Archive for July, 2006

WE HAVE ARRIVED!

We have officially arrived down here in Gulfport, Mississippi. We had fantastic travel the whole way through. The flights went well and we got into Birmingham safely. We met up with our luggage caravan at the airport and got a quick bite to eat before we made the 5 hour trek from Birmingham down to Gulfport. We pulled into the church where we will be staying, talked to the pastor’s wife for a bit and dropped some of our stuff off.

We loaded everyone back up in the vans and drove down to the main road that runs along the beach here. For awhile we drove down this street just taking in exactly how much damage there was and still is from the Hurricane. We saw entire blocks where houses were just washed away and all that remained was the concrete slab that was the foundation. Giant trees were leaning over, while still some others were completely uprooted. We stopped by what used to be a gated community with condominiums/apartments, something that would be equivalent to Main Street Villas/Apartments back home. The damage that we saw looking in from the front gate was horrific. All the students really began to fully grasp how drastically people’s lives were altered.

We spent a few minutes on the beach debriefing the day and really focusing in on why we’re down here and how we’re going to honor, serve and love each other as well as those that we are here to minister to. The team is ready! They are eager to serve and work hard! They are ready to love on the kids at VBS! It’s going to be a great week!

We’re turning in for the night, but we will be posting our activities regularly while we’re here. If you want to leave a comment for your student or the team as a whole, go ahead and we will try and read some encouraging notes from home!

-Johnny

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Gulfport, MS – It Just a Matter of Time

Just a few more hours and we’ll be on our way to Gulfport, MS. Yes!!!! The only thing you’ll be seeing on this site are updates…so stay tuned.

The van with all the luggage took off today. We hit a little bump in the road with the trailer lights. I now know more about trailer light adapters than I ever knew or wanted to know. Did you know it’s almost impossible to find a small five prong (pole) round adapter to fit into a flat four trailer plug. The six prong adapters were too large in diameter and the four prong adapters were perfect in diameter but, of course, didn’t line up with the five prongs. Who knew? (Never mind, someone probably does out there somewhere). No luck at Auto Zone, Pep Boys, Auto One, Wal-Mart, Meijers or U-Haul…ugh. The guy at U-Haul was awesome and saved the day, he rewired the thing in 15 minutes and they were on their way.

A side note about the team. They’re awesome. They all seem to get alongs so well. It’s going to be amazing! Pray we have eyes to see and ears to hear what Jesus wants to do in us and through us. I know a lot of friendships are going to be formed in the team this week as well. Pray that they are friendships that will last…that our students will have someone to love and serve Jesus alongside them for a long time. More later.

Box Score for Camp Adventure 2006

22 Accepted Jesus into his/her heart for the first time.
160 Recommitted his/her life to Jesus.
4 Learned a lot, but haven’t made a decision to follow Jesus yet.
8 Had an amazing time.
2 Not present at commitment night due to a baseball game (ugh!!)
___
196 Students Total

I’m grateful for many things at camp this year.
1. We go to a church where the gospel is presented very clearly a number of times a year. Way back in the day you would have seen a higher number of students who accepted Jesus into his/her heart for the first time at camp and a lower number of recommitments. I love the progress we’ve made in recent years to be very intentional about leading people to Christ and helping them to remember exactly when by marking the moment through the bridge, rocks at the cross, signing their name on the last supper pic, etc.
2. Being led by an amazing senior pastor…seriously, his wisdom…words cannot express. He’s been directing Camp Adventure for nearly four decades…yes, you read that right, decades. The fact that he’s passing the baton off to the three of us – Corey, John and I – is a privilege and honors that, once again, words cannot express.
3. Rockin’ both weeks with the Mann and Keimster. I am grateful. My prayer is that our stance on top of the blob tower (forming a triangle, having each others back) be not only a symbol of today, but things to come.
4. The week with Rob, who infused his passion in me for Jesus years ago. I owe you a lot brother. I am who I am today because of your faith in me over a decade ago. Thanks for being a Joshua.

I’m Comfortable in My Skin

I’ve been thinking through some things lately, so this blog is more for me than for you.

I continually want to take my “next step”. I want to grow wiser, get better and all that good stuff. I don’t know if it’s age (I’m very close to being yet another year older) or what, but for perhaps the first time in my life, I’m rejoicing about who I’ve become. Instead of wishing this or that, I’m content with who I am. Maybe it will last for a moment, maybe for a day, hopefully, forever.

One area I’m content in is my leadership. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a lot of growing to do and a lot of insecurities to get over, I’m not arrogant or naive enough to believe otherwise. I could give you a list of my weaknesses, but would rather not. However, here are five areas where I’ve discovered who I am and where I land, despite whether others around me agree is correct thinking in regard to leadership.

1. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. I have this theory that leaving a room as good if not better than you got it is just plain the right thing to do. After the kids are gone, I still help clean up until the job is done and the lights are turned off. Granted I have a team that helps make it a whole lot faster, but I think there is something in them seeing me flush toilets, clean tables and take out the trash. Some would say that me vacuuming is not a good use of my time and, if I did a whole lot of it, I would agree with them. However, a few minutes here and there, keeps me grounded, keeps me humble and reminds me of how I got to where I am today. I like that about myself.

2. Some would say that all of your time and attention should go to the leaders of leaders, to which I agree…kinda. While I try to focus on the leaders of leaders the most, I ensure that those behind the scenes, who may not feel like they matter as much as the high profile person, get my prayers and attention too. I try to be very intentional about telling them how grateful I am and how much what they’re doing matters – that what they do does not go unnoticed. I like that about myself.

3. I’m conservative, but not oblivious to what’s going on around me. Someone once told me that I don’t see what’s next, but what’s five years up the road. I see how one decision will lead into the next and where that will take me or someone if we venture down that road. I could go into a thousand different ways on how that affects my decision making, but I won’t. However, I will say that it’s prevented a lot of train wrecks from happening in my life and I like that about myself.

4. I’m loyal to the core. Sometimes what people who matter most to me do drives me absolutely insane, to the point where I feel like throwing in the towel on the relationship. However, I’ve watched people throw in the towel and have realized that once you throw in the towel the first time, it’s easier to do it the next…so I just refuse and I like that about myself.

5. One of my areas of giftedness is in discernment and problem solving. I see things in body language and hear things in voice tones that others don’t. This lends itself to being a good problem solver and the one people look to when “issues” arise. Someone recently told me “Judy, you’re good at that. It’s shaped based stuff.” My first thought was, “I don’t think I want that shape, often times it’s not very fun.” Upon further thought, despite how draining it can be, I’ve decided I like that about myself…at least for the moment.

This is not meant to be an ego stroke kind of blog. I’m not sure where I’ve landed is even right, but it’s who I am…and I’m ok with that.

Put the Razor Away

Lesson 4: Remind counselors to keep their razors in their bag.

While one of our guy counselors was in the bathroom, one his campers decided to “borrow” his razor and give himself a reverse mohawk. I was dreading that call to the mom. Gratefully, she was amazing and said that she totally understood…that her son was always five steps ahead of her and that she was more concerned with whether he had connected with anyone (which he totally had). After some evening out, his cut looked normal…well almost.

Celebrate the Victories

Lesson 3: I can do a thousands things right and one thing wrong and, you guessed it, I park on the thing I did wrong (or the things I could of done better). I’ve decided not to do that anymore…or at least try not to. It sucks the life right out of you. It makes things not fun!

Don’t get me wrong, you need to evalute yourself in regard to what went well, what can be improved upon and where “you blew it”. That’s not the point. The problem is parking on the “you blew it”, even when it’s few and far between.

The other thing I noticed is that people have a tendancy to help you park on the “you blew it” moments. People are too quick, in church and life, to remind you of the “you blew it” moments and not remind you of the “you knocked it out of the park” moments. Why is that? Insecurities in themselves, we’re an ungrateful people, that really is what we remember…whatever it is, we need to reprogram our minds.

It was worth it!

Lesson 2: Do Whatever It Takes

Two girls at camp were homesick last week (actually only one, the other one was just being sucked into it). There were many extenuating circumstances that I can’t go into that required excessive amounts of TLC. I knew if I could keep them through Tuesday night, everthing would probably be ok. So I worked it…big time! I stayed in contact with the moms and they worked it…big time! At one low point, I wondered whether it was all worth it. There were 122 students at camp and these two, while they were amazing, were consuming enormous amounts of my time just to keep them there. The answer to whether it was all worth it came Wednesday night at Commitment Night when the two girls rasied their hands when asked “who accepted Jesus into their heart tonight”. These weren’t “recommitments” but “first time commitments”. The next morning when I heard one of the girls say it out loud to her mom, it truly blessed my heart. I was glad I stuck with it. I was glad I had the opportunity to witness it. I loved it and I love them. They’re pretty amazing girls that have seen and been through more than middle school students should ever see or go through. Satan truly is battling for the hearts and minds of our kids. You can’t have ’em dude!