the past few days have been a blur. i’ve been meaning to write an update and just haven’t had the time or energy. so now, a half hour away from the first day of camp, i’d love to fill you guys in on all the awesome stuff God’s been doing here.
here’s a few highlights from the past few days:
1.) i’m in the brave unit again!!! it’s hard to tell you how excited i am. it was my first choice, and while i wish i could be two people at once and be in pathfinders as well, the fact is that i feel called to be in river village again. i’m so excited for our group. our coordinators seem to really know what they’re doing, the group seems to be in sync, and everyone is stoked to be in the river. even in the few days since we’ve met as a unit, i’m already getting to know some of these people really well.
2.) i’m partners with hugo!! it was a huge answer to prayer. hugo is excited for the kids and eager to be a great counselor (which he really will be). he wants to grow in his faith as well, and i’m excited for the ways God’s going to use each of us to encourage the other.
3.) there were lots of other meetings we had to go to, and lots more things to learn and talk about. a guy named michael brandewien came to talk to us for a couple hours, and while it was at times difficult to stay focused, he did a good job of keeping us engaged, and he had a lot of good stuff to say. we also talked about how to craft solid devotions, discussed concerns facing particular units, and were trained in specific clinic areas that we want to teach. i’m hoping to assist in hip hop dance, and maybe teach a new clinic this summer which throws together a bunch of different crafts from around the world. it has lots of potential.
these were josh’s notes. very detailed. certainly impressive.
4.) we separated guys and girls on one of the last evenings and had some separate hang out time. the guys went on an intense hike and ended with a cookout and some outdoor games (i’m not positive what the women did, but they left blowing bubbles and came back with sparkly crowns). it was great to just spend some time with the fellow men of tecumseh. the male leadership was there, and each of them took some time to talk about what it means to be a real man with a heart for God. it was super encouraging and i’m excited to grow closer to these guys as the summer continues.
5.) we’ve been having some really awesome chapels this week. every single one of them has been really encouraging and God’s been using them to speak lots of truth to them. one of them was about having God in our corner… remembering that this is always the case, even when we forget about it or decide that we’re really the ones who know best. it was exactly what i needed to hear. another one was full of what we call cardboard testimonies… a bunch of people walk out on stage one at a time holding a piece of cardboard. on one side is something that they felt was true of them before Christ. the other side reflects the way that Christ has changed them. it hit me a lot harder than i was expecting, and i could tell a lot of the staff was affected in a similar way. i owe so much to Christ… no longer am i bound by the burdens of legalism and condemnation, i will never be able to do anything to earn God’s favor, and that’s because i already have it. not because of anything i did, but because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross. anyway, it’s just been a super encouraging week.
6.) this week i had the privilege of serving as a cabin counselor for other counselors. i had the best cabin ever. it was full of guys who were passionate about Jesus, open and vulnerable with each other, and all about encouraging each other throughout the week. night after night, i found myself just praising God for the ways He answered my prayers in providing new friends that serve as accountability and encouragement in pursuing Jesus. He is so good. i’m going to miss seeing those guys as much as i did this past week, but i know we’ll stay close this summer.
7.) our last staff training night was a unit sleepout. all the braves and blazers piled onto a bus and headed out into the night. there were over a hundred people on that bus, and it was insanely packed. but we made it, and set up camp. it was a great time of just growing closer with other brave counselors, getting to know each other and talking about what we wanted the summer to be like. we plaed nichole nordeman’s legacy, one of my favorite songs, and talked about what kind of legacy we wanted to leave with our campers and how we could do that. after the devo was done, we stayed up and made some s’mores and played guitar and talked. ali, falco, and i stargazing for a little bit afterwards, just marveling at how awesome God is, how He created galaxies that we haven’t even discovered yet. it’s crazy. it was an awesome time.
8.) at the end of each week of camp, we have a special devotion called the bead devotion. each camper chooses from one of six beads, each of which represent a value that we hold highly at camp: trust, initiative, friendship, responsibility, joy, and faith. they choose a bead that represents the quality they want to work on for the rest of the year. it’s a really cool way to get them thinking about not only the ways they’ve grown in the past week, but also about taking what they’ve learned in camp beyond their summer. during staff training week, each of the counselors choose a bead as well. last summer, i chose the blue bead, which stood for trust. i really wanted to grow in trusting that God’s plan was better than my own, that He knew what He was doing and works all things out for the good of those that love Him. it was really cool to look back and see how far God’s brought me since i chose that bead. He answers prayers and loves to watch His children grow. this summer i decided to pick the white bead, which represents initiative. this summer it’s my desire to grow in boldness for Jesus. i don’t want to be so obsessed with the opinion of this world that i hesitate when talking about how awesome i think God is. i want to initiate conversations, initiate love and reflecting Jesus and encouraging my friends and asking questions to campers and being more like Jesus. choosing that second bead, slipping it onto my necklace, was unexpectedly powerful for me. i’m excited to see what He does with me this summer.
and tomorrow, the kids come. it’s insane to think that the summer is really just beginning. it feels like right now i should be packing up for home. not because i don’t want to stay here, but because it just feels like i’ve already been here for an entire summer. and the kids aren’t even here yet!!
today i moved into mine and hugo’s cabin for the summer: miami. we’re gonna have to come up with some kind of cheer for that one.
before i sign off, i want to share with you three things that i’m thankful for. as a village, we all decided to be actively looking for ways that God’s been blessing us every day. we’re all going to note three ways every day; we were given a specific notebook to do all the writing in, so that by the end of the summer we can look through it and remember all the awesome ways God loved us. so here are today’s three:
1.) i’m thankful for a God who answers prayers.
2.) i’m thankful that i’m all moved into my new cabin.
3.) i’m thankful that kids will be here tomorrow.
next ime i post i will have my first official cabin!!