Church of the Week: Camp Mihaska, Bourbon, Missouri

I shared with some dear friends recently the story of one of the formative spiritual experiences of my life. It was at a Salvation Army camp in Missouri--Camp Mihaska in (oddly enough) Bourbon, Missouri.

It was the Summer of 1972, and my mother was dying. And I knew it. Nor was I particularly happy about it. I remember very little about that week at camp (with my cousin Ed), but I remember this: sometime that week, I knelt at the altar in an outdoor amphitheater somewhere there on the grounds, and wrestled with God, eventually reaching a point of complete surrender.

I searched online for a photo of that amphitheater, which became a sacred place for me. I struck out. I think maybe it was in the spot which, in the photo above, is now occupied by a big pond at the bottom of the frame (which I think is actually a fish hatchery, believe it or not). But I could be wrong.

In any case, I don't think I've been back to the camp since. But one night in 1972, it was a holy place to me, my own personal Peniel.


  1. You've gotta love any Army camp in a place called Bourbon. Why didn't I think of working my summers there? Eh, they probably wouldn't have let me near the place.

  2. You're right, Joe. As far as I know, Camp Mihaska is located in the most ironically-named place for a Salvation Army camp. I imagine folks still find it funny, after all these years.

  3. I would have been 7 that year and probably was at the music, sunbeam and family camps that year. My dad used to take us fishing in the hatchery. I remember well the stone pavilion. My brothers both worked there and played endless pranks. I hear that it has been remodelled and is even more stunningly beautiful than before.