It is 1:07am and it should not be the time to talk about camp but as my mind is nowhere close to shutting down, so now is the time for it all to find it’s way somewhat on to paper as God so beautifully ties things together and my memory is pathetic.
The simplest means of expressing what camp was for me this time is by contrasting it with the last one.
In comparison to the last Junior Camp I had the privilege of leading on this one unexpectedly wound up as a cross cultural experience. Along the lines of camp-prep I somehow missed the fact that there were 20-odd Students from a Korean School joining the usual very Aussie crowd.
Activities took double time due to lack of translators (a few but not enough) and interaction between both leaders and campers was a curious, difficult, hilarious and enlightening experience.
Not only was communication a basic issue, with it came simple ‘getting used to’ some of the ways they did things differently, which was probably more of an issue for some of the Australian campers.
Comforting a homesick/crying girl who cannot speak English is ten times worse than dealing with an English speaking crying girl (not my forte to start with).
Some highlights of mine lie in the fact that we did have to deal with the different culture and although it probably wasn’t quite the usual ‘grow in God’ camp that many campers are used to I think that it was a valuable experience and I have no doubt that God did and will effectively use the situation.
I will fondly (can I use that word without sounding really old?) remember how the study group I was a co-leader of got excited about how we shared that Koreans pray – out loud and simultaneously. They wanted to try it, and so we did and it was fantastic for them to do so. Admittedly I battled to concentrate but it got me thinking about inhibitions and how I did struggle with being vocal in that setting – how much we get all concerned about what others think of what we are saying when really we are simply talking to God and that is to whom it matters what gets said.
Another story that deserves a mention because it got me laughing (and I was told I had to put it on the blog) was when I was in the cabin after being at the pool – so I was walking around in bathers and boardies and one of the Korean girls gets all expressive with her hands and trying with all her might to find the English word she wants and eventually comes out with, “You look sexy”. I said thank you with the straightest face I could and got out of there before I cracked up laughing. How’s that!
As for the team, it could have just been the fact that it was the second time I’d met many of them but it felt much closer and better suited. Everyone pulled their weight and I was really impressed and encouraged to be among these people who had given their time and money to help out and still were consistently positive. We capped off the camp with a one night leader’s retreat at a house in Buxton, which I don’t think I would’ve missed for the world. It really made the week.
In terms of ‘crashing point’, which I’ve decided happens at least once when you’re leading, it came around the Day 2 mark, instead of Day 4 or 5 as it did last time. That’s the point where it everything just sucks, you’re over tired, frustrated, wanting away from kids, missing xyz (in this case Geoff and really it was weird, I don’t miss people at all really and I missed him quite a bit and it was a strange thing).
As for the contrast in what I learnt-what God showed me.
Last camp was relatively full on in that I can recall writing heaps down, taking time to go over some clear cut issues and finding some relatively evident direction. By the end of day one of this camp I was struggling to even work out what God would do. This didn’t change through camp.
The camp was full on (much more so) and there was so little time for self. And that was it. Self wasn’t part of the picture. Self needed some squashing for a period of time, brief but brutal and it was necessary and it did show me something. There was none of this self analysis thing, none of this ‘how does this person’s relationship and mine (friend/boyfriend/sibling) play out’ and how will I end up from doing xyz or getting this job or… It was a slab of forced almost selfless living (I cannot claim the total).
I want to extend a big thank you to Di this morning for what you spoke about. Initially you caught my attention by dropping a catechism (Something similar that’s bought other things to my attention lately) about the chief end of man being to glorify God and went on about worship and focusing on Him how it isn’t about achieving something. It’s daunting really that when/if we can truly come before Him then it’s very much not about self. Self dominates so wildly and recklessly in my life. Subtle ways sometimes but oh yes it’s there.
Sure there isn’t this flat denying of what we are, because God is also the creator but how much are we caught in our selfishness and inclinations in like directions.
I find it a much easier thing to be a Christian and a really good Christian when it’s just me and God and maybe me and God and someone close. But when you add more to that I start to flounder. It’s scary and I hadn’t realised it was such a strong thing. It’s easy to get comfortable. I’m really in many ways looking forward to God landing me somewhere this year where I can learn to express who I am and how much God is a part of that. It is my current ambition (and one that’s doomed to fail without Him) to work on exhibiting his glory (if you can pretend for a bit that exhibit is a less temporary word). Meaning really, that I take distinct second place, I’m effectively invisible. It’s big. It’s a bit weird but the more I read and discover about the glory of God, it’s I guess just something I want more and want to want more.
[…] The theme for Junior camp also came from this passage. I struggled somewhat in leading some of the studies/quiet times in working out how I could stress just how unimportant ‘earthly treasures’ are, particularly when friends and family were listed off. Explaining something so radically different to kids is somewhat difficult when in your own mind you have to explain it theologically. I don’t think I succeeded even remotely. None of this is easy. I don’t think it was meant to be easy. Following Jesus (which although the justice stuff all seems to tie in, is in fact of greater importance than the nuances of what you do and don’t give) isn’t easy. […]