Friday, August 3, 2007

Lightseekers Camp Epilogue

So now we have left Oak Glen and returned to our respective homes. Hopefully, our young campers have had a chance to wash off the dirt collected during the week by now (sorry parents a lot of them didn't want to bathe very much, the "cleaner" ones were the ones who visited the pool daily. One parent told me that kids are somewhat like cats -they are afraid of bath/shower water). More important than becoming clean on the outside, we pray that this week has refreshed and cleansed the souls of all our campers.

In our final time together, Karla closed our worship by leading us all in the songs that the kids loved to sing the most. We collected our final mission offering and collected over $2700 this week, more than enough to support all 5 of our World Vision children for an entire year, plus provide special gifts to them. Finally, Jeff gave us as a send off Paul's benediction from Ephesians 3

"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright ©1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

It is the goal of our Lightseekers Camp to have each camper know "how wide, how long, how high and how deep" God's love is, not just the week we have them, but for the other 51 weeks and beyond. We live in different cities -Torrance, Bakersfield, Alhambra, Covina, West Covina, Montclair, Pasadena, Corona, and Gardena so may not see one another for a while. Until we meet for camp again, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith " as our camp theme verse, Hebrews 12:2 reminds us.

P.S. Keep checking for additional uploads of photos (there were about 2000 taken) and for occasional updates as we prepare for next year. A DVD with the photos will be mailed to each of the churches once I finish burning the discs.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

God is Awesome

I titled this post "God is Awesome" because, as usual, He does many wonderful things on our last night of camp. We thank Him for:
1. No one was injured or became really sick this week beyond the usual scrapes and bruises or minor upset stomachs.
2. Carol was able to finish the missionary story about Von Riddle by reading from this dear lady's own words about what a privilege it was to share God's love with the Congolese people. She and some of our campers modeled clothes that had been obtained when some of them visited the Congo recently on a mission trip. Also modeling was Von's granddaughter and great granddaughter.
3. Our camp dean, Jim Condon, shared with campers about Jesus being the bridge to heaven and invited campers to give their lives to Christ for the first time or to rededicate their lives to Him if they felt they were not following Him the way they should. One of our Counselors-In-Training had already shared earlier in the evening that he had felt convicted by the previous night's message. He confessed to us that he did not feel his walk with God was right and so had decided to give Jesus control of his life anew. Jim says many campers raised their hands to indicate a decision and about 35 stayed behind to talk with a counselor.

As the students left quietly for their evening snack, I am reminded that we still have one more time in chapel -one more time for God to speak to them in the camp environment. Even as they go home tomorrow, Satan will try to discourage these campers from staying true to Christ. We need to remind our children that Jesus Our Hero can help them in their Christian journey.

Stay tuned for more posting tomorrow when I get back to fast DSL and am able to upload more pics for you...

Day Four -Heading Into The Home Stretch

As we awakened this morning, we realized that today is our last full day of camp. As I sit here blogging, I hear the sounds of children laughing and squealing in delight as they play during rec time. Chapel finished about an hour ago -it began with the most active worship set yet (where do they get so much wiggle and energy?) But then they sat in rapt attention as Miss Janet shared about our World Vision Children -today was Enkelada from Albania and Emmanuel from Rwanda (our other children are Sneh from the Phillipines, Luis Antonio from Mexico, Nowinda from Indonesia). Our children have been so generous in their mission offerings, that so far, we have raised enough to provide a whole year's support for 4 of the 5 children (we still have at least one more offering to take).

Our speaker, Jeff spoke on how we are tempted to be self-focused, just as Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with an offer to let Jesus rule the world if He would worship him. Instead, Jesus knew His mission was to die on the cross so that we can know God and make Him known to the world. God gives us the superpower to have a God-focused vision that helps us overcome our desire to be me-focused. Jeff left the campers with the question: who is the leader of your life, Jesus or self/Satan? Satan of course, wants us to focus on ourselves because it turns our eyes off God.

More later....

I have posted more pics on flickr.... also please pray for chapel tonight, we will be inviting children to make decisions for Christ. Some of these will be for salvation, but some will be rededicating their lives or stepping up to live for Jesus in a deeper way.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

End of Day Three

We have used a lot of energy getting to this point in the week. I know the kids seem like they have unlimited supply in reserve, but the older crowd is having to rely on God's supernatural endurance. From wall climbing to dodge ball in the gym, spending the afternoon in the pool to keeping up with children bouncing from place to place, it's then that we need God's strength the most. We gained some energy through dinner, pineapple ham, mac and cheese, and of course...a quality salad bar, and don't forget the brownie!!
From dinner we moved into the chapel. There we started off with our camp theme song as we start every chapel, then into our lively worship songs (songs that require our bodies to MOVE) Then we learned of our missions offering totals so far....over $1600 collected over VBS and Camp to support our 5 World Vision children in places all over the world. Carol continued her mission story of the life of Von Riddle, "Mama Riddle", missionary to the Congo. Tonight she told us how her daughter fell in the river and had to be rescued by Mama from the poisionous snakes and crocodiles. It was God who gave her the strength to lift her daughter out of the river unharmed. We'll find out more tomorrow. Boy, she really leaves us hanging.
Our chapel speaker, Brian Wang, shared about his hero, his dad. Unfortunately, even thought he was a very good hero, failed him at times. Brian also shared what it was like loosing his hero to cancer when he was 13. He also talked about why Jesus is worthy to be our hero today, because: 1.He rescued us 2.He showed us the way 3.He is with us. Lastly, we ended our time in chapel with reflective worship songs.
What an amazing day....we will fill you in on tomorrow's adventures...

Camp Day Three

So here we are again at freetime blogging on our morning events. God has been so good to us this week here at Oak Glen; I know He is changing the lives of children this week. Be sure to ask your kids when they get back about what they learned or what decision they made this week. At first they may only talk about the fun activities but with the insight you can glean from these postings, you may be able to ask them how Jesus is their hero.

Today's theme was Jesus Calms Our Fears and Gives Us Courage; the theme verse was Mark 6:50b. Jeff talked about how we are faced with the following temptation: Not trusting that God and His plan are good. God gives us the superpower of Trusting in God (“God-sense”).

We also took our camp picture this morning which you can see posted here. I would post more pictures on flickr but our internet connect is really slow and flaky. If I can get some good uploading time, you'll see more....

A note from Karla....

Hello all! I've been given the great privilege to lead your children in worship. We have learned that worship is saying "thank you" to God for His goodness. We have sung songs that remind us He is faithful, strong, our best friend, so good to us....and of course, Our Superhero!!! We have also learned to memorize scripture through songs....Ephesians 4:14-15, John 3:16, Matthew 19:30, and Psalms 106:1. I catch the kids humming and singing these songs throughout the day. It's amazing!

I have a story to share about how I found our camp song, "Superhero." (Which goes with our theme this year, Jesus My Hero) When I was in India this summer on a short term mission trip, I was teaching at a school that hosted an orphanage. When we had free time, I would teach the girls a couple songs that I knew. Well, when it was their turn to teach me a song, the 17 girls from the orphanage started to sing this song. The words of the song were...."Jesus, you're my Superhero, you're my star my best friend!" I said WOW! I'm headed to camp in a few weeks without a camp song! I knew that must have been from God. So...when I got home a few weeks later I typed the lyrics I could remember in a search engine and found the CD with the song!!! Little did I know that it would be a hit! I shared this story with the camp and they were amazed that God was thinking about them in India! I get goosebumps thinking about how God works! encouraged that God had plans for your children way before they got here!!!

I look forward to worshiping and saying "thank you" to God with your children the rest of the week!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

End Of Day Two

Today's Theme was "Jesus Gave His Life to Free Me" and our memory verse was Romans 5:8.
The leaders in the Walk The Talks shared how Jesus paid the debt of our sins in full, a debt we could never pay, no matter how much money we had. The teachers illustrated this by listing a bunch of sins and allowing the campers to "assess" what they thought the value of those sins was. When all the sins were added up, it show a debt valued in millions. The teachers showed a check signed by Jesus, paying it in full.

Freetime was filled with numerous activities -crafts, swimming, wall climbing, basketball, dodgeball, ping pong, minature golf, and of course, squirt guns. One child remarked that the day went by so fast because there was so much to do.

In chapel tonight, the campers enthusiastically raised their voices in worship led by Karla. The icebreaker game was a scanvenger hunt by church, each group had to produce a list of items in their possession - a picture of mom (how many of you moms actually sent that photo with your camper?), chapstick, 57 cents, a superball for examples. I thought it was funny when the students came by the sound equipment table asking for a paperclip (alas, I had none). Carol Wilcox began her exciting missionary story about the life of Von Riddle, ABC missionary for 40 years in the Congo. She had to travel by boat to get there eventhough she was very afraid of boat travel. Yet, every time she felt afraid, she prayed. We will hear more of that tomorrow night.

Mary Winchell was our speaker tonight and she talked about her childhood hero, Mary Poppins. She told us that she wanted fly like Mary Poppins, but her only attempt at flying with an umbrella was unsuccessful (read: disaster). Later, as a young adult she discovered her real hero, Jesus because He is actually perfect in every way, not just "practically perfect" like Mary Poppins.

After chapel, the campers received their camp t-shirts and were sent to their cabins for devotions and "sleep".

Camp Day Two

Here's what has been happening today:
After a night of restful sleep, we were awakened just in time to get ready for breakfast (pancakes AND French toast with strawberries). Once we had finished, we went over to chapel to sing songs about God, and to listen to our speaker teach on Matthew 4:3,4. We learned that Jesus was able to resist Satan's temptations by using God's Word and that he has left us with the superpower of God's Word so that we can live by it too. He encouraged us to get a Bible that was easy to understand and read, to read it and to memorize verses.
When chapel was over we broke into our unit groups and each unit went off for a fun activity; one group went to the pool, another to crafts and a third played outdoor games (ask your kids about the pipeworks game as well as the Alka Seltzer game).
We had burritos for lunch and then went to "walk the talk", our time when we get a practical application to go with our lesson. Right now, the kids are taking a nap in "cabin kickback" before they get into their adventure groups for free time. I'll post tonight with more....

P.S. If you click on flickr, you can even make picture comments (nice ones please!)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lightseekers Camp Day One Continued

Well, all the children arrived here safe and sound -the earliest arrived at 9:30 am while the last group rolled in around 11am. The campers were then sent on a "treasure hunt" to find some Biblical heroes and become acquainted with the facility. The final destination was the dining hall, just in time for lunch. Lunch was individual mini-pizzas and salad bar with cookie for dessert. After lunch, we had our first chapel. Karla led us in worship songs and Jeff Jamba, our speaker, introduced us to our theme for the week -Jesus, My Hero. We also played some games to get to know each other. Later that afternoon, Pastor Bob Neill led the campers in our Hero Challenge games in the gym (you can see some of the pics from that and the day's events in the flickr badge on the left).
For dinner, we had wonderful roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables, salad, and a chocolate eclair. (in case you haven't guessed it, this place has really good camp food).
Immediately after dinner, we headed back to chapel for more worship and finally our camp movie night. I'm typing this while they are watching the movie Happy Feet. When this is over, they will head off for cabin devotions and bed.

All in all, a fun filled and adventure packed day.

Camp Day One

The Design Team and our Youth Helpers arrived at Oak Glen last night to begin preparing for our campers. After a lovely dinner at Law's Coffee Shop in town, we began setting up for chapel while a group went to the store to get some special supplies. Right now our helpers are setting up signs that direct the campers to locations throughout the facility. We expect the first busload of them within the next two hours.

I will blog more when they get here.
Please spread the word about this site to other parents.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lightseekers Camp

This blog was created because our regular website is broken.
I will try to blog daily so that parents will be able to see what their kids are doing throughout the week. Hopefully,we will be able to link to some pictures using flickr.

If you'd like to send us an email, try