Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Joy of a Broken Down Car

Who would ever think that car troubles would be so prevalent at camp? I definitely did not.

I have been here for nine weeks now and have seen a routine forming in my life. My weeks have begun to look very similar to each other and there is not really much variety. When variety has come though it has usually been marked by some form of car trouble. For example, at the end of the only prank war of the summer, by car battery died. No big deal, and I learned how to change a car battery because of it. The next weekend however I drove the camp minivan two hours away to where we go whitewater rafting. When one of the other staff members drove it as part of a shuttle so we could have cars where we finished rafting for the day, he drove the entire way with the emergency brake on, over 20 miles round trip...I had to drive the van back to camp that night because I had responsibilities I needed to take care of the next day. I learned a lot about what shifting into low gears when driving a automatic can do for you since I had been instructed to use the breaks as little as possible, and it turns out that the conversation I had with the person that was with me on the way home was quite possibly one of the best ones I have had this summer. Then the very next night, we had a women's staff appreciation night where we drove them all up to the summit of a local mountain and set up a movie for them which we ran off of a generator...which was not powerful to run the projector, computer, and sound we ran the sound system off of my car battery...Being one of the last to leave that night, there were not a lot of people around to help when my car dies right after we pull onto the road. The car would start, but then it would die instantly. After popping it into neutral and rolling it back into the parking lot, my friend Donny and I slept in my car until 3am when our friends Craig and Chris were able to come and save us. I'm still not entirely sure what was wrong with my car, but we got it running again and it has worked fine ever since and I got to spend some quality time with Donny up there on that mountain as we laughed and hypothesized about what could possibly be wrong with my car.

It is strange to me how every time I'm doing something different from my standard routine, something goes wrong with the car I'm driving. It kind of makes me want to not break my routine at all! But given the fact that I work at a camp and my routine can be changed literally at a moments notice, that is not really an option. At the same time though, these three incidents of car trouble have lead to some really great memories. God has clearly used them all to help point to some of the things that I am going to remember the most about my time here. Part of me is surprised by this, and I'm not entirely sure why. Our God is one who time and again uses our hardships, no matter how small, to bless us and show us how much He actually does love and care for us.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Growing Together

Campers can be really difficult, and I'm not even responsible for any of them. No, rather I'm responsible for their counselors and making sure that they are as sane as possible, and still there are quite a few campers who just drive me up the wall. But on the other hand, there are campers who are the greatest kids you will ever meet in your life. For the last two weeks, we had a group of campers in a programs called Echo and Summit who all fit this description.

The Echo program is one in which high school students pay to come to camp for two weeks to do our dishes and take out our trash. They also go out to different places in the community and do service projects there and when they are not working for the benefit of others, they are usually to be found learning about what it means to actually live the life that Christ calls us to. These kids are in high school and are getting exposure to authors that I had not heard of until a year ago. Needless to say the Echo program is literally life changing.

On a similar scale is our Summit program. The difference is that this program takes in high school students and teaches them how to guide rafts down the river and how to guide a group through the wilderness and how to safely manage groups on our ropes course. Basically they are trained to be staff members for two weeks while getting poured into spiritually as well. It really is a fantastic program.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with one of our Summit students who, as it turns out, does not yet have a real relationship with Christ. More or less I kind of stumbled into this conversation without really moving. I was just reading a book and he was having a conversation with the Summit director near by and when the director left to talk to someone else momentarily, this young man invited me into the conversation. This was by far the highlight of my week. His questions and concerns were so real and genuine and his emotions were honest and true. He was expressing himself in a way that very few high school students I have known could. I think he is about to embark on the beginning of an adventurous story that will lead him far away from what he has known and into a place where he will be seriously transformed by the love and power of the living God.

I realized that night that camps exist largely so that the campers who come can see how big and how powerful God really is, and on the same scale, for the people who work at the camps to see the same thing. Then campers and staff members can actually be growing together in largely the same ways, but often with different levels of understanding on the point. Sometimes I think the campers actually understand what is going on more than the staff members do.