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Archive for the ‘camp’ Category

Walk in the Spirit

During my week at camp I was preparing for a Sunday school lesson in which we were studying Ephesians. One of the points was the fact that the unsaved are governed by the lusts of their flesh and of their mind, and those lusts war against the Spirit in a Christian.

One afternoon early into the camp week I was wandering around during free time trying to be a counselor. I was doing what my mind knew I was supposed to do, what I thought I should do, and what would satisfy me as completing the responsibility. Most of my campers were dispersed to the far corners of camp that I had not yet discovered, and the rest were playing volleyball.

Reassuring myself that they were old enough to be independent and smart enough to have brought friends to camp with them, I sat down to wonder what I should do. At least they weren’t clinging on me like the JV girls were to their counselors. But I began to wonder if my charges didn’t need me why God even had me there.

By the evening I had thoroughly repented. I was back to actually communicating with God, content to wait for His opportunities rather than manufacturing my own. When the evening praise began I phased into my own prayer. I needed to be reminded who God was. Just to focus on Him. At first. I needed it. And right there, the first song was all about God and His attributes, His power, holiness, and glory. God heard me.

And the next day I did wait for him, and the day went so much better. I gained insight into my campers – and others, as well. I had purpose but it was to wait on God and obey His promptings. It was to fellowship more with Him.

To God be all glory.

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Leadership

The chapel messages each night of camp were about Nehemiah, and his leadership. Our theme was Tool Time, so we ran with the building connotations and settled on building the wall of Jerusalem. Those eligible for camp have generally a lot of Bible knowledge and are comparatively more mature than your average Christian teenager. We had as our object encouraging the deepening of their relationships with God and as always, training them to serve Him. So I guess the messages could apply to them. While I sat there, I was sure God was speaking directly to me.

Young, first time, typically timid counselor gets nightly pep talk from her Master. He takes her on different aspects of leadership from the fact that we’re all just servants, vessels for His use to the need for boldness. Nehemiah was a real man who exercised real leadership over real people in real situations. I forget sometimes that Bible heroes really are human. It was probably even harder for Nehemiah to ask for three years’ leave from his job than it would be for my dad. Think about it. Yet he prayed and then obeyed.

The counselors of the Varsity (High School) group were charged with overseeing the Varsity service project of the week: doing the chapel service the last night for the younger kids. This involved prayer, skits, service, worship, special music, testimonies, and interspersing themselves with the Junior Varsity to keep attention directed. Through the fault of camp leaders who “hang loose” and long-distance telephone static, I expected to be assigned a sphere of responsibility – or even assistance. Understand that I’m young for a high school counselor, got my application in late, and was chosen to be with the high school group only a few weeks before the camp. So I assumed most of the important jobs were already filled, and I would fill in where needed.

Enter application of Chapel messages on leadership. Some counselors knew their roles. Most of us were clueless. The leaders, as much wanting to form leaders out of their counselors as to leave the kids to take possession of their ministry, would not decide for us. One of the counselors took charge, temporarily exited the room (this was all happening under pressure; kids were waiting to be told what to do next), and came back with a list, assignments for each of us. We looked it over and all consented.

The responsibility I was allotted was to oversee testimonies. Two or three were expected to be presented as part of the service. I’d been on the team once when I was in high school; I write my own Sunday school lessons; and work with high school and junior high a lot, so I figured I could handle it. We had one volunteer. What’s more, he wanted to be part of the service team, too. So the first day I ran around with one of the leaders who said she wanted to be hands-off, and tried really hard, but succumbed to my lost smile and helped me to beg for more volunteers.

The second day I made a bit of progress by seeing an outline of the testimony. Yes, that took all of a minute or two. And I was delighted to learn we had one more volunteer, whose talk was as of yet completely unprepared, but he felt God wanted him to do it, so he was. I’m ok with that. I still had nothing to do. But I had a question: How much time can my charges talk? How much time do we have at all? Who is putting all these components together into one long service? Ok, so I had more than one question.

Depending on the person to whom I was inquiring, I used a different approach. Since I had nothing else to do, I set out to discover the answer. Starting with the nearest fellow counselor, I asked ultimately 4 people. The first person said the worship leader. So I went to ask him. He said it would probably be him, but no one had actually given him that job. The male head of the Varsity camp (one of the hands-off couple) said probably the counselors and graduated Varsity campers. His wife (the other hands-off person) said it was our job, that of the counselors.

Answers so often lead to more questions. Did anyone else know this? I suspected not. When would we decide? Where? How? And how would anyone find out we were supposed to be in charge? I dreaded the thought – sorry to admit it – of going to each person to ask them their opinion. I just don’t like stepping up to people and interrupting their important thoughts… Excuses, excuses.

Chapel service that night had me convinced. I needed to let the Nehemiah story go to my head and call a counselors meeting for the few minutes right after breakfast. Me? Leader? Tell all the other counselors what to do? But as it was God prompting and I could think not only of a plan, but of how to word the plan, I was determined.

And then I slept. And the next morning, I backed out. Resolve is so much stronger when immediate. Tired little me failed in her leadership task. But something still had to be done.

The next morning the hands-off leaders told all of the counselors at our morning meeting that we were in charge of ordering the service. So I was no longer the only one with the information. Still no word on how that was supposed to happen.

A few hours later I was talking to an old friend who was one of the Varsity counselors with me, and wondered when we should get together to make all these decisions. Through a mutual discussion, we settled on the same time I had originally imagined, only a day later. And we decided to spread the word. She took enough initiative to tell her color team co-counselor, and he told the announcement man at breakfast.

The meeting did take longer than I envisioned, but an hour later we’d all worked together to come up with a schedule. Back and forth, pros and cons, logistics and tone. All came together. And God was in charge of it all, carefully orchestrating everything, using us as His tools, His vessels, even though at times He seemed even more hands-off than our leaders.

To God be all glory.

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Hang Loose

“Hang loose!” It made me laugh that our Camp Speaker, an Awana missionary & pastor in Illinois, was using the phrase with a corresponding wave-like gesture to me. I’m midwest as Marianne on Gilligan’s Island, and a “sheltered little church girl,” but it was fun.

It was also the message I needed just then. A day or so later I asked him what it means. The meaning seems obvious, but I was looking for history. He just picked it up from a friend. I am imparting to you now the knowledge of research:

hang loose
To do nothing.
To be relaxed and unperturbed by one’s surroundings, etc.
– from allwords.com

to hang loose is to be cool, you are going with the flowIt is a surfing slang from your posture when you are totally comfortable standing on a surfboard, in control but just riding the wave
– from Yahoo Answers

… in Hawaii the same gesture [pinky and thumb pointed out of a fist like a bulls head – similarly used as a Texas Longhorn symbol] pointed forward, and waggled a bit, means “Hang Loose”, a friendly signal of commeraderie among the locals, which I’ve noticed tends to stick in the minds of the tourists even after they go home. And since rich people tend to visit Hawaii often, well, you can extrapolate from there.

To God be all glory.

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When I first got to camp almost two weeks ago – how time flies! – I could tell we were under spiritual attack. The camp director’s wife had experienced a broken wrist in the past week and a flat tire that morning. I myself discovered that my clock which I bring everywhere, not being fond of watches, would not work. I use my cell phone, and apparently it refuses to keep time without service. On top of a mountain, several miles from any city, is not a good place for cell phone service. How would I wake up at the unheard of hour of dawn each morning?

The camp asked us not to use scotch, duct, or masking tape to decorate our cabins – protecting the old paint on the walls. Instead, we were offered that blue painters tape, which won’t pull tape off walls. Why? Because it doesn’t stick. That’s for what its made, to not stick. Nor would it hold up the decorations I brought – not even streamers.

I was rather beside myself with giddy nervousness, reuniting with friends, acquainting myself with the ladderless bunks above the sandy wood floor, and the above mentioned frustrations. Mom to the rescue delivered to me my dad’s wristwatch, and he taught me how to use it. I don’t know what he did for the week, but it was such a relief.

You know if I were running a camp store, I would have in it the “Oops! I forgot (blank) at home” items: toothbrush, deodorant, batteries, film, postcards, chocolate, and alarm clocks. Definitely alarm clocks. No such luck. Thank you, Dad!

The frustrations of day one were pointers to God, though. By the end of the day I knew I needed Him, and had cried out to Him from free-fall mode several times. One of the younger girls in my cabin had a similar first day (forgot her towel and pillow, lost her hairbrush: cue up Veggie Tales!), and I felt like our shared experience was a gift of God for us to connect.

Spiritual warfare continued during the week. Especially during invitations and Bible hour, chipmunks would visit the chapel or equipment would malfunction or some silly counselor (yours truly) would spill her pens all over the floor. But we prayed hard and worshiped hard and the messages ended up having an impact. I know. I think they were written for me, just for that week.

In the words of our chapel speaker to me after breakfast one morning, “Hang Loose!”

To God be all glory.

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