I am not entirely sure where to start, how are you meant to explain six days that have been so entirely packed that there's hardly been time to steal a few minutes away to debrief? For those who completely missed why the blog hasn't been updated, I've been away leading on a junior ESA camp - grade 4 to year 7 age.
My very set habit of spending my evenings thinking, blogging, writing, reading, thinking, praying, thinking and msn'ing, were shot to pieces after such full days and the different location. Different to a holiday when you have loads of time to do most of the above, this resulted in getting to sleep being very very difficult task every night despite being so tired. My mind would run absolute riot the moment I lay down. The fact that I wrote hardly at all and and absolutely no 'journal' type recording stuff, will mean I have to rely somewhat on memory. I did however take the scrawl opportunity during the few 'quiet times' and looking back have a little bit of a remarkable record of where God took me through the week. Or at least I think so.
Made it up to ESA early as pertaining to the parental's paranoia of driving the black spur at night. The drive was shorter than I remembered. I wasn't first there which was kind of nice in a way. Met Carris - another of the leaders so we got to know each other as much as you can when well you are in such a random circumstance of waiting hours for the others to show up. Mass produced name-tags and organised lodge groups.
Slight bedlam on the following day when campers started showing up early. I was designated photographer to take a mugshot as each came in the door. Photos for the fuzzy bags (ie: say nice things about xyz bags). It was a good way to start grasping everyone's name. I'm quite good when it comes to remembering names -unlike phone numbers, and got them all down pat fairly quickly. About 55 kids all up, only 20 or so of them boys.
I 'Lodge Lead' fifteen or so girls - the slightly older group (11-13) with Andy (girl) and Jacinta. Turns out I knew Jac when about 8 from Horsham! Both fantastic, got along with them well. The girls were also a very diverse group, from the extremely quiet to the out-there, I care stacks about what I look like kind.
So... meals, activities, games, 'worship' (where I got roped into doing the 'words'), lodge time, study time, memory verses, duty group, quiet time, 7:00 leaders meetings...
There was no snow so the snow trip, whichever day it happened to be turned into a trip down to the heated pool. I haven't swum in ages so enjoyed it heaps. Two of the boys decided to spend their time chasing me around the pool all afternoon with a dophin that squirted water. Thoroughly wore me out but was quite hilarious. I think one of them thought it was his right after working out we share the same birthday, he became Mr.4 and I Ms.4 for the rest of the time.
Chosing what to do as a Lodge Group for the Concert night (ie: a talent night) was slightly chaotic. Several of the girls were fixed on doing a dance/song thing. Andy and Jac got minorly caught up in their idea helping them out. Not being such a fan (not that I had to join them) I had a look around and saw some very un-keen faces. I followed one when she went to her room where I found her crying and fairly upset. So I had a chat to her, calmed her down and worked out who were the rest of the girls not keen on the idea and we split the group so they could do something 'more tame' - a skit that could link up with the dance. They mostly wrote it, with a little help from me. The girl that was crying got pretty excited about how to do things which was really encouraging. I know all to well what it's liked to be dragged into something you hate doing, something that deeply embarasses you, scares the pants off you and resent it for a long time.
Much of my time I spent looking out for the girls who weren't so much the 'trouble' makers but more those who still wanted some leader time, and those not getting so involved. It was very worthwhile watching the reluctant ones come out of their shells and start enjoying themselves.
I managed to be not quite central to the biggest issue we faced - which involved a heap of crying some lying, some real issues and a lot of emotional energy on behalf of Jacinta. To be honest the girls involved tested my patience and I don't think much sympathy would've come from my end. It is a very stuffed up world.
Sonja (camp Mum) and I got along quite well and I hope I managed to be some kind of friend I guess to her rather than just another person she had to support.
I hit my 'tired' wall on the last night. I was slightly surprised it wasn't earlier, despite grabbing a two hour break/sleep the day before. Sonja and I escaped the kids dancing around the dining hall and went and chatted/played fooze ball away from the noise.
I believe as a whole I managed pretty well. I enjoyed myself, didn't quite get as many deeper conversations as I might of liked but I hope I encouraged those I did get to know a bit better.
I dont' think a day by day run through is very possible as it is all somewhat of a surreal blur. So that's all you're pretty much going to get.
I came out to my car when it was time to leave and found random notes on my car (thanks to Dan and Jerome). The drive back was beautiful, wished my camera wasn't so buried.
What God did in me?
I have a bit of a progression of what I was reading through the camp. Beginning with 2 Corinthians 5, God was really pushing the whole time what it means I guess what we usually dub as 'evangelism', the importance of sharing him. Which I honestly don't believe is something I've grasped or seen the extreme importance of before (there's a confession and a half, that's sort of what being a Christian is about right?).
Also, Acts 2, where it talks about Paul being a Roman citizen - he appealed to who he was and it worked. I am not some jump around, go crazy out there person. I could only be who I was and live from that. This reappeared later when I was looking in 1 Corinthians.
"But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike."
1 Cor 9:10
"Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest."
1 Cor 9
"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (22-23)
1 Cor 2:1-5
"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."
1 Cor 1:27-30 - which some of was part of one of the memory verses
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."
An interesting experience that has left me feeling entirely more peaceful than I have in a long time. I have been encouraged to relook at how I live my life. To spend more time with Him and more time actually doing the stuff. I got to look at how other Christians (like Andy and Jac) read, experienced, lived and saw God's word...
I got home and God gave me one last thing to read from Luke,
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." (46-49)
And so there you go. Perhaps my foundations have been a little more cemented. I certainly hope so. It's a really exciting thing to serve God.
Would I do it again?
Do I need to look for areas where I can contribute positively towards the kingdom of God otherwise?
I have spent far too long getting totally engulfed in theological intricacies that I forget what's really important.
And thanks to Paul for suggesting that I come along, because on the selfish side of things, I really did need it aside from it just being a great opportunity to serve.
**additions for things I forgot.
We had an amazing race afternoon, I was running activities with Warren and Sam, so got to know them a little better. Kids got egg all over them, I purposefully didn't join in 'because I was running it'.
Followed this by a BBQ and a night-time trip up to Stephenson's Falls. Beautiful! It's all lit up, I haven't been there for a long time but as far as I recall it's ten times nicer at night. The sky was so clear, I could've looked and looked. I did spend the majority of the evening trying to keep 'a campers' hands warm and we became quite good friends with the bbq as one means of doing this.
One more thing worth recording. I had a very strange, what I think was a 'God dream' although nothing too much came of it. I rarely dream and if I do it's usually stupid or nightmarish. Of a camper (one I had no cause to be thinking about at all) one of the pretty quiet ones standing up the front with the rest of them, "I must speak, I must speak!" she then prophesied about well, the guy directing the camp (unfortunately I do not recall what she said) and started speaking in tongues, whereby the rest of everyone sort of joined in. I was looking on and 'testing' the weirdness of it and found it okay... just a really strange, amazing dream. There was another part to the dream which is actually what I remembered first - I only ever dream good things about that person (and it's flipping confusing). But the rest was oh so clear. Extremely strange but it came with the 'that was a good thing' feeling when it woke me up around 4:30am. I ended up telling Jac and Andy about it in the morning and we prayed for the girl I dreamt about... I didn't see anything come of it, who knows.
And that'll do for now, unless I remember anything later.