Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 6 - Reflecting - Friday

Even with our rain adjustments, we all enjoyed our final day at camp. We considered again God's lavish love on us and His incredible sacrifice to make us His children, exchanging our old lives for His new life. Campers and staff shared stories of how the Lord had spoken to them this week. Referring to our invitation to come into God's family, one camper said, "I was on the outside and now I'm on the inside."

A director shared the verse below with some staff yesterday. In light of that, we're praising God that He has given us life and love through His Spirit. Please pray that campers and staff would remember His love to adopt us and would rely on His Spirit as we enter back into our everyday lives.

 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 
- (from Romans 8)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 6 - Prodigal Son - Thurs.

We’ve been learning about God’s gracious love through the parable of the prodigal son. Our hearts naturally wander and we listen to a myriad of competing voices leading us in many directions. We can trust our heavenly Father who loves us so much that He runs toward us to restore us to a right relationship with Him through Jesus.

We’re seeing the Lord change hearts with His love this week. 

We’ve seen some encouraging changes in campers:
- A camper who is consistently angry at home is having a great week at camp. We're praying that the things he knows in his head would touch his heart as he faces returning to a difficult situation at home.
- One camper, who was opposed to memorizing the Bible, has become happy about doing memory work.
- One camper is always kind and social, but has limited his conversations to surface-level topics. He’s begun to ask deeper questions (for instance, he asked about sin).
- A camper who has gotten in a lot of trouble this week reacted well when his cousin was restrained: he encouraged his cousin to settle down and not fight back.

We’re also seeing God work through campers to show His love to other campers.

We’ve seen campers help and lead:
- Campers have encouraged and supported one of their peers who has a torn hamstring. His limitations have discouraged him and he’s wanted to go home. The care of the other campers has given him a desire to stay at camp.
- A camper is looking out for his younger brother in an encouraging way.
- A staff person took note of a camper who “really helped lead” during the campout on Wednesday night. He took initiative to pitch in and help the counselors.  He mentored another camper during devotional time, giving very helpful advice.

Week 6 - Egg War - Wed.

“When’s the Egg war?”  -- Staff began hearing this question as soon as campers arrived. The anticipated event did not disappoint. Campers and staff divided into two teams to play “Capture the Flag.” Each received three eggs, which disqualified opponents when they were hit. Everyone enjoyed the time in the woods, the competition, and the mess. The evening built camaraderie and trust.

Following the war, we learned that there are two teams in life. Either we are on God’s team or we’re not on God’s team. There isn’t a sliding scale of good and bad that determines our spiritual position. None of us can be good on our own. We all need God’s gift of life through Christ to be on His team. We were challenged to consider our separation from God and to consider His love that as He welcomes us to come into His family.

Week 6 - God's Unconditional Love - Tues.

Today we learned about God lavishing His love on us. Although we say we "love" for many different things, love has a variety of meanings. We talked about the love that exists in families, in friendships, and in romantic relationships. We learned that God's unconditional love surpasses all other kinds of love. God also doesn't just give us small amounts of love; He gives us His love in abundance when we're His children. 

Our speaker challenged us to think about God's love for us (even though we're naturally His enemies because of sin) throughout the day today. We're working on our pinewood derby cars, we're learning recreational skills (like archery and swimming), and tonight's a big night. Tonight is the Egg War!

Canoeing - Staff are encouraged by the atmosphere of encouragement and support at Teen Boys Camp. Our canoeing elective showed it clearly.  More guys signed up for canoeing than will fit in Camp Cumcito’s canoes this year. Also, in the past, many campers have quit canoeing on Thursday afternoon before the 5:30 am canoe trip on Friday. For these reasons, the canoeing group spent their first rotation carrying their canoes all the way around the lake. 

The campers rose up to meet the challenge. Staff noticed that they worked very well together as teams.  They heard campers say, “I’m not a quitter. I’m doing this.”  Noticing that one canoe lagged far behind the others, staff advised the larger group to use encouraging words with those who lagged. Some of the campers said, “Let’s go help them!” Six guys got under the canoe and carried it together the last 150 yards.

Week 6 – Teen Boys - Mon.

Our camp staff welcomed 38 guys, ages 13-16, just before lunch.  As you might expect, activity fills even the first day of camp for teen boys. After orientation, campers took turns swimming, making pinewood derby cars, and playing sports. 

Before dinner, cabins paired up to compete in the “Great Race.” Teams faced various challenges, like a styrofoam javelin throw, a cookie balancing feat, and racing with boards under their feet.

In the midst of all this activity, our speaker gave us another challenge: to listen to the still small voice of the Lord. We all had different motivations coming to camp and the Lord has His reasons for bringing us here. We’re trusting that God will use the activity, and the stillness, to show us His abundant life.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 5 – Winding Down the Week - Friday

Friday morning, on the last full day of camp, it seemed that going outside had become Camp CUMCITO's newest water activity! Thankfully, the thunder and lightning cleared off in time for morning activities (after knocking out Internet communications for the entire camp), so campers were able to swim in the pool and the lake despite the weather.

For most of the day it seemed unlikely that the rain would stop in time for the scheduled Friday night carnival. Staff and campers thought that they might have to make the best of the weather that was sent their way. But less than an hour before show time, the clouds rolled back like the proverbial scroll and the sun came out for the first time all day! God sent perfect carnival weather; although the counselors in the dunk tank found it a bit chilly!

There are so many stories of God's working this week! Several counselors had accounts about campers who had bickered and fought early on finally coming around by the end of the week, and even performing little acts of kindness like tying one another's shoelaces. One cabin had four little girls receive salvation this week; they fully understood the Gospel and wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior! Overall, it's been a great week and we look forward to seeing these kids again next year!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week 5 – Up, Up, and Away! – Thurs

 The junior campers have been learning about how Jesus is their Good Shepherd, and how they can turn all their worries over to Him and let go of them.

After watching a skit in chapel this morning showing how the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep, our campers were able to participate in another activity illustrating how they can give their cares and concerns to Jesus!

Each camper wrote a worry that they were struggling with on an index card, and after the morning chapel, workers tied these cards to helium balloons and allowed the campers to release them. Every child watched their concerns float away and up (symbolically, of course) to their Savior who cares for them.  It was a beautiful sight and a great lesson!