For some people, it's hard to understand why we would pack our little family up and move for three weeks into a one room apartment (minus the kitchen) an hour and half away from where we live. And then watch our husband/daddy work his little buns off being a goofball and a song leader and a part of the amazing team of people who pull out all the stops to put on an awesome camp...over and over and over and over. And I can understand that. There are things about it that are hard. Well...mostly just the one room part. But, you will always catch me saying that it is one of our favorite times of the year. And this year was no different.
I knew it would be great, like always, but what I didn't anticipate this year was how much fun it would be to see our kids really start to get it. I mean, sure, there are plenty of reasons for them to love camp. It's a fantasy land for them! (well, let's be honest, it is for me to...no cooking, very little cleaning, nothing but time on my hands...dreamy!) They have dessert at every meal, the enraptured attention of every high school and college student there, a party every night, a swimming pool, a giant sand pit (er...volleyball court), and three times a day a group of crazies dressed up in costume come out and entertain them, one of them being their rock star dad. My kids are famous at camp by proxy. What's not to love?
But, what was neat this year was seeing them begin to understand why it is the way it is. Why all the fuss? One day I found Hope and Bella working at the welcome. They were welcoming kids to camp, giving high-fives to everyone as they got off the bus and then helping to carry all their luggage to their rooms. It was such a precious sight to see them serving kids and such a great opportunity to talk about how serving others shows them a little bit of who Jesus is, and how much these kids need to know Him.
During the first week of camp when kids got up on the last morning to share that they had decided to follow Jesus, Hope turned to me, wide eyed, and said, "Look at them all mom. All those kids are following Jesus?" I told her yes and she shook her head and said, "Wow!" After that, we decided to work on meeting a few kids each week and begin praying for them by name. It was so fun to watch her looking for those kids each week on that last day. Looking to see if they would get up and then catching my eye every time one did and pointing them out. It was so cool for them to see God working and to feel like they were a part of that.
I'm so grateful for this time. Grateful to be together, loving and being loved on by people we are only connected to through Christ, but who become like family for three weeks. Grateful that every year it reminds me to be awake to God's heart for the lost and his pursuit of us. And so grateful that my kids are experiencing the joy of watching someone else meet Jesus for the first time.
We came home with happy sighs of contentment. Happy to be back in this lovely place where God has called us, and happy to have spent three weeks in the mountains meeting new friends and watching him turn hearts made of stone into hearts made of flesh and full of Him. And, I'm not gonna lie, kinda happy we don't have to see Loren dressed up like a pirate again any time soon. Ava was especially happy for that. :)