i’ve sat down probably half a dozen times in the last three days trying to add an update, but each time i’ve just been held back for whatever reason. my battery seems to run out a lot faster, but that’s just because i don’t have my charger with me all the time now. i’ve been catching up with people a lot in the past few days too, and i’m trying not to get burnt out with filling people in, if that makes any sense. all my free time seems to be spent in scheumann lodge with people or sitting in the small room in the corner making video messages to random people.
man, these past few days have flown by in a blur. i haven’t even been here for a week, and i feel like i’ve spent my last three here. the days are packed with tons of stuff to do and learn and experience. i passed my high ropes training and archery training! i’m now certified at all ymca camps and with any beginner archery course for the next three years, which strikes me as kind of odd. the instructor, bob, kept talking about how we could all make great money training youngsters to shoot arrows on our own.
archery training in general was kind of crazy. it only lasted two days, but in those two days we had to learn and memorize all the parts of the different kinds of bows and arrows, technique and mechanics of shooting, the rules and layout of an archery range, and we actually had to run through our own lesson with the second group that was training as if they were the kids we were teaching. it was interesting. i had fun, but i’m feeling kind of mentally exhausted right now. so much concentration and everything.
today is the first day that i’ve been able to sit down and just communicate with everyone who’s been sending me messages and everything. it was slightly overwhelming at first, but it’s always great to catch up with people. i miss home, and it’s always nice to hear the voices and see the faces of the people i love.
next week is when the actual staff training starts. all the summer staff will be present, and it’ll be a lot more intense than this week, i’m told. as in, seven 8am to 10pm days in a row. that will be crazy. but we’re apparently treated like campers for the entire week, and there’s lots of games and things that we’ll be doing. i have no doubts that it will be an amazing week. i also have no doubts that it will be an absolutely exhausting week, and for that i’m not super excited. right now we have a retreat group here at camp, which we call kidney camp. all kids who have had transplants, are in pre-treatment, or are taking dialysis or anything like that can come to camp for a few days to have fun and be surrounded by other campers who know what they’re going through and don’t have to be ashamed of anything. i think it’s a really cool idea. i’ve been able to hang out with some of the kids because of my day off, and it’s just made me more excited for when my campers are going to get here. i’m just anxious to be around kids; i love them and it’s the reason i looked for a camp job.
i’m really getting to know the staff here. obviously not everyone is here, but i’m already friends with the people i’ve been training with, and we’ve been playing games together and seeing movies and just hanging out. last night we went to go see the new x-men movie (which was so awesome) and then came back to play mao for the next few hours. it’s a great group of people, and i think we’re gonna head out in an hour or so to go to walmart or something.
i’ve also gotten really close with the international counselors that are here. there are five right now: alfredo (freddy), gustavo (gus), isabella (bel), marlon (lon), and ramon (ray-ray). a few more are going to be coming this week, but these five are all from brazil and i’m good friends with all of them. alfredo and i skyped a lot before we met, so i’m closest with him, but they’re all great and have such awesome senses of humor. i so enjoy hanging out with them. i feel like i’m just going to be really close to these people when the summer’s over.
i started reading romans this week. long, stupid story short, the Lord helped me realize i was falling back into the same thing i’d been stuck in for the past few years–i tend to have a checklist mentality, and if that whole checklist isn’t fulfilled, then whatever i was doing wasn’t worth my time. the most prevalent example would be my devotionals. i kept getting into this mindset that if i didn’t read a couple chapters in the bible and journal for an hour, then it wouldn’t count as spending time with God for some reason. now, the Lord has been very faithful in revealing to me the truth, that He is always with me, and that i had a mindset of legalism instead of one that simply wanted to love God and know Him more. well, i have been praying that the Lord would draw me closer to Him through the study of romans. it’s something i truly do desire. however, my definition of "growing closer" with God hinged upon running across mind-blowing theological concepts that i’d never encountered before every single time i opened the romans study booklet. God revealed to me that i was 1.) being completely arrogant and assuming that my way was the best way to know God better, 2.) not at all willing to surrender my will to the Lord’s, and 3.) that spending time with God just wouldn’t cut it unless He was revealing new things to me. Not to mention that that didn’t make sense because romans, an amazing book, is full of truth that i already know. it’s a book about the gospel, basically, and its implications. what i need to do is simply appreciate it more. the truth of all of this hit me as i was journaling, and i was embarrassed. it’s so totally me, and so totally God. for Him to also reveal this to me at the beginning of the summer, and not halfway through, is just another testament to His love and perfect will.
so, the Lord is already drawing me closer to Him, just not the way i was expecting. He is so, so good. i am really trying to consciously surrender my will to His, knowing that He’s got it all covered. God is God, and i am not. and thank God for that.
here’s a quick, awesome example. i was reading the introduction to romans, and it mentioned that the only reason we have romans is because paul was not able to go to the church in rome. paul makes mention that he understands it to be God’s perfect will, but that he longs desperately to be there, to a church he has never seen but has heard so much about. now, if i was paul, i’d completely not understand God’s reasoning. why in the world stop me from going to a church and encouraging the people and teaching them and being encouraged? but in God’s providence and plan, he kept paul from the church and we now have the book of romans. a book that almost defines the new testament, and has had an immeasurable impact on an immeasurable amount of believers and non-believers. how’s that for a plan? yeah. God knows what He’s doing.
i encourage any of you who are reading to really be honest with yourself and God, and just talk to him about something you’re having trouble surrendering to Him. i promise you that He knows best and has the best possible plan for you. surrender your will to His perfect one. be still and know that He is God. it’s something that i know won’t come easily for me, but that with God’s strength i can overcome anything. same goes for you.
if you’re praying for me, i’d appreciate prayers for energy and attention this upcoming week. it’s going to be crazy and i’ll have a lot of info thrown at me. i’ll update as soon as i can!