i'm in the car with shaun on our way to north carolina to spend a week at carolina bible camp. it's my favorite place in the world & my favorite week of the year. when i tell people i'm going to camp, especially one 11 hours from where i live, i get a lot of odd looks! aren't i too old to still be going to camp? couldn't i go to one closer? well, in the traditional c.b.c. fashion, here is a top 10 list of reasons i still go to camp:
10. tie dye -- where else is it acceptable to have multi-colored hands from tie dye? and what would i do with all my stained t-shirts without it?
9. spades [the game] -- now that i live in the midwest, the home of euchre [or as i call it, pansy spades], i crave the afternoon & late night spades games with old friends.
8. air-conditioned cabins -- a must in north carolina july heat & humidity [at least in my book!]
7. top 10 lists -- our assistant director, the venerable geoffrey sikes, captures our hearts & minds at dinner every evening with one of his original top 10 lists. these are the stuff of legend, & i often mark different years of camp by a particular top 10.
6. teaching -- of all things, teaching is my favorite thing to do, especially when i get to teach teens. i learned how to teach at c.b.c. by having great teachers growing up & by being given the opportunity to teach starting 10 years ago by our dear friend & education director, jayson rawley. teaching at camp has been pivotal in my spiritual growth, in great part due to getting to partner with my sister, vanessa, an incredibly gifted teacher. i look forward to doing it again every year.
5. the singing -- from "arky, arky" led by our beloved chester rainwater to our annual late night all-girls singing. but the best is friday night singing. to me, it's the closest thing to heaven this side of eternity. it's my favorite night of every year.
4. mountaintop recharge -- while we can't live on the mountaintop, it is necessary that we periodically take time from every day life to unplug from the world & recharge with God. camp is one of those times for me each year. i come away with renewed sense of purpose, conviction, & zeal.
3. the people -- where to begin? our fun-loving director, dennis conner, who does a great ostrich impression, gathers an amazing staff every year. the regular staff have taught me, challenged me, & mentored me for the past seventeen years. they have poured themselves into my & others' lives in the hopes of helping us live for God with our everything. getting to work alongside them now is a privilege, & they continue to spur me on toward Christ.
2. the people -- i've grown up with several of my fellow staff. we were campers together. we know where each other has been; we've seen each other grow; we've been part of each others' growing. i get to see so many of my dearest & best friends in the world every year this week at camp. i love our late night talks & spades games, raiding the kitchen leftovers & laughing till we cry.
1. the people -- out of all my reasons for still going to camp, without contest, the number one reason is the campers. it is my passion to reach out to these teens. they need a safe place & safe people that let them ask questions -- hard ones, that wrestle through the answers & unknowns with them, that show them an example of choosing to follow Christ after high school, that show them it's okay & normal to be imperfect but that it's also possible to change & grow & conquer a particular struggle. others have dine this for me. i came to camp my first year a messed up, rebellious teen who had stopped believing in God. God used camp & the people here to break through my stone heart, to show me the beauty of the church when it works, to start me on a lifelong journey of serving Him. i am forever changed because of this camp, & i want to be an instrument to do the same good in others' lives. i want to pass on what was given to & done for me. my campers are so precious to me. i love spending time with them, learning from them, & seeing them grow over the years. they are the biggest & most important reason i come back every single year.
i'm at camp now, which means i'll be signing off from the online world for the next week. i would appreciate all prayers you can send Godward for us! may He use this week to do a mighty & transforming work in all of our lives!