Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lightseekers 2009 Epilogue

Now that we are all home, the suitcases unpacked, the dirt and grime washed off, and the bug bites attended to with calamine lotion, I would like to wrap up this years camp with some final words. Our guest blogger, Kristen may have expressed the overall camp experience much better than I could, but I would like to leave with what Arol shared in our last time together Friday morning.

He explained that when God first created the man, He breathed His Spirit (Ruach in Hebrew)into Adam and faith worked. Sin entered when Adam and Eve ate the fruit and man faith and work were separated - man tried to reach God, not by faith, but by doing good works to try to make God (or gods) happy. That didn't work and Jesus had to come and die on the cross. After Jesus rose from the dead, He sent His Spirit (Nooma -Greek for Spirit or breath) to live inside His followers. Faith now can work again in our lives, but some believers are tempted to again separate faith and its working. They think that once they are a new creation in Christ Jesus, they can abandon the works that God is calling them to do -they don't cooperate in becoming God's Art Project (His Workmanship)

Arol told the campers that the way to make your faith work for those who have trusted in Jesus is to:
1. Read your Bible
2. Meet your team (of Christian friends) at church
3. Share God's love with everyone starting with your family

He left them with these words of wisdom from Proverbs 3:5-6 (New International Version)
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Until next year, follow what we learned this week and WISE UP!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Last Night

I truly wish that you parents could've been at tonight's chapel to hear Arol speak and see the awesome impact his words had on the campers. As Arol so magnificently illustrated with spray paint and paper, he explained how God created this beautiful planet and all the wonderful things on it. He shared how the sin of Adam brought death and destruction to our world and created inside us all a God-shaped hole that people try to fill with things that only disappoint us. He shared how Jesus entered into his creation by becoming a human being. Through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross, we can fill that hole and receive eternal life.

Seeing the numbers of children responding to that simple message reminds me (and the other leaders) of why we give up a week of our time - setting aside work, school and family responsibilities in order to spend time impacting these precious souls for Christ. Ask your kids about any decisions that were made at camp this week.
I'm really tired so you will hear more later.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I'm Super Duper Sad Tonight.

warning. this post may cause you to get up from your spot at the computer and immediately hug your children.

(Thursday night, 9:34pm...)
I have to say that I am sitting in what we like to call "Ann's Cybercafe" which is basically the porch by the dining area that seems to get a bit of internet access, and I am just sad...because it's our last night of camp!!! This is my third year of Lightseekers and although I've missed the past few years, the memories all came flooding back when I stepped out of my car this last Sunday afternoon. I have had the awesome privilege of being on the Lightseekers worship team for the third time and there is just NOTHING LIKE IT!!!!!

(Attempting to finish the blog post...Friday night 8pm!)
I don't even know where to begin. There is just something so special about seeing the light go on in a child's eyes for the first time when they realize that singing is more than just a sound, that the worship time at camp is not about sitting still and being quiet or blindly following the lead of those around you, when they realize that they are singing to THE ONE TRUE GOD and that their voices are actually being heard by the Creator of the Universe. All of a sudden, shy kids are singing as loud as they can. The child that came in burdened with trouble at home and at school is jumping up and down singing of God's faithfulness. And yes, the resident "class clown" is actually NOT making a joke, but singing with a seriousness that was not there before. This is what brings me to tears up there on stage...and yet of course I would look silly crying while the kids are singing and jumping up and down so I squelch it, and I have to try and finish singing all the songs with a huge lump in my throat!

These are your kids. Your kids who are at times disrespectful, irresponsible, or dishonest. But they are learning, learning to be helpful, and kind, and forgiving, and bold, and to make the right choices in a sea of temptation and in a world where they are sometimes written off as being "just a kid". And you know what? I'm 32, definitely not a kid anymore. I've been married for 4 years, and we have a 2 1/2 year old son, but sometimes I too am disrespectful, irresponsible, or dishonest, just like them, just like all of us.

That is what I feel that I take away from my experience at Lightseekers every year. I may be able to drive a car or apply for a loan, but I am just a CHILD OF GOD, just like each camper here. We all fall down, and Jesus helps us back up again. Some of us just have few more years of experience with the falling down part :)

I'll end with saying once again...YOUR KIDS ARE AWESOME!!! I mean why else would I pay for 2 plane tickets from Hawaii and brave 2 weeks alone on the road with my rambunctious toddler than to hang out and worship the Lord with almost 200 kids who love the Lord? And you might ask, what about the Lightseekers staff? Oh, don't even get me started on how awesome they all are. There is not a better group of "grownup kids" to love and teach your campers, teaching them the truth of Scripture but always in a loving way. Just all around fantastic human beings! I struggle to walk past most of them without hugging them every single time...except for Mary who I actually do hug everytime :)

What a great God we serve!

Reflections from Miss Karla

Wow...God is good! You know this is the highlight of my summer....leading your children in singing praises and thanks to our God. Of course enjoing the company of children and bringing my own little one really made me focus on what it is that I wanted the children to experience through song and scripture. I looked for songs that connected scripture to music so that when children are face with difficult choices God's word (which they can remember through song) can help them make a decision that pleases Him. We've sung songs that talk about putting on the armor of God to be ready to deflect the devil's weapons, John 3:16 reminds us of God's love, Tossed To and Fro tells us that we're no longer babies tossed to and fro by lies of the world, and "Whatever" (Col. 3:17) reminds us that whatever we do, do it in the name of the Lord. It's such a blessing to hear children singing scripture as they are walking to the pool, dinner hall or even the bathroom!!! God is good and we will continue to sing about it!!!

A Note to Parents

From the emails we've seen, a lot of you parents have been wondering why your child hasn't called you from camp. Let me explain. The camp we are at is a very wonderful facility, but cell phone reception is nearly non-existant in the main camp area (I had to hike up to an area where the staff live to get 2 bars at most). Second, the pay phones are very expensive and are often out of order. There have been times before we discouraged payphone use that when campers have had unsupervised phone access, prank calls to 911 have followed. Third, we have learned that frequent phone calls home often increase feelings of homesickness and separation anxiety; while your children may not be homesick themselves, a line forming in front of the pay phone can induce the ones that are to call and ask to go home. We know that you are missing your child too and sometimes they can hear that in your voice. All these reasons are why we encourage email back and forth. So if you want to hear back from your child, send them an email and request that they write you an email. More later from guest bloggers.

Day 3 Wise Up! The Hard Choices Finish The Art Project

The hard choices do what? Well, this was a phrase that Arol taught the children tonight in chapel and I must confess that I didn't quite understand what this had to do with Proverbs since I missed the first part of his message due to the fact I had gone to another part of the camp to find cell service in order to catch my Managerial Accounting class lecture. As he later explained though, God wants us to make the right choices as we follow Jesus, the Way, Truth and Life and yet things get in the way that keep us from doing that. The bad choices can cause us to struggle with what the world and Satan try to label us like you're a liar, you're a thief, you're mean, etc. The truth is that when we are saved by Jesus we are no longer these things, but God's very own child -the child that He is shaping into His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) or "Art Project" through leading as they make the difficult choices to obey their parents, to be truthful, to be kind, to follow Him no matter how inconvenient
More tomorrow

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 3 - Wise Up!

We have reached the halfway point of camp and other than a few tired bodies, no one's the worse for wear. Right now I'm watching a bunch of kids spinning round and round on the camp playground while others are taking turns going down the slide. To my right, a group of campers is trying their hand at watercolor painting - what a bunch of artists!
Pastor Bob was our morning chapel speaker and he told us how Jesus can be our Life Saver if we allow Him to be. Miss Janet also told us about our three remaining World Vision kids -one from Indonesia, one from Rwanda and one from the Philippines. We also announced that we had collected over $400 in our mission offering for them. Praise God!
Tonight with Arol speaking, Carol continuing her missionary story about John Paton and Karla leading worship we will have even more fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 2 -Wise Up! Part 2

The campers have drifted off to sleep by now and Oak Glen Christian Conference Center is quiet except for the sound of crickets and our teenage "grunts" (they are our workers who help around camp as needed) playing board games in the Design Team headquarters. Soon I will go up to bed too, exhausted from a very full day but not before uploading pics and blogging. It was an extremely fun day, but also one in which Christ was proclaimed and lives were changed - two campers shared earlier this evening how they had asked Jesus to be their Savior this very day. We had another evening with Arol speaking from Proverbs about making wise choices, particularly in whom we choose as friends. Without going into all the fingers of his hand illustration, Arol challenged the campers to choose as our closests friends, those are fellow followers of Christ -friends who can pray for you and help you grow as a Christian. It's not that we should avoid people who don't follow Jesus -He hung out with people that others called "bad", but we need to not listen to those who would encourage us to make foolish choices that would lead us away from God.
Now I must choose to go to bed, it's late and tomorrow is another busy day. More then.

Day 2 -Wise Up!

We began anew bright and early this morning with the camp picture at 7:30 am, followed by an excellent breakfast of scrambled eggs, French toast with strawberries and whipped cream. Right after, we headed over to chapel where Miss Karla taught us some new praise songs. Afterwards Miss Janet introduced our first two World Vision kids we support including our new child, Dmitri from Romania. Then Miss Mary told us how we can be part of God's forever family when make the wise choice to ask Jesus to be our Savior. Later in our Walk The Talk times, the biblical concept of making wise choices in our lives (Proverbs 1:5) was re-enforced with practical teaching examples.
Right now, I'm listening to the happy shouts of children splashing in the pool. "Look at me, watch me," they shout to their leaders as they cannonball off the diving board under the ever-watchful eyes of the lifeguards.
Tonight we'll hear more from King Solomon's wisdom found in the book of Proverbs as Arol teaches us. He really wants them to "wise up" and has them bring their Bible, notebook and pen so they can remember these important words of life.

More later tonight. Check out the pics on the Flickr badge below.

Monday, July 27, 2009

They're Here!

Yes, they are. All the campers arrived safe and sound. They've had a chance to explore the camp, eat corn dogs for lunch and experience our first chapel. Chapel was an awesome time getting acquainted with one another and learning the camp rules. For all our first timers at Lightseekers, they had the opportunity to be led in worship by Miss Karla and her band. There were new songs to learn as well as old favorites for the Lightseeker veterans. They also met our speaker Arol. This week is going to be great. Right now the kids are vacating the pool as dinner starts in a half hour. I'll post more later. Some pics are up on the Flickr for you to check out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Camp Day Zero

Tomorrow morning Lightseekers Camp for 2009 begins for approximately 200 campers and leaders. Some of us are already here at Oak Glen, preparing for an exciting week of adventure and spiritual challenge. When the campers arrive, they will only see some of the work that has gone in these past 11 months to put this camp together -the spiritual preparation though goes largely unseen. As Nancy our camp dean mentioned at dinner tonight, this camp has been bathed in prayer for weeks. God is going to do a work in the lives of these children, so join us in praying for them to listen attentitively as He speaks to them. More postings tomorrow.