New Blood II: Dry Creek to Uganda


Sunset on Banda Island, Lake Victoria Uganda

New Blood II: Gotta have it.

Yesterday, we shared about the need for new  blood in any organization and ministry.

If you missed this blog about our new team member, JD Hull, and a guitar player named Steve Gaines, you can access it at


The second story is from Louisiana as well as Uganda.

Recently, DeDe and I watched Todd and Jessica Burnaman arrive through the Entebbe airport.

We picked them up at the airport last Monday night. They arrived before midnight and flew out early the next morning.


Todd and Jessica with their friend, Robert Zziwa.
Todd and Jessica with their friend, Robert Zziwa.

The Burnaman’s are on the sixth trip by our church in less than two years.


Todd is on his third Ugandan trip and Jessica on her second.


Like JD Hull, Todd is new blood in my life.

He is the manager of Dry Creek Baptist Camp, where he succeeded me after my fourteen years as leader.


I had the privilege of mentoring Todd beginning in 1999. He provided new blood in every position we placed him in. This culminated in his coming aboard as camp intern.


In this full time capacity, Todd and his new bride, Jessica, provided new blood at the camp, our church, our school (where Jessica taught with my wife DeDe) and our community.


When Hurricane Katrina, followed by its evil twin sister Rita, hit Louisiana, in 2005, Dry Creek Camp went into ministry mode. We took in hundreds of Katrinaites and within a month took a direct shot from Rita.

I write about this time in the short story collection, Hearts across the Water.

We dealt daily with every crisis under the sun during, as well as after, the storms. Todd showed his maturing leadership in dealing with the daily challenges.

Late 2005.

That’s when God began the process of moving me beyond the Camp. It’s hard to explain but I felt the Lord’s leadership prodding me that my tenure at the Camp was ending.

This is how I felt God speaking into my life:

You’ve done your job here at the Camp.

I’m releasing you for the next steps of your journey. I’ve blessed your time here, but if you stay on beyond my timing, I cannot bless this Camp the way I wish.

I knew I was being released.

It was time for the next season.

I had no idea this release would lead to my writing this blog from Lake Victoria in Africa.


I knew Todd was ready to lead the Camp to the next level. At the same time, I didn’t view my job as anointing my successor.

The wonderful trustee board at Dry Creek realized that Todd was the man to move the Camp on. In mid-2006, they wisely selected him as manager.


In my final act at the Camp, I gave Todd an important gift. We had a large gathering of our many friends and supporters. Hundreds of folks gathered in the Dining Hall as I made a short speech. I held up a sharp hatchet.

As I handed it to Todd, I said, “Now, Todd, folks will be saying to you, ‘But that’s not the way Bro. Curt did it.’ ”

I did a tomahawk chop in the air. “When they say that, get this hatchet out and trim off the end of their little finger. They’ll stop that second-guessing pretty quick.”

It was a joke but I’d made my point. Sometimes we need to get out of the way and let new blood lead the way.

New blood.

We all need it.



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