Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Wilds Summer Camp and My Big, Bold, Scary Future

As I mentioned last week, I just spent June 3-8 off in a beautiful mountain retreat in North Carolina called the Wilds Christian camp.  (P.S. - The fanfiction also mentioned in that post has a new chapter up!)


Green Team Rally
Well, my camera broke before we arrived, I got sick in the middle of the night, I almost broke my nose twice, and I went to breakfast and chapel in my pajamas one morning.

But overall it was totally, completely awesome.


Rebekah and I at the Cool Beans coffee shop
Alex (girl from my cabin) and I with our team for Spin It to Win It
I went to the lake.  I went on a hike to some gorgeous (and frigid) waterfalls.  I got a few bug bites and a sunburn-tan-hybrid... thing.  The lovely ladies at the craft shop saw me almost every day, unlike last year when I spent that time in the snack shop.  (It is sooo not worth the stairs just for snacks during free time.)  



Lots of other people went putt-putting, giant swing-ing, rock climbing... and my whole cabin did go tubing one day.  I did the water and the land ziplines, or trolleys as the Wilds calls them.  My umbrella broke on the first day it rained, so I had my fair share of free outdoor showers for the second half of the week.





I did intend to do the giant swing, but couldn't find anyone to do it with - which was actually why I ended up on the Land Trolley, since Shane and AnneMarie from church (pictured below) invited me to do that with them.  Naturally, the whole time we're walking from the line to the place you actually zipline, AnneMarie's talking about how it's not that scary and blah blah blah.  Then, it being my first time, I had a mini freakout before stepping off the platform into thin air, with nothing but trees and a creek under my swinging legs.


Shane and AnneMarie and I hanging out by the giant swing
My totally awesome cabin!  From left: Taylor, Shelby, Hallie, the amazing counselor Meg, Bekah,  Savannah, Chass, and Hannah; in front: Alex and me!
Oh, and the best preacher I have seriously ever heard in my life spoke to us twice a day for a whole awesome week.  This is probably one of the most personal things I've ever got up and said in public, but here's the testimony I shared during the camp spotlight at my church on Sunday night:


My camp week was really broken into two parts.  The first two days, I dealt with jealousy issues.


Hindsight is 20/20, and I know now I’ve always had problems with being jealous towards my friends - not because of material possessions, but because of other relationships they had with people that weren’t me.


This past year, I’d finally started to realize this problem.  On the bus to camp, Pastor Danny asked some of us to come up to the front and share how we were hoping God would work in our lives.  So that’s what I talked about - jealousy.


The very first message Dr. Ferrel preached was about attitude.  To sum that whole evening up in a few words, “Your attitude is your choice.”  Before I could let go of my resentments, I had to admit that the situations weren’t entirely my friends’ fault - how I handled and reacted to situations was on me.


The second Christian Life Seminar was about anger, specifically four types of anger in Ephesians 4:31.  In order to deal with my jealousy problem, I had to admit it was really an anger problem - specifically a problem with bitterness, which is defined as a smouldering resentment or grudge.


Halfway through the week, I realized that God and I really had worked entirely through my
jealousy issue.  I was actually a little worried I might be bored for the rest of the week,
thinking that I’d have nothing left to learn during the chapel services.  Clearly, that was
just me being stupid.


The last Christian Life Seminar was about missions, persecuted Christianity, and just a general worldview with specific statistics on Christianity outside of America and the distorted, selfish mindset of many American Christians.  Then, the Friday night message was about the man or woman God uses.


Growing up, during revival weeks at church or summer camps like the Wilds, I’ve previously surrendered to missions work.  Sometimes this was a vague idea that I was meant to do something missionary oriented.  Other times I surrendered to a more specific calling involving children, teaching, sometimes orphanage work.  But we’re all familiar with the what comes after the spiritual high of camps and revivals, and as things settled back into normal, time passed, and I started to push aside the decision I’d made. It was too soon for me to know what God’s plan was.  I was younger when I said that - now I don’t want that future anymore.  It was just an emotional reaction.


In reality, these were all excuses.  I knew God wanted me to be a teacher and I was already planning on studying Elementary Education at a Christian college.  But after that... well, I was still holding tight to the ‘after college’ with both hands.  So on Friday night I surrendered once again to what I admitted always was and will be God’s calling: He made me to be a missionary teacher.  As in full time service with children, outside of country, quite possibly speaking Spanish or eating mealworms.


To close, I’d like to read part of what I wrote in my journal during the Friday night fireside service.

“...I’m seventeen and a half years old and looking at serious future stuff like college.  This is and always was what God made me for.  My plans, my comforts, the people I want in my life may not figure in - but that doesn’t matter.  Wherever God wants me, future adult teaching me, it’s not America... I will not forget or forsake this.  It is the real and powerful working of a real and mighty God... [Who is] not letting go of the plan [He] had all along for me.”

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