What to say? How do you explain what the last month has been like? At least some of you have been to a camp before, but many of you have no context for what I'm about to say. How do I help you see what my life is like on a daily basis? How can I say that I am sleep deprived and mentally exhausted but yet totally in love with what I'm doing and the God I serve and not have you be confused? I don't know if that's really possible, but I'll give it a shot.
Camp is like no other place on earth. What we do here is create an environment where kids want to come and have fun, but while we have them here, we give them to a counselor who will love on them and show them who God is and how what He does and has done affects their lives. Every moment and every encounter has a purpose. Last year I was in the business of counseling, the showing of Christ to my campers on a day to day and hour to hour basis. This year I am in the making camp fun business. It's a lot of hard work, but it's so rewarding because I know that every moment of fun that I facilitate is another reason why the campers come so that we can share the gospel with them.
We just finished high school week a week ago, and our second and final high school week is on the horizon. For those of you who have never experienced a high school week at Camp Barakel, let me paint you a picture. One hundred and twenty campers arrive on Tuesday afternoon and are split into tribes of nine and ten. The thirteen tribes are then split into three teams. Each team has a team leader, and they are competing for the honor, glory, and fame of winning high school week. Every summer there is a theme for high school week. Four themes rotate every year so that no camper experiences a theme more than once, and most of them only ever experience three as a camper. We have cheering competitions in the dining hall after every lunch and supper that are judged by an anonymous judge. They're LOUD but awesome. I love the cheering so much. After flag raising in the morning and supper in the evening, we have mini competitive games that are themed to the week. We have camp-wide flagbelt ambush games after supper that are epic and often difficult to fully understand. We have themed brain puzzles to do at every lunch. And on top of all that, we have all the normal camp activities! All of these things build into the huge competition that every high school camper looks forward to. And then there's Sunday. Sunday's supper is a themed banquet. This year's theme is the Incredible Adventure (based loosely on the Amazing Race), and the banquet takes place at our "final destination", which no one but the programers know. If it sounds like fun, you're right. If it sounds like a lot of work and not much sleep, you're also right. I spent most of the week filming video footage and taking pictures and making four videos over the course of the week. Sunday afternoon we showed the week-long video that covered snippets of everything that happened in the five days previous. It was wonderful, if I do say so myself - certainly my best work yet. Here's the link if you're interested - http://vimeo.com/101260268.
Last week we were back to regular junior high camp on the East Side of Camp Barakel. It was hard to see the high schoolers go. I like them better, I think, but I was very glad to get more sleep and have less overall stress. This past week has been a thinking week for me. A lot of the summer is so busy that I don't hardly have time to process what's going on around me, but this week slowed down a little, and I was able to think. Summer's coming to an end soon. Two more weeks of "normal" camp and then comes HISability camp. Even though I know where I'm going to be for the next year, there are still a lot of unknowns. I don't know quite where I'll be working within the Barakel camping format. I don't know how I'm going to juggle school and work. I don't know if I'm going to have enough support to pay for school and food and such. I don't know who my seasonal staff companions are going to be for sure. There are a few things I do know, though. I know that I have a God who is bigger than any worry I could ever have. I know that He has a plan that will perfectly take care of me and meet my needs, the ones I foresee and the ones I don't. I know that He's crazy in love with me, and wants nothing better than my growth in that knowledge and to learn to trust Him more.
So as another month is all but gone, and camp is drawing to a close, please pray for me, that I will finish the summer well and be able to say goodbye to all the summer staff I have spent two or three months with, that I will find the time to fund raise and end up with enough money for all my expenses, and that I will learn to trust my God even more.