Friday, June 15, 2012

witnessing Jr Higher's THRIVE

wow. camp experiences amaze me, no matter what. i am so beyond glad and blessed that Flaming Spirit has been such a big part of my life. i went there as a camper for 12 years, and have been continuing to go back as staff for the past four years. 16 years of going up there and spending time with God and with friends. it's been fantastic. and this year was no exception.

our theme this year is Thrive. the theme verse is John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." and these kids definitely learned how to live it out, and even started doing so.

Dallas Henry, a good friend of my oldest brother, was our speaker. He was willing to come over from chicago-land and invest some time with middle schoolers in the same camp he went to at their age. (an awesome thing about camp is almost all of the staff were campers there also) one great thing about dallas is that he is able to speak to jr higher's on their level, instead of talking down to them. the campers actually listened to him, and i loved talking to my family group after his talks to hearing what they thought about it.

Garrett Hawk was our mission guy. he's part of the christian campus house at northwest missouri state. (go bearcats) the guy in the picture isn't garrett though, it's brandon, the campus house leader. he also helps with campus house at missouri western, but rarely goes down to mowo unless the leader there has a problem. they are all great guys who are so on fire. they are very missional guys, and are always looking for ways they can help. garrett one night started picking up drunk college students and driving them home. it's now a program with the campus house, and the car is called the "swag wag".

josh getting baptized by his dad

westyn getting baptized by jim kelly

briar getting baptized by his dad

one of the best parts of the week, to me, was seeing three young men make the decision to get baptized!   two of them had the amazing privilege to be baptized by their dads. awesome God story: so briar came up to rick one night after chapel and was talking to him, in tears, about wanting to get baptized and what brought him to the decision, and he said he wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. so they went up and called his mom, but his dad was in virginia. mom called dad, and dad flew out that night and surprised briar at camp! it was so awesome to see briar's face when he was in the water and saw his dad come out from behind everyone. i cried when it happened, and cried again typing about it. then we even had a teen helper tell us during the staff meeting this morning that he made the decision to get baptized sunday when he is at church. how awesome is that!? four amazing young men deciding to make that public display of faith and getting baptized! (side note: i got baptized 13 years ago in that same spot you see in these pictures. I remember it clearly. and i love literally going back every year and seeing other people get baptized in the same spot. it's a humbling and awesome experience)

it was such an awesome week of camp, but i feel like "awesome" or "great" can't even begin to describe it. these jr higher's have such great hearts and i love having the opportunity to be able to spend a week with them and invest my time in them. i pray they realize how much the staff loves them. i am blessed to have spent this past week with a FANTASTIC group of around 100 7th and 8th graders, and the awesome staff. love them all and can't wait to go back already. here are some more pictures of the week. 

i played carpet ball with tennyson. he's four and a half. i let him beat me. he's a hilarious kid.

i learned to play euchre. they tried to teach me to play pitch also but that didn't work. euchre is a lot easier. 

ms. mackenzie and titus. such a happy baby. and loves to squeal very loudly. 

my family group working on our skit. 

titus chilling in the pool with ms mackenzie, ms sylvia, and ms jessica.

tennyson decided to take a little break and lie down

lou playing against tenny

dallas's new baby boy justus

and his older boy boaz. he's a little spit ball. so funny to watch him and tenny play.

campers watching the baptisms 

proud dad lifting up his son

it's never camp with out ultimate frisbee and rich's card tricks. 

and last but not least, and original song from faith and atheah. kenny and danny are faith's older brothers, and dad is in the background in the red shirt. 

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