Saturday, July 21, 2012

My wonderful week of camp

As I sit here quietly, I reflect on the past week. I know I post so often about how blessed I am, but it's so hard not to think about how truly blessed I am to be a Christian. So many times we take for granted the things we have. We complain so easily, we have what I like to call "First World Problems", and we forget how much we really have to be thankful for. But God always sends me reminders of his great blessings. This week has been one of them. Just a few hours ago, I arrived home from Sunset Bay State Park. I had the second of hopefully many more opportunities to be a counselor for our church's annual "Jr. Camp".

Our church has put together a Bible camp for the kids every year for the past seven years now. I was one of the original campers, and I once again have the opportunity, like last year, to be there for it. Over the years, God has blessed so much, and what a week this has been..

There are so many different things I can say about it. We have been preparing for it, raising money for it, gettiing all the kids ready, and praying that God would open hearts. The kids have been talking about it for several months, they've been counting the months, days, and even hours until this week finally came.

I decided to go down a few days early to help set up the camp before the kids arrived. We had a great time together. One of the teenage girls that went with us to help, rode down with me and the camp director. It was a few hour trip, so to pass time he asked 50,000 questions. It gave us a few interesting things to think about. We arrived, set up the trailers, set up the kitchen, and sat down for a little bit to relax. In the midst of it all, we found out there was another church group there from Medford, OR who was having their coastal campout. They all went down at the same time, and they were planning on having a church service on the beach. We went out for seafood for dinner, and came back to the campsite, where we decided that we would go for a little walk, so we started walking towards the beach where we heard a little talking, a little singing, a little clapping, and it sounded like they were having a good time. We wanted to hear what they were saying, so we blended into the group, and we joined in a little bit of their service. We didn't stay for it all, due to needing to set up my tent, and it getting dark, but we stayed for a little while, as the church was singing songs, doing hand motions with them all, telliing jokes, and having a great tiime in the Lord.

I ended up not setting up my tent that night.. I knew I was going to have to move it the next day, so I decided I would spend the night in the trailer with one of the couples that went with us. So we went to bed fairly early that night. We had a great nights sleep, slept in until about 9, then had another great day. Our camp director had found an old sermon tape on Revelation, so we had our own little church service in the campsite. We listened to that, then got back to work, we set up our chapel, we set up our tents, and we got already for the kids to come the next day. We had a nice steak dinner that night, and we had another opportunity to listen to a sermon that night. I ended up sleeping in the tent that night, and we woke up early the next morning to prepare for the kids

As we woke up the next morning, we ate our breakfast burritos together, we did some last minute preparations, and everyone was excited and ready for another great week with the kids. The kids arrived, and everyone was well rested, excited, and dare I say "pumped" for a great week. We knew God was going to do some great things, and we knew we would have a great time too. The first day consisted of many adventures. We went down to the beach and had a sand castle competition. the winner was the sculpters of a sand ship. The other two entries were a city on the rocks, and a little village, with a bridge over troubled water. I think everyone had a great time. We got showers, and we had a delicious dinner, we made a craft, and played some games. We quickly found out though that the devil was working overtime. That night a young boy that came with us was playing a tug of war game we had, where you had to stand on a stump, and try and stay on while trying to get your opponent off. As we were finishing up dinner, I heard a scream, and I looked up to see what was going on, It got louder and louder, so I turned around to look for it. As I turned around, the little boy walked out from behind a bush with his bone crooked, was evident it was broken. He started crying "I want my mommy" and started screaming in pain. I saw what was going on, and seeing as someone was holdiing his arm still, I threw down the trash I had picked up from the ground, and ran to look for our camp director. Unfortunately I couldn't find him, but fortunately when I came back to the campsite, he was there getting his first aid kit. I didn't know what to do from there. I wanted to help as much as I could, but I didn't want to get in the way. I was all shook up, the kids were shook up, so I gathered all the other kids together, put my arm around their shoulders, and we said a prayer. I had never been a part of an emergency situation like that. But I knew what I should do. I was shaking terribly as I was praying, and I don't know if it helped the kids at all, but God knew our needs, and it was a special moment for me. We prayed for wisdom for all the doctors and counselors, and that God would have his perfect will in this little boy's life. I know for sure God answered our prayers, and he definitely used that to comfort me. We didn't let that get us down though! We got him all splinted up, put him in the van, and one of the couples with us took him to the hospital. They called his mom, talked to the doctors, got some X-Rays done, and God worked it all out. We continued the camp as we normally would. We continued to pray for him, and we had our chapel service that night. As our camp director was speaking, he talked about our lives, and how we should filter all of the bad thiings out of our life. We sang some songs, had a snack, and took everyone to bed. I ended up sleeping in the tent with the boys for a little bit since their counselor was at the hospital, but in the middle of the night, he came back, and I gave him his bed back,which concluded the first night.

The second day as well was productive. We knew we weren't quite off to a good start of the week, even though many decisions had been made, we had one trip to the hospital, and we didn't want any more. So we prayed that God would keep us safe, and that the rest of the week would run smoothly as planned. We weren't sure whether the young boy who broke his arm would be able to stay or not. The doctor said it shouldn't be a problem as long as he slept in a trailer instead of the tent, and took it carefully. We talked with his mom, talked with him, and even though we were all doubtful he would stay, God was good. He ended up deciding he wanted to stay, and he had a wonderful time. We had breakfast, Did our devotions, had our morning chapel time, and then we got to go to the Coast Guard. Everyone seemed to enjoy that! We took a tour of one of their boats, we then got to walk through their lounge, and cafeteria, and then we got to see a video about their training, and ask a ton of questions. There were a few questions that were asked several times, there were a few people who raised their hands, but then forgot what they were going to ask, but all in all, everyone had a great time. We then stopped at the beach, where they had a scavenger hunt set up. we were given a list of things to look for, and then there were X's in the sand. If you dug under the X's, you would find a message in a bottle, a note, or even a treasure box.. After looking for a while, we undug a few things, but nobody could find the treasure box. We dug for quite a while, but we ended up having to leave it for some lucky person to find some day. We then went back to the campsite, got showers, had dinner, and got ready for the evening chapel. The theme of the day that day was Proverbs 3:5

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding"

So that night they learned about that verse. We had a skit, and our camp director talked about making the right choices in life. We then had a snack, sang some songs, and went to bed that night.

The next morning, we woke up refreshed and ready for another great day.God had already done some amazing thiings, but the week wasn't even half over. We were excited to see what else he had in store. We had breakfast, Did our devotions, Had our morning chapel time, and then we got ready to go to the beach. That day we played some relay games there. We played frisbee horse shoes. The kids didn't seem to like that too much, but it was fun anyway. We played volleyball with waterballoons and sheets, then we played a relay race to see who could fill up their buckets the fastest. We each had a plastic cup, and we had to run to the ocean, fill it with water, hold it above our heads, dump it in the bucket, and then tag our next team mates. I have never yelled so much as I did that day, Of course I was yelling for good reasons to cheer on my team, but nonetheless, it was still fun. We then played tug of war. This time without the stumps, and then we got to swim in the ocean for a little while. After all of our fun, we headed back to the camp, took showers, had dinner, and got ready for our evening chapel time. That day our theme was Proverbs 3:6

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths"

So they learned about that verse. We had a skit, and then the camp director talked about doing some research before we make a decision in our lives. We then had a snack, sang a few more songs, and then went to bed once again.

The next morning, we woke up, sad to see our week was beginning to come to an end. We had one more full day left, so we tried to enjoy it while we could! This day we did it a little differently, we woke up, and had breakfast, but then we headed to the tidepools. We had to get there early because we needed to get there before the tide came in, so we went there before anything else. The kids enjoyed looking at everything for a little while, but then they were ready to go, so we headed back a little early. We had lunch, and it was a beautiful day! The sun was shining, but we had a nap or rest and relaxation time scheduled. We decided instead of making all the kids take a nap, we would switch the schedule around, so we did our morniing chapel time, our devotions, and then we went down to the beach for a little while. Everyone had a great time swimming in the ocean. We stayed down there for a little while, but then we headed back up to the campsite, took showers, had dinner, and got ready for chapel time. That day, the theme was Proverbs 3:7

"Be not wise in thine own eyes, Fear the Lord and depar from evil"

So they learned about that verse, had one last skit, and the camp director talked about listening to the Holy Spirit. As we finished up chapel, the devil began working agaiin. It started thundering and lightniing. We finished up, and then started singing songs. By that time, it was pouring down rain. We didn't let it get to us though. We stood aroound the fire, sang songs, and had a great time anyway. The devil may have been working, but the Lord was fighting even harder. We grabbed our sweatshirts, tried saving everything that we could from getting soaked, and we went to bed. We were ready for a long day the next day. That night, the thunder roared, lightning flashed, and rain poured.. We had a few bags get wet, a few shirts get soaked, and few things get dirty, but God was good.

The next morning,, we woke up to find two of our pop up canopies had bent and collapsed drastically from the weight of the rain. Fortunately nobody got hurt, and there wasn't much damage done aside from the canopies. But we didn't let that get us down. We got it all cleaned up, had breakfast, had our morning Bible time and devotions, for the last time for the week, and then the kids had one more activity. We had originally planned to go play kickball on the beach, but due to the rain, the beach was all wet. We didn't want the kids to get all dirty and sandy, so we decided that they would go to the rose garden instead. There was a little meltdown with one of the kids that morning, so they only had about 45 minutes to go. But it seemed like they enjoyed it for a little while. So we packed all the kids up, and sent them on their way. I hated to see them go. Our friendships had grown closer, and I love those kids. No matter how many times I had to take them to the bathroom, or no matter how many times they didn't listen to me, they were great kids, and I hated to see them go. It was a great week though. After we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes, we sat around the fire for a little bit. We were all tired, and quite a bit of work had been done already, so we were taking a quick breather. We were reflecting on the week, and a young boy who was supposed to go to camp was not able to, so we were talking about him, and someone mentioned that we should pray for him and his family. That's when someone else said "We should pray right now" and that was another special moment of the week. We each took turns going in a circle, thanking God for the wonderful week he had given us, for the wonderful works He had done, and for the many decisions that were made. We prayed for safe traveliing for each of the campers, and we prayed for this young boy who was not able to come, and his family. We didn't worry about the time, or the work that had to be done, we just spent some time together talking with God. When that was done, we finished up some more work. We took down the kitchen, took down all tents, dried out the rest of the canopies, and put them away. By that time it was dinner time, and boy did it taste good. We had leftover steak and some people had chicken. I was starved, I even ate a hole through my paper plate. Anyway, we sat around the fire for a little bit, fed a squirrel, went to Dairy Queen for dessert, and then came back for bed to end another wonderful day.

We then woke up this morning, We ate breakfast, hooked up the trailers, and hit the road. Thus ended another amazing week.

I said all that to say this, that God has truly blessed so much. He was good through the good times and the bad, the broken bones and the smiles, the storms and the sunshine, He was good through it all! This week, many wonderful decisions have been made, and I pray that lives have been changed. He allowed me to make some new friends, as we stayed up late each night around the fire telliing stories and jokes, and he allowed me to grow closer to the kids as well. He provided an opportunity to talk to one of the young boys about some things he was going through, and I hope that he will continually grow in his relationship with the Lord.

He has reminded me how blessed I truly am. As so many of the children have to go back to rough homes, and so many of the children have rough lives, I am so blessed to have the family I have, the home I have, the church I have, and the wonderful Saviour I have.

It has been a great reminder, that He has a great plan, whether there are meltdowns, or broken bones, or stormes, he can work it all out for good.

And it has been another great reminder of how good God really is!

Anyway, I need to be getting off, I've already spent too much time on the computer, and where I still need to unpack, and take a shower tonight, I should probably get to it! I have church in the morning, and I can't wait to see all the kids again! I hope you have a wonderful night, and May God bless you as He has blessed me this week! :)