"And where would I be without You... I'd be packing my bags when I need to stay. I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way. I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away. It's true. That's me without you." -TobyMac
We had some awesome songs at kid's camp this year! I've been walking around my house for the past couple of days singing to myself, and doing the motions. Why don't adults put motions to their songs more? It's so fun!
I spent a week with 13 of the most amazing girls. Every moment was a gift from God. Sure there were times I was exhausted, stressed, tired, frustrated, but the good far outweighed the bad. I have never felt so useful in all my life. I felt like I was making a difference sharing God's love with these girls; to me the highest calling that Jesus gives.
For an entire week, I listened to these girls opening up their hearts to me. I heard their pain; I even saw it in their eyes a few times. I was able to literally put my arms around them and show them that someone is there with them. They are not alone. God loves them.
For a couple girls, my heart is still breaking for what they have been through. They are in my prayers. Every night I would lie awake in my bed, waiting for sleep to come. It usually took me a couple hours to drift off. Once my adrenalin is running, and believe me, it ran at camp, it's hard for me to calm down and sleep. I knew when I got back I would be extremely tired. Each night I rested for about 4 or 5 hours. For the couple hours it took me to relax, I would go around the room and pray for each girl in their bunk. God would bring all different things to mind that had happened throughout the day, and I would spend time interceding for these girls. Since I have been home, there are a few I still feel burdened to pray for.
On Monday we arrived at the camp full of excitement and confusion. This was a first time for me as a cabin coach. I had been going as a camper for over 10 years; however, it's been 13 years since I've been there. I had a learning experience this year; I hope to go back next year as a seasoned pro! I never experienced camp through the eyes of a coach until this past week. What a difference! I'm tempted to believe I actually got more out of it then they did.
I got this out of the coach's handbook which I read from cover to cover. I wanted to be prepared in all ways before I took part. "The first purpose for Kids’ Camp is to provide a safe and fun environment for kids while they have an opportunity to be exposed to truth and observe first hand, adults and other kids who have a Passion for the Truth in their lives.
The second purpose is to give kids the opportunity to respond to the truth by experiencing Christ through salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, both physical and spiritual healing and the manifestation of spiritual gifts and knowledge in their lives.
The final purpose is to give kids a place to develop new relationships with other kids and adults who will have the potential to become lifelong friends/support."
What a big responsibility, huh? These girls were looking to us cabin coaches as the example of what it means to follow God. This happens in so many more places than just camp. It's a lifestyle. There are always little pairs of eyes watching your life. Make sure what they're watching is advantageous!
Now kid's camp is not all about spiritual things. We spend a large part of our day playing games, swimming, eating junk food, and wandering around the campus hanging out. The days are PACKED full of activity. There is actually very little downtime. I had one hour to myself each day while the kids were in the tabernacle watching the camp videos of the day and playing silly games.
During free time the girls can choose to play on the inflatables, visit the rock wall, play in the tubes and slides (similar to McDonald's play land), miniature golf, play carpet ball or octoball, or watch a movie in air conditioning. My girls were always on the inflatables racing each other through the obstacle course. (In truth, I think that's where the cute "staff" boys hung out, and they wanted a glimpse.)
Not only did I have 13 girls to take care of, I had an alien, named Mia, I was responsible for. Being a mother, you would not believe how many times I would end up holding something and I had no idea where it came from. I was the dump spot that they knew they could count on. There were a few times at the end of the night I would have a girl approach me and ask for something out of my pocket. I would always be able to pull it out, yet many times I had no memory of how it got there. A true mother, I am.
WATER! Worth more to everyone than any gemstones you could possibly find. The week we were there, the temperature was over 100° every day. It even got as high as 108° one day. We had to be extra careful, and I was constantly pushing the girls to drink water, and get wet. There were several water spigots throughout the camp and a few sprinklers just to help keep us all hydrated.
The favorite game of all the girls was noodle lacrosse. I was even fortunate enough to be able to participate. For the most part coaches are just there to cheer the girls on; they usually stay out of the games. This time we all got involved! The point of the game was to fold your pool noodle in half, holding onto the ball in the center. You had to run to your goal box, and while standing on the outer edge, try to get the ball in the goal. The fun part, whoever has the ball in their possession, the other team gets to beat on them with their noodles. This was SO MUCH FUN! If it wasn't almost 110° outside, I would have enjoyed it even more. My lungs were burning!
Spending a week at camp was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done, but also one of the hardest. You are with these girls 23 hours out of the day. You get one hour off, to call home, shower, or just nap. It's all about sacrifice. We're talking getting up in the morning, no matter if you feel like it or not, because you have 13 girls who are depending on you. Nothing is done because you "feel" like it, or because you "want" to. It's all about doing what needs to be done.
You listen to arguing and complaining, but you must stay positive. No matter how much you want to whine with the girls, you have to keep their outlook upbeat. Nothing would have gotten done if we all just sat down and had a pity party because of how we felt. We were training these girls for the future. There are always days when you have responsibilities that you don't want to do. We want to be women who rise up to the challenge, not women who fall down and break when trouble comes our way.
On Tuesday, we talked about preserves. God not only saves us from things, He saves us for things!
On Wednesday, we talked about the Israelite’s and God’s protection with the cloud and fire. God is constantly watching over us and will protect us from the enemy, the devil. During our evening response time, we made bracelets. The first bead on the bracelet is yellow, which represents us. Then there is God, the white and red beads, representing the cloud for day and the fire by night. Last there is our enemy the black bead. As long as you have God in the middle of things, the enemy can’t get to you. I thought this was a really neat object lesson the kids could understand.
Finally, on Thursday we discussed God providing for us. Every day we would have cabin devotions together, and on Thursday I led the discussion. The girls got so excited talking about all the miracles God does for us. I listened to example after example of God coming through for these girls. It was so exciting for me to see their enthusiasm.
"You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Matthew 21:22
I thought it was so great to see and hear the kid's reaction to ventriloquism. It was never explained on stage, and most of my girls had no idea how it worked. One girl asked me, "How do we hear him talk when he doesn't have a microphone?" When I told her, Ms. Gail did the talking for him; she corrected me and said that Ms. Gail's mouth never moves.
I asked Gabriel about Red when we got back home, and he thought the man in the sound booth at the back of the room spoke for Red. I was amazed that none of them had seen a dummy, or been explained to how it worked.
Even though Gabe was at the same camp with us, I hardly saw him at all. They keep the boys and girls pretty separate. I would try to steal a few minutes with him whenever it was possible.
To be continued... I still have a couple more things I want to share with you! God is so good!
Worthless? Or Worthy?