I've been doing camp since I was 14 years old. The first few years a little, old British lady named Ms. Myrtle was in charge. I loved Ms. Myrtle so much! She also did an Association wide youth mission trip. She was an extraordinary lady. She loved kids and youth with her whole heart. Without even knowing it at the time, I learned so much from her. She was passionate about Jesus. She was passionate about children knowing Jesus. She died while we were at camp one year (she wasn't at camp - she had given up doing camp a few years earlier) - it was so fitting. We used to do this thing called "cabin inspection" every morning at camp and she would go around to every cabin and check for "dust bunnies". If you sang "You are My Sunshine" to her then she would give you bonus points. Anyway, camp then was so "kitchy" with crafts and sing alongs and silly things like that. Camp has evolved into something a little more modern and it is a good thing for sure. Under the leadership of the Association Director, Larry, and his wife, Judy, camp is a wonderful outreach for the children and families of Chilton County. Larry and Judy are, hands down, the best leaders ever. I'm thankful for their hearts for camp and their hearts for reaching people for Christ. And they let Justin and I "run" camp - they may be getting a bit looney in their "young" age! ;) Hahaha! (one year they did give Melissa and me the assoc. credit card to buy a gorilla suit for camp...)
Well, my friend Justin and I are "in charge" of camp now and I think it is a great, affordable camp for churches and families who cannot afford Student Life for Kids or Centrikid. We are about $150 cheaper and have less kids, which equals less confusion. Justin and I have done camp since we were 15 and 14, respectively. When we were 22 and 21, we sort of just got put into leadership positions and it stuck! He's been the camp pastor and I've been the camp director and I honestly LOVE it.
I love camp. I love kids. I love serving in this capacity. I love seeing kids come to life in Christ, I love seeing real growth. I love seeing relationships blossom. I love seeing kids that I led becoming counselors and leading kids themselves. It's an amazing experience. Now, I know I said camp and I have a love/hate relationship and we do. Camp is long days and short nights, very short nights. Camp is running all over the camp, in the middle of the night, to deliver medicine and talk to kids who are homesick. Camp is lots of planning in my "spare" time. Camp is hot, hot days. Camp is dealing with people who drive me up the wall. Camp is learning how to be gracious and kind and loving. Camp is seeing lives changed. Camp is showing kids, who have no hope, no future, Jesus. Camp is telling "S" that there is someone who does love her, loves her like a Father should. Camp is heartache, when just a week later, "S" accidentally takes her own life because her home-life is gut-wrentching. Camp, because of Jesus and His love, is a game-changer for a lot of people. So, yes, we have a relationship that causes me grief and causes me immense joy. Every year, before camp, I say that this will be my last year and then every year, during camp, I can not imagine not doing camp again the next year.
This year our student band got the opportunity to lead worship for camp. Honestly, the first two nights were rough, but they pulled through and the last two nights were the best nights of worship at camp ever. They truly did a phenomenal job and the kids were lead to the Throne. They sang and they danced and they raised their hands and they laughed... They worshipped Jesus with full abandon. I am so proud of our students, they not only led in worship, but led as cabin leaders. Those 6th grade boys adored "Miss Michael" and I saw Delaney reach out to the 6th grade girls who weren't the "cool, pretty girls". I love that God called us to Hueytown and to the Methodist church. Don't get me wrong, there are things that the Methodist church approves of that I do not and never will, but I must say that this is where we belong. I heard a friend of mine say something along the lines of, "If I have to choose a side (between the Bible-thumping Pharisees or the love everybody "hippies"), then I'll choose love all the way. Who wants to be on the side of the angry hypocrites?" And I agree, for the most part the Methodist church is known for love (John 13:34, 35 says that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another). I don't really have a plan for this post - I just want to get some stuff off my shoulders about camp and about what God is teaching me.
This year a lady from our old church came and to be totally honest, I was not happy. Things didn't end well at that church for many, many reasons (not all of it was our fault and not all of it was the church's). I was shocked this lady was coming, she had never done anything with the kids when I was there and was against everything TJ tried to do. I know that TJ wasn't the best at dealing with people and had the "I'm-going-to-change-the-world-and-you're-not-going-to-stop-me-so-step-aside" attitude that can be misconstrued as arrogant
Here are a few pictures from camp - enjoy! Also, feel free to ask me any questions - about anything! Thanks for reading - Lucy is working on her 13 month post for you guys to read so be on the lookout!
|One of our former campers, then student in our ministry and now MARRIED!!! What!?!?! Love Natalie so much - excellent example of a godly-girl.|