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.
One highlight for me has been helping the campers lead evening worship. It amazes me how kids step up to lead songs for large groups. I was never that brave! We have done skits and acted out Bible stories. One night we met a very young looking old Zechariah who ended up mute because of his doubt of the angel Gabriel. Another night in a skit, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, couldn't stop giggling. Scripture and faith are at the forefront of everything we do at camp. It is beautiful to listen in on conversations where the question, "What does your family like to do together?" Is followed by, "What does it mean to you to be a Christian?"
Like anything that grows and changes there are complications and challenges to face when spending so much time together. Learning to deal with them in a loving way is part of the beauty that is emerging in our week. An argument over a towel turned into an offer to help search for the missing towel. An accidental scrape on an arm was made better by a concerned friend. Rowdy children are calmed down by prayer time and a bedtime story.
The seed that was planted on Sunday afternoon when the groups came together has quickly grown into a beautiful community that is not perfect but is living and sharing the love of Jesus with one another. Where else but camp does someone say their favorite pizza flavor is sausage because sausage sounds like Susej which is Jesus spelled backwards? Perhaps the most beautiful thing of all is knowing that seeds of faith have been planted and will continue to bloom in many lives.