goodness. it’s hard to exactly cram everything that’s happened into a journal entry. i’ll try though. it’s the first time i’ve really had time to sit and decompress and sort of process everything that’s happened. that sounds kind of funny because it’s only been a day and a half. but it has been full 36 hours! i have a gazillion bug bites, a slight burn, and a head full of knowledge on how to work the climbing gear here at camp tecumseh.
the first thing we did was meet up with the entire group that would be doing high ropes training and go on a walk. for two hours. it was actually really awesome; we met up with one person we didn’t know and talked for a few minutes, getting to know them and why they were at camp. after two hours of walking around the camp, we had gotten the chance to meet every single person in that group, about twenty in all. after that we headed to a building called the scheumann lodge (fun fact: this same guy scheumann also helped finance ball state’s stadium! same guy. crazy) we started out just getting introduced to the equipment last night. steel and aluminum carabiners, ATC, messenger ropes, harnesses, daisy belts. everything. we practiced tying knots and coiling rope for a few hours (i now know and feel perfectly comfortable with tying a double-eight knot with an extra backhand for security). after training for a few hours, all the staff hung out outside on the deck playing music and getting to know each other more. it was really cool to see the community already starting to build. i know some of these people are going to be some of my closest friends by the end of the summer. i really can’t wait.
that was just last night. today was crazy.
i got up at seven sweating (which i’m told is totally normal… yay). some of the guys invited me to work out with them, and i accepted; i figured i’d get the summer started off right. however, what i was not aware of was that they were in fact doing a video workout entitled "insanity". sort of like p90x, but… called insanity. and it was aptly named. there were some stupid workout activities. totally stupid. i mean, i’m not in the best shape anyway, so i knew i wouldn’t be following pace with the others. but holy crap. after the first five minutes of jumping, thrusting, running in place, lunging, more insane jumping, and this weird combination of high-knees and… something else, i decided to sit the rest out. i was feeling off and i knew it would be stupid to try to keep going. i slunk back to bed hoping the others would be too engrossed in their calisthenics to notice my sad retreat. i lay in bed for a while, feeling my stomach churning, hoping it would die down but knowing with a sinking feeling what was coming.
then i went to the bathroom and threw up three times.
but, after that i felt much, much better. i didn’t have dinner the previous night and again, was nowhere near prepared for any kind of exercise that intense. i was able to get a few more minutes of precious sleep before getting up for breakfast.
breakfast ended around nine training began immediately after and stopped only for meals at noon and five thirty. it was non-stop. we broke up into three groups and moved around between three climbing walls situated around the camp. two were indoor and one was outdoor. we spent a few hours on each, getting a feel for the dynamics of each individual setup. we went over the specifics of belaying. we worked with a gallon of milk first, then began belaying each other. it’s a solid system, and knowing how the hardware actually works makes it easier to trust. after about a dozen practices of climbing and belaying my fellow staffers, i feel relatively confident about my ability to handle campers. tomorrow we’ll be working with the more intricate elements (basically what comes to mind when you hear about a high-ropes course… sort of an obstacle course in the trees of sorts), learning how to set them up and stuff. i’m glad for the change of pace and am excited to be outside in the trees.
i am so exhausted. my body aches from climbing and belaying, from being outside for so long. but it’s a great feeling. i’ll probably get a crappy night of sleep tonight, but that’s okay. this place already is starting to feel more familiar. it’s kind of hard to explain how i’m feeling about being here for the next ten weeks. i’m really excited. i already love it here. but ten weeks is such a long time, and this one day felt like a week. i’m already friends with people here, and the adult staff has been great too. but it’ll be weird not to be in newburgh. it’ll be weird hearing about stories from home and watching my friends grow up and spend their summer with each other. i’ll have so much fun here, i know. but it’ll be different. i’m ready for it though.
as far as the rest of the week goes, it’s just going to be a lot of the same. i’ll finish high ropes training on wednesday i think, and then i start archery training on thursday. then full staff training starts on sunday and goes for a week. after that, we’ll have campers. i’ve realized how excited i am for that. i am just really pumped to be in the kids’ lives and hanging out with them and telling them about Jesus.
i have been so blessed already with the community here. God is working and the Spirit is so obviously present here, fostering friendships and making it so easy to get along with these people i’ve never met before. a dozen of the staff just got done playing the best game of mafia i’ve ever played. it was great! the dynamic between people here is so easy going. there’s such a great sense of humor among the staff too! it’s kind of surprised me, in a great way. i love the people here.
well i’m really tired. i’m gonna go to bed. during training week we’re allowed to have electronics, so i’ll be able to update more than when i’m in camp with kids.
1.) as i’ve said, the community here is already blessed by God. please be praying that the Lord would be moving among us, drawing us close. that we would become good friends, finding a common bond of unity in Christ. pray that the devil would have zero power here, and that the Lord would have His hand in keeping drama and all that stuff out of camp. also that individual staffers would be continuing to be growing in their personal relationships with Christ and that we would be encouraging one another in this area specifically.
2.) there are a few staffers from brazil here. they’re all really great people; eager to be here and make friends. they’re some of the friendliest people i’ve met. please be praying that they would mesh well with the rest of the staff (so far they really are) and that the Lord would be giving them confidence in their ability to communicate with everyone here. their english is very good but every now and then there are times when they stumble over words, and a few times it’s seemed to discourage them.
3.) there are going to be a ton of kids here at camp this summer. please be praying that the Spirit would be working in their hearts even now, preparing them for what they’re going to be hearing at camp, the people they’re going to be meeting, and the content that they’re going to encounter, as far as Jesus stuff goes. with so many obvious ways for the Lord to be working, it’s also sure that the devil will be making every effort to stop that, especially at the level of the campers.
4.) for me personally, i’ve struggled a lot in the past year with being consistently in the word, and it would be really easy here at camp to fall back into that. dad and i are going through romans together, and i have a few guys holding me accountable, but i would really appreciate your prayers that i would remain consistent in reading, and that i would grow closer with God over the entire summer. i know there are going to be a lots of tough times, but i also know that God is a powerful, loving Creator who knows and loves me personally. He has the power, and that is all i need. He is good. He is God.
more prayer requests will be sure to come. i so appreciate your prayers, and feel free to ask questions or make comments below! i’d like to leave you all with something i picked up while reading in psalms last night before going to bed. i don’t read psalms very often, and there was no particular reason i chose to read from it last night. but as i read through a few of them, i was struck by the absolute majesty of our God. He is absolutely and completely worthy of all our praise. He’s worthy of far more than our praise (the heavens and the earth declare His majesty!), and i know i personally always seem to downplay the hugeness… the significance, if you will… of the God we worship. He is to be feared. He is an awe-inspiring being, one in whose presence we should, in our right minds, be completely frozen in light of our sinful unworthiness. and yet this massively majestic God, this Creator of everything that exists and ever has existed and ever will exist, loves every single one of us. He desires to have a personal, meaningful relationship with you and me. this, logically speaking, makes no sense at all. but when has God been confined to human logic? it’s a good thing He doesn’t, in this case. thank You Lord! You are too good to us.