My oldest boy was a first time camper this week and I was nervous. I just can’t believe that he is this old, I mean it seems like we were just rushing around trying to get his carseat installed and inspected by an official careseat safety fireman so that we could bring him home from the hospital. Ok, so maybe every parent doesn’t refuse to leave the hospital until after their carseat has been seen by the firechief…but this was our baby. I’m sure you understand.
So, this was his first week of camp and despite my nerves, I was able to watch something amazing happen. I got to watch the boy who didn’t want to play paintball, slap on a camo shirt and rush out there like a natural. I got to see the boy who swore to me that he would never ever in his life sit upon a horse, ride off with his cabin behind the wrangler. I got to watch the boy who hates to be onstage get all silly in his cabin’s skit and say a Bible verse from memory in front of a crowd. And my little guy, who begs me not to make him go to church, my little boy was doing the motions to the worship songs and sharing at the campfire.
Amazing things happen at camp. Sometimes you hear about God for the first time or are rushed away to a safe place where you can just be a kid for one week out of the year. And sometimes you grow up. Sometimes you step away from your brothers and your Mom and Dad and realize that you can stand on your own. Thank you so much to Joker and the rest of our staff this week. Thank you for your blood sweat and tears. For staying up late when they had nightmares and giving your whole heart on the paintball field. He had a marvelous time, just like all of the other kids for whom you give of yourself. Just like all of the other kids that you love.
Yep, we started out our summer here at Camas Meadows Bible Camp with the Senior High Teen Camp last week. It was an amazing week and difficult to put to words. Skits and pranks and long heart-breaking chapels. The dark mania of nightgames and the sweltering hot of lake day all mixed up with snacktime and singing and playing zombie re-ball in the lodge. In a word…camp.
With my boys a little older now, I was able to attend staff meeting in the mornings. I got to watch the counselors stumble into Choco’s house in a sleep-deprived daze because they had spent all night talking, making cookies, or weeping with their campers. I got to see prayers answered and kids reaching outside of themselves to someone in need. I watched those with no strength left do great and wonderful things because they didn’t need strength, the Lord used them just as they were and He accomplished His work in powerful ways.
I can’t sum it all up. This week was too big. But I can give you just a glimpse. A glimpse of a camper who could not participate because of physical issues. A glimpse of a counselor who sat with her during night games, just talking. A glimpse of the person that the whole camp was looking for during nightgames stumbling into this camper and giving her the points for finding him. They won cabin competitions that day. And then when the counselor stepped back a moment and gave the rest of her girls a chance to serve they stepped up. They looked for their cabin mate during chapels and activities. They sought her out and they welcomed her in and they found creative ways to make sure that she was a part of it all, even though she couldn’t run or hike. Put all of these small moments together with hurting kids and the many people who weep and work to show them love, with the ache of delving deep into God’s word and the joyous agony of honesty and an open heart and you will have a bit of what this week was like. Thank you everyone. You have given of yourself and God has made something beautiful, despite all of our many failures and insufficiencies, I saw His glory this week and it was a lovely sight.