Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cabin 12...YOU KNOW!

Hey all! This week seemed to flow by since the last time that I was able to update. Again, I'm sorry that it was so short! But the power cord is now found for my computer, but now I can't connect to the internet where I am! So I'm on someone else's computer, again. But, hopefully, this time, I'll be able to get out all my thoughts.

Wow, this past term has been incredible! I can't remember if I mentioned this in my last post or not, but I'm a counselor again! It's been tough and tiring at times, but so great! I'm a counselor for the oldest cabin---UNREAL DEAL! These girls are absolutely incredible! Being the oldest cabin, I have the two princesses in my cabin (one for the Kiowa tribe and one for the Kickapoo). These girls are elected by their tribe the year before to lead for the following summer. It has been so fun to watch them work together and lead. They are both so outgoing and fun and have definitely led with excellence. All of the girls are great. It's cool because they know that they are in the oldest cabin for a reason, and most of them take that responsibility and leadership and run with it. They bonded really well as a cabin early on, and we have been able to have some incredible conversations with them! I really wanted to challenge them this term, and I knew that they had the potential for it. Devotionals at night, where we get to sit down with them and learn more about God and life, have been so cool! For three nights, we just had a question and answer time where the girls could bring up anything that was on their heart and we, as counselors and the cook and kitchie that adopted my cabin, would do our best to answer their questions and go to the Word about it. It was so cool to wrestle through stuff with them! Sometimes I feel like I learn more myself or stuff starts to make more sense as I talk about it and try to teach it to them, which is pretty cool.

A few nights ago we had Cross Talk. This is always one of my favorite nights because it's a time that we all get to be reminded of the Gospel and the story of the cross. It's so cool to be able to pray for the girls and just sit in God's presence and grace. I was able to have such a cool conversation with one of my girls afterwards! We usually do "porch time" after Cross Talk instead of devos, and just give the girls a chance to come out and talk on the porch if they want. Usually, if they do want to talk, the girls come out with something specific on their heart. But, this time, I was so surprised! A sweet girl named Ashlyn, who just has such a genuine servant's heart, came out and sat down with me. When I asked her what was up, all she said was that she just wanted to learn more about God. I had never been presented with that before! I didn't know where to begin, but she was so great and so willing to just sit there and listen. Honestly, that conversation was all God. It was such a rush to be able to just tell her what I had been learning this past year and this summer, especially through my discipleship with Erin. It was so cool to be abel to watch the Holy Spirit at work. Our conversation was all over the place, but again, it was totally the Lord. I know that He is working in her heart and I can't wait to watch that throughout this year!

Unreal Deal definitely has it's perks! Two days ago, we got to go on trip with our brother cabin. This is just for the oldest cabins at each kamp and the kids absolutely LOVE IT! For trip this year, got to take a whole afternoon and go into Branson. Since the kids don't get candy or Cokes at kamp, except on special occasions, they LOAD them up with it while they're on trip. So, on the way into Branson, they each got a candy bar to start off the trip. First, we went roller skating and then we went to the party barn at K-1, where we had pizza and Cokes for dinner. The party barn is one of my favorite memories as a kamper. It has two huge barn swings over ball pits. It's so awesome! You just swing around and try to make it back up on the ledge before you fall into the balls. The girls had a great time and they got more candy on their way back.

Coming back to counselor was a little weird at first, especially since I didn't think that I was going to be coming back that early. It was tough at first being with a lot of new staff on the girls' side, but, as I've gotten to know them better, it's gotten better. Second session staff is just way different than the first. For some reason, they're just not as close as first half was. They are still all incredible people and counselors though and I've been encouraged by so many of them. The counselors in cabin 11 are absolutely hilarious and we've worked with them several times to have joint worship nights with out girls and other things.

When I was asked to come back as a counselor, I felt very honored. It's not very often that this kind of thing happens, and leadership has been so encouraging and edifying to me through it! Even people on guys' leadership have specifically encouraged me. It's so cool. That has never happened before! So I guess it just reminds me that they are looking out for me and are appreciative that I was willing to come back. It's been such a blessing to have them behind me. In the beginning of 5th term, right after I made the switch, our programs girl, Jerri, left kamp for four days and had to delegate out all her jobs. She put my friend, Kara, and I in charge of Round Up, the meeting that the kids go to before 1st period. At first, I didn't know how we were going to entertain 150 middle school girls for 15 minutes, but it has been a blast! Kara is so much fun to work with and it's been so cool to know that leadership trusts us with this.

When Kara and I were kampers at K-West, we had a mascot for the girls--DINGO THE FLAMINGO! So, we decided to bring him back! Back in the day, the boys used to steal him and it would become a war back and forth. So, at the beginning of the term, we asked some of the boys to steal him. It was great! Then we got him back, but then they stole him again---TWICE. Now, it's war! I wish I had time to tell all the details right now, but, basically, we have to get Dingo back today before this group of kids leaves, but we have NO IDEA where he is. It's been so much fun to see how everyone has gotten so into this. Kara and I have had an absolute blast!

It's been great getting to teach classes again and just be out in kamp! I definitely miss being with the girls in the kitchen all the time, but, thankfully, they have been so wonderful and have been sure to love on me and talk when we can. I can't believe that this summer is only two weeks from being over. It's been absolutely incredible! I would really appreciate your prayer in the area of strength and energy for now. I'm getting to the point where it is really hard for me to get out of bed and get enough time in the Word, but I need that SO BAD. And I need to continue to rely on God for the strength and energy to be intentional and fun with every girl that I meet. Thank you for all your continued letters, sweet postcards (thanks to the Smarts and Charity!), and encouragement. Y'all are great. And I can't wait to see you soon. I was able to put some pictures up on facebook, so check em out if want!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is not what I expected...

I know that it's been awhile since the last time that I updated. I haven't had time off since Kallie's wedding. And unfortunately, my time right now is short since my laptop is dead and I'm having to borrow a friend's.

Well, to start things off, the Lord's plans are so much greater than mine and way more than I could expect. As you know, as on July 7th, I moved into the kitchie cabin and began working in the kitchen. The ORIGINAL plan at the beginning of the summer was to be in the kitchen the rest of the summer, and I was excited for that. Then, on July 6th, a day before the big changeover, I was told, since there were a couple staff members that didn't show up, that I was going to switch back to being a counselor for the last two weeks of the summer (6th term), of course, I was excited about that as well!

So, off I go into the kitchen! At first, it was really weird not being with kids all the time and not being on the same schedule as the rest of kamp. We had to be in the kitchen around 7:30 to prepare for breakfast would usually finish things up after boys' and girls' meal around 10:30. Then, we would have a break in which we would have Bible study together or time with our accountability partner. Then is was back to the kitchen at noon to prepare for lunch! We usually finished again around 3:30 and were then free to do whatever until 6:00. That time was absolutely wonderful, but weird at the same time having so much freedom around kamp. We would go down to the dock, Aquaskip (you should check it out!) and just hammock around and relax.

So, time in the kitchen was wonderful and refreshing being with peers and just learning and growing together. And it was HARD WORK. It was so physically exhausting and often hard to always enjoy the time in the kitchen, but I made some incredible friends and made some great memories, as cheesy as it sounds. Overall, I'm so thankful that I had the chance to have that experience, but, then, SURPRISE! I got ashed to be a counselor again! So, here I am, counselor in the oldest cabin this term and the next oldest the next. It was crazy to think that they asked me to switch back, and kind of daunting, but leadership has been so encouraging and helpful through it all. My girls are great and I'm excited to get to challenge them more. Thankfully, they are here for two weeks and I'm so excited to get to have that much time with them!

Sadly, I just got told by Joe that I have to get off. Love you all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who knew that you could miss a couch this much??

Well, this weekend has officially been wonderful. On Friday, I left dear old K-West at noon for a 4-8 (kamp lingo for 2 days off). So I drove up to Springfield and then flew down to Abilene, TX. A friend from high school, Kallie, got married today and I'm so glad that I got to be here for it!! What a blessing! I had already missed 3 weddings this summer because of kamp and I didn't want to miss a 4th! So, thankfully, things worked out and i was able to come. Last night was the rehearsal dinner, which was so much fun! It was just cool to see people and hear the blessings that people gave them. I almost started crying when Amelia, her maid of honor and my best friend from high school, gave her speech. She did an awesome job! After the dinner, it was fun to just get to hang out and spend one more night with the girls. I actually ended up spending the night at Kallie's house, which was cool since it was her last night at home. She tried on her dress and made sure everything was good to go for the next day. She was so beautiful!

Today, Saturday, was so fun! We got up and went to the church in the morning and now I can see why weddings are so stressful! There's so much to be done! But so fun! It was cool to get to be a small part of it. Kallie asked my to play my djembe in one song, How Deep the Father's Love for Us, that we played as the family came in. I felt so honored! The whole wedding was basically a worship service!! Kallie and her now-husband, Lance, both have big Abilene families, but Kallie's extended family is particularly MASSIVE and SUPER TALENTED!! There were 3 separate performances by different members of her family during the wedding. It was so cool to see how family oriented they both are and how they really wanted to include that in their wedding. I had a blast playing in my first wedding! So fun! So, overall, it was a great wedding. The reception was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Unfortunately, no dancing, since it was an afternoon wedding, but Kallie and Lance were anxious to get out and head to Dallas to catch a plane to Lake Tahoe in the morning. And guess what friends?? I CAUGHT THE BOUQUET!!! haha....that's right. I'm next!! Umm...well, we'll see. I kind of have to find a guy first I guess. It was so crazy. I did not mean at all to catch it, but she threw it as they were driving off and everybody like leaned out of the way--they were so freaked out to catch it!! So, I guess my instinct just popped in. I didn't want the bouquet to hit the ground, and hey, if no one else was going to catch it, WHY NOT?!? I wish I could put some pictures up, but I'm not on my computer as I'm writing this.

So, anyway, to go with the title of the blog today, two days off is absolutely incredible and sitting on a couch is even better! It just hit me this summer that there are NO REAL COUCHES at kamp. I don't know why that's so weird to me, but I just love being in a real house and sitting on a couch. I literally have not been in a real house since May 21st when I left Nice and Popaw's house to come up to kamp. So it's been a sweet and refreshing weekend. I'm heading back early tomorrow morning, though. My flight is at 6:30 out of Abilene. I'm shooting to get back to K-West by noon, so we'll see if it happens!

As of July 7th, things have completely changed for me at kamp. That was staff changeover day. My stellar cos and most of the dear friends that I had made so far this summer had to leave : ( Not going to lie, it was a rough day. I cried at least 3 times randomly throughout the day. So my cos left, and I had to make an almost immediate switch from being a counselor that morning to moving into the kitchie cabin and helping serve out dinner that night. It was quite an emotional and draining day! Although I still do miss people A LOT, especially Kyle and Diana, I'm starting to adjust. I still fell like i don't know half of this new staff. My goal for this week, however, is to learn half of the girls names by Thursday. I don't know if I mentioned this yet or not, but I asked Erin Groth (who is on leadership at K-West and also heads up Waco K-Life) to disciple me this summer and hopefully into the year. We had our first meeting early Thursday morning and have decided to study the book of John together. She also challenged me to build relationships with the new counselors staff since SURPRISE--I get to go back to being a counselor for the last two weeks of the summer!!! HOORAAYYY!!! And I get to be with cabin 11, some of the oldest TWO weekers! Awesome! So unexpected, but such a blessing! Right now, as a kitchie, I have adopted cabin 12, the oldest cabin, or UNREAL DEAL, as my cabin. It's cool to go to their nightly devos and hang out with them and their counselors, Elea and Lydia. Elea is actually the one that I'm going to be switching with for the last two weeks so Lydia will be my co. She seems great!

But MAN, the kitchen is WORK! I've only been in there for a few days, but I'm already feeling it! There is a lot to think about and remember as we are still getting used to things and there are a TON of dishes to wash and mounds of pots and pans to scrub! We rotate jobs every meal, but each of them are equally fun and challenging at the same time. I actually kind of like scrubbing pots and serving stuff out. I also enjoy standing in the walk-in freezer or fridge for a few seconds when it gets really hot! I love the girls that I'm working with. Our boss is so great and I can already tell that we are going to be a great group! They really look out for me and love me. At first it was weird to make the switch because I kept feeling like I should be with kids, but it's been cool to have more time with people my own age and grow together as a little family. I can't wait to tell you more about it as we continue to spend time together! Right now, please just pray for energy and excitement for me and the other kitchies and cooks. The kitchen makes you a different kind of tired than being a counselor did, and I'm really struggling with that right now. Also just pray for the staff as things kind of start over with a new group and for continued health and safety. Also, I would love it if you would pray for my new discipleship journey with Erin! Thanks so much! I love you all and can't wait to see you and catch up. And hey Beth--I met Ashley Nicks when she came in! She told me she knew you! So fun!

Alright, well it's way late. I'm going to get some shut eye so I can be semi-rested when I head back to kamp.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th is hands-down my favorite day of the summer.

First of all, an explanation for the picture. This one is of my co, Kyle, and I, and two of our precious kampers haha. They were twins and an absolutely a RIOT! Miss them!
The other picture is of me and my three cos, Diana and Kyle, on western night. One of my favorites!
Then there's a picture of my sweet home away from home- CABIN 2! We're having a shaving party on the front porch :)

First of all, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE!!! Yay! So the 4th was incredible at kamp! It's just like a giant party all day. That morning, I had Austin's counselors wake him up a little early and we went out and played soccer together and just hung out. Even though I've gotten to see him a lot just around kamp, it was good to just spend some QUALITY time with him and just talk and catch up. So, of course, that started things off well. After I sent Austin back to his cabin, I ran back to the girls' cabins and my co, Kyle, and I got to help leadership set off firecrackers and smoke bombs to wake the girls up. Haha, it was so amazing! We then proceeded to sing patriotic songs at the top of our lungs and run into our cabin and wake up the girls.
So the day started off with a bang! And I love that everyone wears red, white, and blue all day! That afternoon, instead of having normal dinner, we had a HUGE picnic out in the fields. The kitchen worked so hard for us to have bratwurst and hotdogs, TONS of salad and fruit salad, chips, soda, and homemade apple pie and ice cream. Oh! It was so good! Then we all walked over to K-2 and met K-2 and K-7 for some more celebration! There was a surprise concert by Lecrae, Tedashii, and Flame (all really talented Christian rappers) and then some awesome fireworks!

I can't believe that I'm at the midpoint of my summer. Looking back it seems like so much has happened, but, at the same time, I'm sad to see this half end. Yesterday, staff for second session started to come in, and tomorrow after this group of kids leave, most of the first session staff will leave. Granted there are some of us that are staying all summer, but I'm going to be so sad to see people go, especially my cos! They are so incredible! I've truly been blessed! Diana is just such a rock. I love her knowledge of the Bible and her practical way of looking at life and grounding me when I pull myself into things too much. And Kyle is just a constant ball of energy! Honestly, I have no explanation of where her energy comes from except from the Lord. She wakes up with a smile on her face and goes to bad just as excited for the next day.

I can definitely tell that I need to be refreshed at this point. As of now, I'm sitting at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson with my parents. They are here to pick Austin up, and it's been such a blessing that I was able to take a 2-4 while they're here and just relax and rejuvenate. I really needed to see them. It's so good just to hang out. I'm sad that my time as a counselor is coming to an end. I've enjoyed it thoroughly and have just been blessed in so many ways! I'm excited to move to the kitchen on July 7th, too. I think it's going to stretch me and show the meaning of service more than I've ever known before. Well, I better go. It's time to head back to kamp. But this weekend I get to go to Kallie Milliorn's wedding in Abilene. So, if you're going to be in good 'ol A-Town, I'll see you soon!!!