Have you ever planted a seed and then watched it grow? The long slow wait seems to take forever. Spending a week at Heartland Camp is like watching that seed grow and bloom in a fast forward time lapse.
This week Legends camp began with 33 nervous people and has grown into a family of friends living together, learning from one another, sharing, praying, eating, playing, and taking care of one another. The get to know you games from Sunday night turned into Monday's hair braiding and stick sword fights which led to splash prayers in the pool and laughter around the campfire. The groups supported one another while each person challenged themselves on the rock wall. One camper tried the most difficult path while another summoned all her courage to approach the wall and step up on the very first rock and both were surrounded by their new friends' encouragement.
So far this week, our Senior High Leadership (SHL) camp has been working together to lead through example and develop a strong sense of being Christ’s example in our actions. All of us have been working to step up and find ways to be helpful and deepen relationships with our younger friends.
One of their main jobs so far has been working with the horses as wranglers, leading rides for Day Camp and Trailblazers. During this time, they have been able to work closely with one horse and talk with their riders during each ride. These rides have shown a great sense of leadership both with the horses and getting to know the riders. The conversations were always comforting for the nervous riders and exciting for our anxious friends. Our Day Camp friends even invited us to swim with them to continue the relationships began at the corral.
MADD camp has always had a special energy about it. This week at Middle School MADD, we have a unique opportunity where only one camper had previously been part of the camp and no one knew each other. This week has been full of new relationships; among friends and between ourselves and God.
We have pushed all our special activities to the beginning of the week so the next three days will be full of show preparation. Monday morning, we started the week off with a trip to the corral for a horse ride. Everyone rode and none of the horses misbehaved. As one of the campers commented, “I love riding horses because it is so calm and peaceful!” Later that day, we went to the archery range and found joy in shooting a card with 0 points on it. During our special swim on Tuesday morning, the kids delighted in running and flipping in the water walkers. Wednesday morning, we hit the ropes course and challenged ourselves on continuous belay and zipline.
Our theme for the summer is I AM, but this week for our Senior High Challenge campers I have seen them embrace a slightly different theme: I AM up for the challenge.
Every Sunday before camp begins I am reminded that the Lord is doing new things at Heartland. This was no different when I first met the six women who make up this week’s Senior High Challenge camp. Within the first hour of camp, the campers were already faced with a challenge: getting the fire to start for dinner. At our evening worship on Sunday, I got to hear all about how they finally got the fire to start after an hour of hard work and strategic log placement. I also got to hear about the story behind their group name, The Meat Hands. The group had chosen their name after a battle with some ground beef for their meat sauce. From then on it only made sense that they each got to choose which meat their hands were specifically. The silliness that gave way to their name did not stop at Sunday night.
Although it is only Wednesday, this week at Horse Camp has already been a whirlwind of activity and full of Christ-centered friendships being built. The horse camp group has already experienced everything from the joys of wilderness camping, horse rides along some exciting wooded trails, and a trip to Stonecrest! The first evening of camp provided the group with a challenge that ended up being the first major bonding moment for them. After a significant amount of rain the previous couple of days, starting the fire to cook dinner was particularly challenging. But the group came together and managed to get a roaring fire going in order to cook! Dinner never tastes quite as good as when you’ve cooked it yourself over an open fire.
This week at Work Camp we have dedicated ourselves to deepening our relationships with the Lord through service. This has taken shape in a project to spruce up the Highlander Cabins as well as many other mini missions around camp.
We left Jerusalem at about 4:45am on Friday morning and drove up to Tel Aviv for our flight to Istanbul. For the record- waking up at 4am to drive at 4:45 is not the best morning ever but honestly, I think most of us were ready to be home by that point. We were all pretty exhausted from going 100mph for so many days.
Our trip has come to an end, and what an awesome way to spend it. We got to sleep in a little today for our journey through Israel. We started at the Mt. of Olives, one of the best views in Israel. This spot overlooks all of Jeruselam. They warned us that we had a long day ahead of us and proceed to point out into Jureslem pointing out all of the checkpoints we would have along the way. Needless to say, we had a lot of ground to cover.
It had me thinking- how am I a stumbling block in other peoples lives? How do I cause others to sin and how can I prevent that?
Today was our first day in Jerusalem and I got to experience more than I expected. We visited the Temple Mount and Bethlehem and learned a lot along the way.