afflictions as punishment on you for your failures or mistakes. Consider that God is using these pains and failures to sanctify you to look like Christ. He is molding you through all of this mess into the image of Christ. Rejoice in this truth; live in light of it. This is not to give an excuse to keep on sinning but to encourage the struggling saints.

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