Saturday, June 22, 2013

summer debriefing project. week three.

good afternoon! i am sitting in an artsy-fartsy "coffee bar" in Cookeville. i have an iced vanilla coffee and jenny by my side, so obviously things couldn't get much better.

this week was draining emotionally and spiritually. it was great, but also crazy.

i think the whole day thing went really well last week, so i'm going to that again.

sunday: i was so excited to have the middle girls. they were coming with a big group from knoxville that has come to camp many years, so i knew they would be enthusiastic. i had a great day of rest on saturday and got to talk to jen and david in the same day (wowee).  julie was my kind of co-counselor (we were in separate cabins that decided to combine) and we both had great jr. counselors, so it looked like a promising week. church that morning was so awesome too. i always forget how nice it is to worship at camp until i'm there and almost in tears because it's just so beautiful. it was so so so crazy when the girls got to camp. their moms were CRAZY (for the most part) and unpacking was so chaotic. we ended up going to dinner as the "braidy bunch" and braided all crazy. we also established three important rules for our cabin: 1) breathe, 2) never back down, 3) always give 100% (this was usually followed with a warrior pose). the girls seemed sweet and all was well.

monday: counselor meetings started this day. these are my favorite and i always enjoy them. i love the quiet, early mornings at camp.  they are such a nice time dedicated to cups of tea/coffee on the porch, watching the sun shine through the mist and on the dew, and spending time with a holy and perfect God who just loves us so much. i ended up teaching riflery class. i want to go outside my comfort zone this summer and teach activities that i wouldn't usually. so i acted like a drill sergeant and yelled at the kids to respect me and whatnot. it was fun for the kids and fun for me. monday went by pretty quickly. it was nice to be able to sit back and let the kiddos have fun with eachother, but it was also chaotic to try to control them. i ended up being bad cop quite a lot this week. but that's okay. monday night, we went to dinner dressed as warriors and it was awesome.  we did a lot of warrior poses and such. my porch talks began this night. i usually take girls out onto the field with a blanket instead of just sitting on the porch. i like that because it allows us to sit under the large, starry sky and observe how large God is.

tuesday: life was so difficult this day. i would rather not talk about it that much, so i kind of will skim tuesday. okay so the huge thing that happened this day was skit night. skit night was probably the best i have seen since i have been working at camp. like they were SO clever and hilarious. our girls were missionaries from the FUTURE (futurefuturefuture...) and went to all the planets (including the dwarf planet, Pluto and a planet named SOLAR). They were adorable and did so well. i was pretty impatient this day and was not able to "roll with the punches" or whatever the saying is. i ended up crying and calling david during the night game. that was both exhausting and humiliating and new. but david was so patient. and instead of giving me empty encouragement, he spoke truth to me. and that was priceless. one of my campers got saved on tuesday night, too. i feel like that was Jesus just confirming that life is good and He is good and He has a plan.

wednesday: this is my favorite day at resident camp. the gospel of salvation is presented and great things usually happen. i was so spent this day. my vocal chords were in pain and i was so tired. but my heart was not as heavy as it had been. the thing that impressed me so much this week, was that my girls were so supportive of eachother. all of them were just very sweet and seemed to really care for eachother! that's such an amazing thing to encounter in a group of 19 girls. campfire wednesday night was great. ryan did an excellent job giving the most beautiful message you could ever give. this night was banquet. banquet night is ALWAYS CRAZY. it's so fun to dress up, but it's also like AHHH CAMPERS! i got to take a picture with one of my favorite campers this week, wheat. his name was wheat. so you know, a picture with me is hilarious. because i'm wheat-intolerant! hahaha
i thought it was funny.

thursday: i really got to know some of the quieter campers this day. that was so invaluable to me. we sat and made bracelets and wrote stories at the pool. thursday night was an emotional night for some of the campers. it was a quiet kind of day for me. i woke up an hour later than usual and felt rested.

friday: this day was full of fun and jenny got to camp! in riflery, i had them complete a challenge to get their award and gave a talk about training in righteousness. it really summed up the whole week really well. i asked wheat what his favorite part about camp was and he quietly answered "the people here." it kind of hit me that that's my favorite part about camp too. water day went so well. i ate TONS of candy to get myself pumped up enough to be excited. after the water slide, we took hose showers in our bathings suits and ran around in the sun to dry our hair. then jenny came. and everybody kind of got crazy excited because she's basically the best. everything about this night was lovely. the bonfire was awesome. a little boy named perry cried softly in my arms for most of it. it was a good time for me to just love on him. i love little boy campers. they're so sweet and innocent still. i got to know a lot of the younger boys this week and that was so so so nice. i ended up giving my testimony at bonfire night, even though i didn't plan to. the party that we had in our cabin was crazy, but (luckily) short-lived. before we knew it, all of us (we were piled on the floor) were asleep.

saturday: (that's today) all of the girls left in a whirlwind. i realized, as i took a super super long shower after they all left, that i was just so drained and needed to be alone. so i have been. and then i got to talk to jen. and that's been good. basically, today has been good.

so yeah, that's my week. it's been crazzzzy and fun.
i have anna (who is so so great) as a junior counselor next week and some campers that i have had in years past. so i'm really excited. but i am a little tired. so hopefully i can get rested.

i hope that you know that Jesus loves you so much and that He always provides, because i was very pointedly reminded of that this week. i was also reminded that i am such a needy person. i just need lots of things. like love, rest, encouragement, and (more than anything) Jesus.

have a great week, yo.

Friday, June 14, 2013

summer debriefing project. week two.

hello all. i hope this finds you happy and healthy.

this week was my first official week of working at camp. it was hectic, crazy, draining, and extremely fun. i had the youngest girls (ages five and six and i also had one seven year old) in day camp.

let me recap the weeks by days:

monday: this day was fun, but i was still getting over being exhausted from haiti. i barely remember any of it, except naptime. the youngest kids get to nap everyday, which is awesome. they don't all sleep, however. and they are rather particular about details in the stories you tell. i tried to make cinderella's dress green and all hell broke loose.  also, i began reading hosea, the psalms, and first corinthians. that was nice.

tuesday: i was so tired this day. also i was missing david pretty vehemently. that distracted me/frustrated me tremendously and i didn't know what to do about it. we all went to the "lava rocks" and built forts this day. that was so fun. my girls and i (the purple indian tribe) waged war on adam and his boys (i think his name was wolf-fang or something). potions and bows and arrows and spy attacks were involved. i really got to bond with my camper macy this day. she is a cute little ginger girl with freckles and the sweetest smile. i slept for a short while during naptime and felt like i got hit by a truck as a result.  this was also the day that a group of girls (macy, liza, ava, and olivia) dubbed me "chumbo" in the pool. apparently that is a really good villain name. i was a little emotional and had an asthma attack this night. so although it wasn't a bad day, it definitely wasn't a good one.

wednesday: wednesday began with a large book with a timeline it it all spread out on the table in the dining hall. some of us gathered around it and read about people and how long their lives were and stuff. it was kind of a nice beginning to the day. i was so tired this day, but not quite as whiny, which was good. my group (group 2) was the youngest boys and the youngest girls. the youngest boys were HILARIOUS. like a lot. i wish i could write down everything that this one camper blake said. because he was a real gem. the girls told me all about my past as chumbo and how i came to cedar lake (who are you and whatchyoudoin'?). lots of giggles were had by all. gs-ing with julie and hannah was super nice this evening. banquet was so fun. i forgot my camera and didn't really have a reason to take pictures, so julie and i ran around and tried to photobomb jonathan. in the past jonathan has ruined countless beautiful photographs of certain groups of people. this plan, however did not work. instead, julie and i grabbed random campers and posed with them. after worship (which was so nice to be apart of) i skyped david. it's a little embarrassing how much my mood changed after that. it was nice to catch up and be able to kind of share our lives with eachother.

thursday: this was the beginning of the end. we were all so tired, but the exhaustion expressed itself through delirium. silly songs were incredibly intense and finger-extenders were flawlessly executed. the rest of the day was a little bit of a blur, because it was just so fun. water day was very fun (even though my baby camper payton slept through it) and i really enjoyed getting to spend time with adam and jr. counselor blake all day. even if they threw gross water on me. the slip-n-slide was (of course) both dangerous and thrilling. the poor little campers got some battle wounds, but it's all apart of the show. thursday night skits were really fun to watch! i feel like the cabins worked pretty hard on them. after that, we (day camp staff +a few) went to sams and sonic. julie, karley, hannah, and i danced (a lot) and got lost on the way there. when we got to sonic, it was super overwhelming, but a good time was had by all. i feel like i really got to bond with our new director, megan, so that was pretty cool. the staff seems so much more of a whole unit than last summer. that's really refreshing and uplifting to me. i slept SO WELL this night.

friday/today: this was such a hard/good/hilarious day. i was basically in a zombie state for most of the morning. EXCEPT during silly songs. silly songs reached epic proportions this morning and "with jesus in the boat" never sounded/looked better. feeling expressed, lives were changed, and the pavilion will never see such a big finish (when we're sailing HOMMMMMEEEEEE). i felt like the whole day i was saying to myself "JUST PUSH THROUGH". none of the kids (except sweet little matthew) slept during naptime. i told two stories and, according to adam, i slurred my words and not many of my sentences connected. i was laying on the couch, so i was most likely telling the stories in my sleep. i got to be "chumbo" one last time. when the girls left, i was pretty sad...actually a lot more sad than i thought i would be. i gave some of them my address, so i hope they'll write me. after a nice gs, i felt refreshed and slightly insane. julie and i were crazy all day today and that was really entertaining/enjoyable.

and that's about it.
sorry this is long.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

summer debriefing project. week one.

so much of my summer has been very fast-paced already, so i thought i'd do a debriefing post every week. so if you grow tired of my life, i'm sorry.

this past week (and a little before that) i was in Bohoc, Haiti with a group from my church. i went to Haiti last year, but but i still did not know what to expect. the area was incredible and mountainous. last year, i fell in love with the coast. this year, i fell in love with the plateau. the way the trip impacted me can be split into three different categories: the way my own thoughts and heart changed, the beauty of the people, and the beauty of my team.

perhaps the largest thing that changed in me this week was my doubt. i have always known i have a hard time dying to myself. the very phrase "dying to yourself" has made me cringe. i have doubted the Holy Spirit's presence in my life and the power that gives. this week definitely taught me that i am actually, through the Holy Spirit, much more capable of dying to myself than i thought. who knew? this week also taught me that God is the Great Provider. i have subconsciously (and consciously) doubted that since i knew what money was and how it worked. through testimonies, stories, and things that happened before my eyes, i saw that there is nothing that i should worry about. 
another important thing that happened in my heart was a growing hunger to serve on the mission field. the intern that was with the organization (HAFF) we were working with was an incredible inspiration and help to me. she took me aside and answered my questions and gave recommendations on things i can be doing now to prepare my heart.
finally, i was reminded of the importance of prayer. especially the listening part of prayer. it is so great to be able to talk to God. but it is even better to know that He listens and that He responds.

the Haitian people are so stunning. they have faith in spite of their numerous afflictions. they have joy-so much joy that they seems to spit in the face of their sufferings saying: "look! i have a light you cannot put out!" they really, truly believe that God is on their side. that is an incredible lesson that i have definitely not learned completely. i wish i could describe every person that i met and cultivated relationships with. but that would honestly be a whole novel.

the people that were on the team with me were just breathtakingly beautiful. God did some great things in their hearts and it was so amazing to watch that happen/be apart of it. my youth pastor went and (as usual) it was great to be able to talk with him all week. my associate pastor and his son were on the trip with us. watching them serve together was moving and humbling. they wept over ailing widows and rejoiced with old friends. my dear friend Cara was on the trip with me. she is a beautiful girl with a sweet heart that has been through a lot. it has been hard to watch the hurt, but some healing came this week that i was able to rejoice in. Sam, Brandon, and Jason, (the three other members on our tiny team) were all such joys to get to know and love. i will not forget how surprisingly well we all meshed together.

i guess i should do some summing up. in short, Haiti was black coffee in the morning. it was rain in the afternoons. it was two little girls walking hand-in-hand down a flooded street. it was a woman smiling in the face of death. it was motivation to live more simply. it was incredible love. it was silent prayers for peace and provision. it was the faithful and the broken. it was grace and freedom.

so yeah. debriefing.