Monday, August 13, 2012

FriendsCamp #1

It's hard to believe that this was only our second time to host a FriendsCamp. It has become such an important part of our church's LST ministry, I wonder what we ever did before it? Have a whole lot less fun, that's what!

Hanging out early the first morning, excited for what the day will bring!

Our first year was a great experiment that went exceptionally well considering many hurdles that might have scared off the faint of heart from ever trying again. Knowing about those hurdles this time around really helped us plan a weekend that we figured we could pull off without a hitch, but, in all likelihood, wouldn't. That's where God comes in.

FriendsCamp house

A boy and his tent
Hurdle #1 was the location. God blessed us with an absolutely gorgeous place last year that was a two-bedroom, three bathroom house to sleep 50 people. We did it, but the people who slept outside got wet and the bathrooms got dirty. Very dirty. Last year in my last-minute scramble to find a place I came across a house that seemed too good to be true. Turned out it was, since it was already rented for our dates. But you better believe I started making plans for FriendsCamp 2012 and early in the year I was able to reserve it. The house was absolutely perfect. It sheltered all of our 65 participants all weekend, and most of them got to sleep in actual beds! Provided by the house itself! We spread out between two floors, and among eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms (that also got very, very dirty.) Talk about the lap of luxury! Many chose to sleep outside in tents and hammocks, and they were able to do so and enjoy themselves because...

View from my bedroom Saturday morning

Hurdle #2: it did not rain! A single drop! Ok, maybe a few teasing drops right as we were getting the bonfire going for s'mores, the climax of FriendsCamp, but as if to say "just kidding guys, I'm not gonna do that again!" the rain let up and our campers had the most delightful s'mores experience they could have asked for. All weekend I was rather obsessively praying that it wouldn't rain, to the point that I started feeling like a doofus because the whole weekend looked like this. Thanks God!

The fact that it didn't rain allowed us to overcome Hurdle #3: the schedule. Due to the weather conditions and our space the first year about half of the planned activities were cancelled. Granted, the campers had such a delightful time they had no clue and couldn't have cared less if they did know, but with all the planning and buying and transporting that the team does, I really wanted them to be able to do all of the fun/hilarious/crazy/new/encouraging activities they had planned. Like this one:  

Dolphin Racing

Some activities on the schedule were cancelled, but it was because our campers had too much fun doing all of the other ones that they took too long and we ran out of time. :) Not a bad problem, if you ask me!    

Cutting hot dogs for dinner, not in their
job description but look at those smiles!
Another great blessings from the weekend was the exceptional team that God put together. We blended the team that had already been in Natal for six weeks with others who came in just for camp, many of whom did not previously know each other! Just like last year, this group blew me away. I learned so much from them about flexibility, (I don't actually know if they thought the location was as awesome as I did, it wasn't your typical American camp setting, but they sure played along if they didn't!) about servanthood, about parenting, about ministry, and about friendship, not to mention their stellar organizational and planning skills! Talk about hitting the ground running and not stopping until they boarded the plane to go home. I really just got to hang out at FriendsCamp and enjoy it, they worked the whole time and were still happy and fun the whole time. Yes, I get it. Lesson learned for the second year in a row about not complaining, ever.

And because FriendsCamp was too great to squeeze into one long post (or one post that you would actually read,) check back tomorrow for more. It includes a part about nunchucks, not kidding.


boyd2 said...

This makes me cry and smile, all at the same time! (And, yes, we DID think the location was awesome!)

Jatin Sethi said...

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