A couple weeks ago I was a part of helping at a teen camp that our church does every year. Last year was my first time and apparently they liked me enough to help this year too. I was part of the service team. We mostly set up the activities for the kids to play as well as keep an eye on them during free time.
The camp ground and cabins are some of the nicest I have ever been to. There is a pretty nice game room, complete with Foosball, Pool, Air Hockey, and Ping pong. There is a huge field for Soccer or Ultimate Frisbee, and behind that field is a huge mud pit. There is a lake to canoe and kayak in as well as goals for water polo. There is a pool with a big slide, and another pool with a volley ball net. Then up the hill a little, behind the cabins is a pavilion with a basket ball court. Then you have a beach volley ball court and an octagon for dodge ball. There are actually many more activities to do, that is just most of them.
I point all those out to firstly say that we have a bunch of fun but also to say that we have to keep an eye on a lot of stuff that is happening, on top of set up stuff in many of those places. Camp was really great and I got to spend time with and meet many new people. I know a lot of people from church, but many of the kids were not from my church and I loved getting to know them at meal times and during free time.
The camp theme this year was the armor of God. We took the passage from Ephesians 6:10-18 and actually memorized a few verses a day till by the end of camp we had the whole passage memorized. Each day, the kids were supposed to challenge the counselors and service team on the memorized verses. If they win, they get 5,000 points for their team, if they lose, their team loses 2,000 points. If you both get it right, you tie and nothing happens. I was challenged by a friend of mine and we tied, and afterward I was telling my friend that she should have challenged me on today's verse instead of the day before's verse because I wasn’t confident with it yet. Well, my mouth got me in trouble and a student heard me say that. She came up to me with another counselor and challenged me, and I lost. As it happens, this camp was the girl's first camp ever, and her first exposure to God and the church in any way. She is normally very shy and was an abused child. The counselor who invited her came up to me and told me that, and I was so excited at my loss. I knew that there were some abused children there, but wasn’t sure who. I am sure that her victory over me probably was a big part of making that camp something special for her, and of course, teaching me a lesson in humility.
This year, I walked away from camp not as filled up as I did last year, and it wasn’t until my first meeting with Neil (The man I do discipleship with) that I realized why. Last year, I was one of the speakers. I was given one of the morning sessions with the guys and afterward, I had a lot of the guys trying to hang out with me and I was able to invest in them throughout the 5 days that I was there. This year, I was mostly in the background, and only actually had conversations with people at meal times.
This was quite a lesson for me to learn. It has made me realize that I have to be intentional about making relationships with people and not wait for them to come after me. You have to invest the time to get to know them before you can speak into their lives. They have to be important to you, and you have to give yourself, your time, and effort to forge the relationship. It is in giving that we receive.
I had a conversation with Katelyn, my girlfriend, recently, and I was kind of getting tired of trying to hang out with some people. I felt like I tried for so long but nothing really came of it. It was next to impossible to go deeper than surface stuff. Plus in this group, I am on the outside. Most of these people grew up together, went to school together, spent their free time with each other. That is a hard circle to penetrate and become a part of. It takes time, and has to be important to me. She encouraged me to continue trying and not to give up on them. I can learn from them, and they from me.
I have taken Katelyn’s advice, and am working harder to spend time with them. She does have to prod me every now and then, true, but that is what she is there for, to help hold me accountable.
There is only one real need at the moment. I have a hospital bill for exactly $370 that came up on me out of no where. It was from a visit over a year and a half ago in Memphis, while I was up in TN for my mom’s wedding. I was definitely surprised to see it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much for all of your support in both prayer and financial. You make it possible for me to help Steve and ITEC accomplish what we do.