Impact Stories

A Much Bigger Life

Janna shares her story from her younger years and how she ended up coming to FLUMC. From there she speaks to relationships formed and how that opened the doors for her to a Much Bigger Life!

Janna Lauver didn’t start out attending a United Methodist church. “I had an elementary Sunday school kind of faith,” she said.
When a friend invited her to a summer camp in the 7th grade, it set the stage for a conversation about what she and her mother wanted for her. “My mom wanted me to have an experience outside of my small town in Chester. She wanted me to attend a camp that was trusted and safe, so she signed me up for Flathead Lake when I was in middle school,” she said. “I pretty much wanted the same thing. I wanted to get outside my normal friend group where my friends were chosen by my parents. I was an anomaly in the group because I didn’t grow up there. I was looking for my people – people that thought like me and had a genuine sense of love for other people – people who were more worldly, more accepting, and more loving.”
“The structure of Flathead Lake, the way it is set up in cabin groups of girls, built friendships and trust. The leaders in the cabins and small groups were all trusted, inspiring, and loving adults, but they were people who listened and ask questions and cared about what you said,” Janna shared. “They fostered real relationships with people. I know that people cared about me. Because I found my people there, I kept in touch with them by email, mail, and phone.”
In the 8th grade, Janna joined the United Methodist Church in part because of her experience at Flathead. Today, she serves at Bozeman UMC working with children, youth, and communications. Camp not only helped her develop friendships and widen her circle of community, but it also helped her build her understanding of social justice and a personal relationship with Jesus.
“At Flathead, I heard people talk about what they were doing with their faith. Counselors talked about being leaders in their church. Because of camp, I saw there was more than just believing, there is doing something with your believing, and at camp, we were empowered to do more with our faith. Because of that teaching, I got involved with fun things like creation care when I got home from camp. Camp is more than a week. You take it home with you and engage at home and at your church. The one decision I made to go to camp with a friend led to a much bigger life.”