It’s Worth the Drive ~ a Kahquah Road Trip

How far would you drive for a great family vacation to spend it with people you love?  Would you pack up your RV and drive across the middle of this great, big country?

We have a family here who’s done just that.

This week, dear friends of Frank ~ our director ~ have spent two weeks on the road getting here to spend a week camping in rural Northern Ontario.  Frank’s friends Otto and Jamie, along with their two kids Sydney (5) and Benjamin (3) made the trek.  Jamie drove across the country with the kids while Otto flew out and was picked up in North Bay on Friday.  They’re here to reconnect, relax, and enjoy the sights our country has to offer.  They’ll all drive back together.

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This just goes to show that family definitely can run deeper than blood, just like I mentioned when I shared the 5-Generation-Mater story.  You can be with people who are such close friends that you consider them family, and even when you don’t see them that often, it’s like you were never apart.

In fact, we here at Kahquah have Otto to thank for having Frank as our director at all.  Frank credits his jump into Christian Camp ministry to God of course, but also to Otto, who asked Frank to go guest-teach for the CREW program at Camp Chestermere just outside of Calgary 23 years ago.  Jamie was the office manager at Chestermere for 10 years while Frank served as director there, and now even though they’re in very different places in life, they’re still good friends.

On Saturday after dinner, before the deluge of rain that was forecast for Sunday and into today, we took Otto and Jamie and the kids on a pontoon boat sunset cruise into Magnetawan for ice cream at the Snack Shack — a quintessential Magnetawan activity.  We walked out onto the lock and taught Sydney and Benjamin how a lock works (whether they understand or not being a different question, but they seemed interested).

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Frank also gets to enjoy “Grandpa moments” for the week, even though he has no grandkids of his own yet, as he got to walk hand in hand down the streets of Downtown Magnetawan with Benjamin and Sydney, and this morning Benjamin coloured a picture and gave it to him.

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Family isn’t just reserved for blood relations.  Some family you get to choose.  How far would you drive to spend time with dear friends?

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In the name of the Father

Today was a glorious day.  I know yesterday I talked about how Nate talked about our over-use of the word awesome.  I’m guilty.  I’m also guilty of over-using the word glorious.  But I mean that in every sense of it today.  Today was glorious.  The weather was delightful.  The breeze ok wind… was really nice because for the most part it was a warm wind.  The fellowship was lovely.  I got to see old friends from back in my Wainfleet days!  My heart was warmed to no end.  And, to finish it off, we got to witness two kids declare their allegiance with Christ, two of our staff boys, when they entered the waters of baptism in the lake behind this stunning, exquisite backdrop of a sky, followed by a well-timed rainbow after it rained for a whole 37.5 seconds (I didn’t time it, it was just REALLY short, and just enough to give us a rainbow).  It all ended with a dazzling, radiant, resplendent sunset where I couldn’t help but whisper “thank You Lord” as I stood and watched the sun drop into the trees.

Also – fair warning – as with last Friday night, I don’t have to publish a newsletter which means this doesn’t have to fit on one page – you’ve been warned.

This morning, Nate talked about leaving mountain-top experiences and coming back to real life.  He talked about Jesus and His Disciples at the Mount of Transfiguration and how they just wanted to stay there because they were in such close communication and relationship with God, and they knew that when they left, there would be things to deal with that would distract them and split their focus, taking away that surge of energy we get when we’ve really tapped into God’s Power Source.  In fact, they were right to be concerned with what would happen as they came down, because they came down from the Mount of Transfiguration to face a man who was possessed by demons.  Crazy, right?

So it begs the question… how do we take the experiences we’ve gleaned here at Camp back home with us, no matter when it is that we’re leaving?  Some are leaving tomorrow morning because week 2 of Fam Camp is near its end.  Some are leaving in the middle of the week because they could only get a certain amount of time off.  Some of our staff are done next Saturday at the end of Fam Camp 3, and then there are some of us who are in it for the long haul and are barreling right through to the end of Zenith.  But whenever it is that you’re leaving, and however long it is that you’ve been up here, the reality doesn’t change.  What you’ll face when you get home is different from what you’ve faced at Camp.  Even if you were on staff for ten weeks, the regular (and mandatory) devos, the daily chapels, the constant worship music, and the regular invitations to just draw near to Jesus were keeping you accountable, and drawing you intentionally closer.  When we go home though, there are stresses, struggles, hurts, challenges… all of which threaten to drag us away from God’s best for our lives. 

In Nehemiah Chapter 6, we look and see that the work of rebuilding this wall that we’ve been talking about all week is nearly complete.  I don’t know if you’ve found this in your life, but I know in mine, whenever I get close to finishing something that I know God wants me to do, my enemies regroup, and they try tactics that hadn’t previously worked.  This was true for Nehemiah.  His antagonists, Sandlot and Tobiah, ask to meet with him in an open field.  Nehemiah had recently been appointed Governor, others watching his reactions could very easily have gone back to following Sandlot and Tobiah if Nehemiah made a wrong step in their eyes.  Nehemiah sends a messenger back to tell them that he’s doing a great work, and he can’t come down.  Essentially — he’s doing what he knows he’s supposed to be doing, sees them as an unnecessary distraction, and refuses to be distracted.  To onlookers, it would appear that Sandlot and Tobiah just wanted to make peace, so Nehemiah would have ended up looking to many like that wasn’t what he wanted, even though he was saying it was.

It’s important for us to focus on the BEST things that God has for us so that we can avoid being distracted, even by good things.  Nate used the example of a mother who’d known in searching God’s will for her life that it was her purpose at that moment to stay at home and raise her children.  This isn’t always best for everyone, but it was best for her.  One day, she was offered an excellent position and a great salary to go along with it, but ultimately she refused the job because she sincerely felt that what was best was for her to be home with her family.  When her daughter asked her why she didn’t take the job, she told her daughter that she was doing a very important work, and she couldn’t come down… along with the story of Nehemiah.  On Mother’s Day, this woman was drawn a card by her daughter with two hands almost holding on the front, saying “I’m doing an important work” … and on the inside, the hands were holding each other, and it read “and I cannot come down.”  What incredible confirmation that what she was doing was best.  The job wouldn’t have been a bad thing.  In fact, it probably would have been good, but it wasn’t what was best at that time and she knew it.  (I believe this example came from a book called “Visioneering.” 

So how do we keep the best things in focus when we’re not having a mountain-top experience?

Back to Nehemiah to find out.

Sandlot and Tobiah repeat their request four more times, each time to be met with the same response from Nehemiah:  I’m doing an important work, and I cannot come down.  After that, they send an unsealed letter (basically conveying that it’s public knowledge because anyone could read it) that says from Nehemiah’s actions, it looks like Nehemiah plans to overthrow the government.  Nehemiah trusts God, and answers “This is not true, you’re making it up in your heads.”

Here’s the key:

Nehemiah prays.  He doesn’t just pray a simple blanket statement that doesn’t hold meaning in his heart, though.  He earnestly seeks God’s favour when he calls to the Lord, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Keep me going.

Help me press on.

Keep me on the right track.

We all reflect God’s glory — This is applicable to EVERYTHING that we face, because if we’re doing God’s best for us, He WILL give us the strength to persevere, no matter what challenges we face along the way.

I want to send out a challenge to our staff who read this (and this is as true for myself as it is a challenge to all of you), because I think it’s really important, especially for those of you in high school.  When we get back to our regular, every day lives, it’s really hard to see sometimes what God’s best is.  That’s why it’s so so important to be in constant communication with our God, to be in the Word, to know it, and to know how to apply it to our lives.  It’s also really important, in my own experience, to have other Christian friends that you can rely on to help you stay focused, but most importantly… it’s fundamental to keep Christ at the centre, and to regularly pray “Now strengthen my hands so that I can keep going.”  Whether you’re finishing a project up, deciding who to date and what your standards might be, applying for jobs, whatever… when we ask for the Lord’s strength, He hears us.  He will give us what we need.

I want to share the lyrics to a song that Andrew’s been doing this week.  This song has really touched me at my core, because the lyrics are so simple, but they’re so profound all at the very same time.  It’s called “Here’s My Heart” by Passion featuring David Crowder.  (It’s not in the correct order because it’s a fairly repetitive song, but the simplicity is what kills me.

Here’s my heart Lord,
Here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord,
Speak what is true

‘Cause I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free

‘Cause You are strong, You are sure
You are life, You endure
You are good, always true
You are light breaking through

Here’s my life Lord,
Here’s my life Lord
Here’s my life Lord,
Speak what is true
Speak what is true
Speak what is true

You are more than enough
You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You’re all I have, You’re everything

For the whole song, go to the lyrics and/or the YouTube Video.

The last thing that I have to talk about to finish up Family Camp 2 is the baptism.  I want to extend an immense congratulations to both Kenny and Noah for making a public declaration in front of people they love and who love them that they are in.  They see the work that God is doing in their lives, they can’t ignore it, and they refuse to try.  They want to live for Him, with Him, alongside Him.  Their Youth Pastor, Matt Lockhart, drove up from Port Colborne for the evening to be with them in this really special occasion.  They shared their reasons for being baptized, and then Matt dunked them in the lake in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  It was beautiful.  There were tears, there were smiles, there were prayers, there was laying of hands, and there was singing.  But most importantly, there was rejoicing.  Every believer there rejoiced with Kenny and Noah in their decision, and every angel in Heaven rejoiced with God over their commitment, I’m sure.

This is going to sound incredibly cheesy…. but years ago, I watched a movie called Evelyn (with Pierce Brosnan), which is the true story of an Irish tradesman whose wife abandons him and his three children just after Christmas one year.  He ends up getting to know his kids in a very new way through a custody battle (I barely remember any of the details), but his daughter Evelyn looks at the sky one day and exclaims “Look, Angel Rays!” as rays of sunlight stream through a cloudy sky.  When her Dad asks her what they are, she says it’s her Grandpa watching over them, like a Guardian Angel.  I realize that’s not the case here, but every time I see that in the sky, it feels like God is watching.  Kind of like the promise in a rainbow.  He’s there.  You’ll see what I mean in the pictures.

I know that in the Youth Program this morning, Jesse and Josiah jumped on this opportunity to talk about baptism with the youth, so it’s my prayer tonight that in the coming weeks and months, those of you who’ve had youth here to see this would be impacted by the model that Noah and Kenny have provided for them, along with the information given to them by Jesse and Josiah about the true meaning and purpose of what this commitment really means. 

I’m not going to give much explanation over these photos, other than to say how proud I am of Noah and Kenny both.  Noah, being like a little brother to me, has grown up so so much in the last almost a decade since I’ve known him, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for both he and Kenny.  They are great influences for the boys in the cabins they lead, and as others watch them work with wonderful attitudes around Camp in service at a place that they love.

Enjoy.

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Oh, and the sunset… my iPhone didn’t do it justice, but I knew that in the time it took to run upstairs and get a real camera, I’d miss it entirely.  So it didn’t truly look like the sky was exploding, but I’m sure you get the idea.  It was breath-taking.

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And tonight, as I lay on my bed with my window open, the wind whipping the curtains around, and the sound of the lake lapping against the shore, reflecting on the day we’ve had today, I can’t help but wonder how anyone can deny God’s existence when they see all of this. 

That’s AWESOME!!

This morning in Chapel, Nate talked about the Greatness of God.  We took a break from Nehemiah to learn from God, through Nate.  I say this because Nate was very clear that he was listening to what he strongly felt that the Lord was leading him to do when he switched his topic up this morning.  Think about the word “awesome” for a minute.  Have you ever noticed that when you say a word enough times, it tends to lose its significance or its power?  I know I say awesome a lot, to describe many things.  “That’s AWESOME!” I’ll say to a student when they hand in great work.  Is it really, though?  Not to diminish the kid’s work, because if I’ve exclaimed that over a student’s work, it truly is remarkable and I’m intending to give legitimate praise, but is awesome the right word?  When we interact with the awesomeness and amazingness of God’s creation, it’s not difficult to feel really really small.  Think about the vastness of oceans, the magnitude of mountains, the stunning, breathtaking beauty of a sunset.  Nate talked about driving into the Rockies in Denver, Colorado, and wondered what the settlers must have thought the very first time they headed in.  That feeling was likely awe.  I remember the first time I saw big mountains… there was definitely awe involved.  Think about this — we’re now talking about sending people to Mars.  For good.  To live there.  But while that seems like this huge, enormous thing…. Mars is small in comparison to all God has created.  Airplanes on the ground seem massive, until you’re out stargazing at night and you see one blinking far off in the black sky, and it looks so puny.  Here’s the kicker — get ready for this.  As big, and awesome as our God is…. He described us as the crowning glory of Creation.  We’re the most incredible thing He created out of all the magnificent things we see around us…. and He uses US to get His stuff done.  He could just issue an edict and make things happen, He definitely has that power, but He uses groups of us together to affect change.  It begs the question — How do you define yourself?  Where do you get your value?  Because as the Crowning Glory of God’s Creation, the world’s standards probably shouldn’t be what defines us.  How’s this for some perspective?

12 Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger, Who has put all the earth’s dirt in one of his baskets, weighed each mountain and hill? 13 Who could ever have told God what to do or taught him his business? 14 What expert would he have gone to for advice, what school would he attend to learn justice? What god do you suppose might have taught him what he knows, showed him how things work? 15 Why, the nations are but a drop in a bucket, a mere smudge on a window. Watch him sweep up the islands like so much dust off the floor!  (Isaiah 40:12-15, Message)

28 Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. 29 He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. 30 For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. 31 But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.  (Isaiah 40:28-31, Message)

Also, I was kind of mesmerized by God’s bigness as I watched the sun set tonight.  I purposed for myself today after hearing Nate speak to be on the lookout for things that are truly awesome.  Well, watching the sun dip behind the trees over Ahmic Lake, and the shadows it casts, and the glimmers it creates on the black water… that’s awesome.

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The rained out Beaver Dam walk was rescheduled to this afternoon.  I didn’t have a chance to talk to anyone about how it went, but it was an absolutely beautiful day, so I suspect that it was lovely.

I peeked in on crafts this afternoon in the lower lodge.  Some of the stuff these kids are making is pretty cool!  I made my own craft because I was feeling particularly artsy.  I made a zentangle box by doodling on the lid of a carbon fibre box with a Sharpie and then colouring the entire lower portion of the box in black sharpie.  It stinks, but it looks awesome! great!  (I didn’t even think about it….)

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While I was there, I was standing getting ready to do my craft, and a man named Jim came in to ask Karen if anyone on Camp Staff would be interested in his pictures from rock climbing, and as I turned around to see this exchange, he was there holding a memory card.  Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to take someone else’s pictures.  I had intended to go up and take some of my own, but apparently those who climbed today were super speedy and as I walked out the door of the lodge to walk up to the Rock Wall, I met Jillian and Chloe who had been belaying all of the climbers, and were then finished.  I had been really disappointed, so thanks Jim for the memory card, if you’re reading this!  I actually would like to take a moment here while it’s applicable and thank everyone who was willing to just dump pictures onto my computer all summer.  Especially during kids’ camp, there have been times where I just couldn’t get to everything that I wanted to, and everyone’s generosity with their pictures has been lovely.

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Tonight was our Talent Show night.  I didn’t manage to go because I chose the responsible adult choice and wanted to sleep tonight, but from sitting in the gazebo with my parents, I got to overhear Nathan, Evan, and Noah practicing what they were getting together for the show.  It sounded great!  I did hear some of the acts through my bedroom window as well, and trust me, Kahquah’s got some talent.  I heard some Star Wars on the piano as well.  Kudos to everyone who got up and showed off what they can do.  It’s one thing to have talent, and it’s another to be comfortable putting it on display.

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Following the Talent Show were floats and sundaes.  It looked like they were popular tonight, judging by the amount of people waiting for them…. but that’s all I’ve got for today, so enjoy your Friday!

 

OH, one more thing.  We were sitting enjoying the gazebo, when Trish came out to get something from the sports shed.  Evidently, it has been thoroughly tidied, cleaned, and organized since the last time she’d been in, because look at the look on her face!  She was legitimately shocked.

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Seminars, Sunsets, Concerts, and Chipmunks.

Good morning, everyone.  Praise God, yesterday turned out to be so much nicer of a day than we’d anticipated.  It did rain significantly for a bit in the morning, but it cleared, and the sun came out.  The wind persisted, and it was chilly, but you know…. it wasn’t pouring all day.

In Chapel this morning, we learned that Nehemiah Chapter 5 takes a bit of a different turn from the previous chapters.  Nate went into detail, starting by asking us how we tell if fruit is ripe.  You can’t judge things by outer appearances.  Not usually, and usually not accurately.  You can’t do much with a mushy, rancid watermelon, even though it looked great and sounded awesome when you bent your ear to it and knocked on it in the grocery store.  It’s important to note, that if ever there were a time in the life of Nehemiah (at least so far as we’ve been let into it) where he would be justified (by our standards) in saying “don’t bother me right now, I’m really busy” this would be it.  He’s over his head in trying to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem all while being hyper aware of a very imminent threat.  So of course, at this exact moment in his life, a few wealthy Jewish leaders show up and take advantage of the situation, taking slaves and large amounts of taxes from the people trying to help rebuild.  Nehemiah gets angry.  But do you know what he was angry at?  Not that he was inconvenienced, or because things weren’t working out the way he wanted them to… No.  Nehemiah was angry at the injustice surrounding people being taken advantage of while they were trying to do the work God had set out for them.  Nehemiah wouldn’t take it.  He dragged those leaders in front of a Priest, and used his influence as Governor to make them give a public oath saying they’d stop doing what they were doing.  He basically made them publicly agree to a cease and desist order.  It’s enough to make me think — what do I get angry about?  Do I get angry when I’m not treated fairly?  Or do I get angry when others aren’t treated fairly?  It’s pretty clear when we look at the example of the life of Nehemiah that we’re not the ones we should be concerned with.  Here’s another way to think about it — what would make God angry?  Does God get angry when I have to stand in line too long at the bank?  I very sincerely doubt it.  But does God get angry when people’s lives are exploited?  I’m fairly certain that He does.  So if I want to be more like God, that stuff should probably make me pretty angry, too.  Nehemiah and his family refused the handouts “owed” to them as the Governor’s family, but chose instead to focus on their responsibility rather than their perceived rights.  It’s important to remember that the greatest in God’s eyes are those who serve.

Following Chapel, I noticed many Campers congregating in the lodge.  It was great to see those dining room tables being used to their full potential as it was rainy and icky outside.  Unfortunately, the rain made the trails and the woods areas very soggy, and so Jared canceled the Beaver Dam hike.  Keep a close eye on things, as it may be rescheduled, but I’m not sure about that just yet.

This afternoon, after the sun came out, I ventured on down to the beach to check out the boys only water battle.  It looked like fun!  The girls who led it looked like they had a blast, but apparently their mustaches washed off in the water.  I also got a great shot of how beautiful the day turned out, as well as some boys just having some great fun in the lake.  They’re brave, as I wouldn’t be in it when the breeze is chilly, but maybe the water is warmer than the air.  Or maybe I’m a wimp.

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After dinner, while the ladies were working on a lovely craft (I saw some awesome ZenTangles bookmarks being created.  I made another one even though after last week I was certain that I was done…), the girls gathered in the Pine Room for a movie and nail painting.  The Youth Pontoon trip to Mag was canceled because we just couldn’t be sure of what the weather would do.  The Tuck Shop was pretty quiet when I went down to check on it though, because the Youth congregated in the lower lodge to watch a movie instead of the Pontoon Trip.  Check out Jillian working on her bookmark in the very quiet Tuck Shop.

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Andrew and Anita gave a wonderful talk on partnership in marriage, and they made some really valid points that I’m sure some day will come in handy for me.  I’m not really sure why I went, but it was all very interesting and hopefully my brain will retain it for future.  I saw a lot of really engaged listeners (my inner teacher is surfacing….), and I could tell from the insightful questions asked afterward that a lot of you were listening closely and absorbing what was being said.  Thanks to all who came out, and a big thank you to Andrew and Anita for ‘letting us into their living room,’ so to speak.

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Following their talk, Andrew put on a concert including music from his CD, The God Who Sees [Everything].  If you really enjoyed it and would like to get your hands on a copy, they’re being sold in the Tuck Shop for $15.00.  Andrew would probably even sign it for you!  If you aren’t coming up here, I believe it’s available on iTunes.  Andrew will be here next week as well if you’re coming for third week.

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I caught some pictures of a beautiful sunset tonight.  It was really nice to see the sun at all today, so a great sunset was just that much bigger of a bonus.  I also caught a chipmunk looking at it, too.  I wasn’t as close as the pictures would appear, though, my camera has some pretty powerful zoom.

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Rebuilding the Wall

As today was my day off, I went to no events.  I sat with a book, and I read.  I did take some pictures of my own from sitting in the Muskoka Chairs, but thank you to everyone who provided me with details about the day as well as pictures from some of the events.

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This morning in Chapel, Nate started with an illustration about a mama duck and her ducklings in the parking lot of a church, surrounded by fascinated people who created a human barrier, protecting them from harm, especially by the cars who were coming in and out of the parking lot, dropping their children off for daycare.  They were shielded.  Nate went on to talk about how Nehemiah, in his life, was faced with two very powerful weapons of our enemy:  fear, and doubt.  The great thing about that fact is though, that with God, anything – even doubt and fear, can be used for redemptive purposes.  We were asked — how should we respond to doubt and fear?  Our human instinctive reaction is to seize up and not do what we know what we should… well, usually anyway.    Our instinct is to just not do things that we doubt.  If you missed it, ask Nate to tell you the story about the FBI Agents, the Psychiatric Hospital, and the pizza place.  There were officials looking on at the work that Nehemiah and his group was doing, and they would plant doubt into Nehemiah’s heart.  That wall isn’t strong enough, it won’t keep us out, are you going to make sacrifices to your god in there?  All jeering questions that Nehemiah had to face from his scoffers.  See… Satan is the father of lies.  He uses them to distract us from remembering that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us by His Spirit.  Once we remember that we have that power, Satan doesn’t stand a chance.

What does Nehemiah do when he’s faced with doubt?  He prays; and then he moves ahead with the work he knows he must do, in spite of the jeering from the officials.  So the officials turn the heat up.  They plot to rise up against Jerusalem, so Nehemiah prays, and then he posts guards at every access point.  He tells his guards not to be afraid of the threat around them because God would protect them.  Our response to fear and doubt should be like that of Nehemiah — Pray, then Act.  But like most things, we really stink at this when we go at it alone.  If you’re feeling fearful and try to do whatever it is you must do alone, you’ll likely fail.  Go to someone and ask for support from them.  Ask them to pray for and with you.  It’s that support that holds us together.

Today there was a great desire for the rock climbing and low ropes course.  We apologize to those who didn’t get a chance to go today.  Please bear with us as we sort out some staffing concerns in order to run these courses safely and fairly to give as many people a chance to use them as possible.  The Youth also got a chance to head out this afternoon for some team building, which is always great to hear about.  Thanks to Sandy Martin for loaning me her camera’s memory card with some low ropes pictures.

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Can you spot the matching family? I wonder if Nathan was wearing green yesterday, too…..

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Also this evening, we had our Annual Penny Carnival.  I wasn’t there, but thanks to Jillian for taking pictures for me.  It sounded like everyone had fun from my parents’ living room though.

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Group Projects

Today was a great day, for me, anyway.  I understand and completely respect that everyone has very personal styles of Worship when it comes to music, but I have to say — if I could sing songs like we sang this morning until the day I die and beyond, I’d be perfectly content with that.  When we put a banjo, a harmonica, a mandolin, a cello, two acoustic guitars, beautiful harmonies, and a cajon (not a speaker — I learned something yesterday — Noah was not sitting on a speaker tapping out a rhythm.  Noah was sitting on a percussion instrument called a cajon.  Whoops!  Sorry, Noah!) together, I am in my happy place.  Maybe some of you are with me.  Maybe some of you aren’t, but that’s OK, because everyone is different and that’s what makes us unique.

In Chapel this morning, Nate started by asking us where our breakfast came from.  He listed the farmers, the factories, the migrant workers, and many many more, up to and including our very own kitchen staff who prepared and served it.  The purpose of this illustration was to show us that teams are necessary in most things in life, and when God calls us to something, that’s usually the way He rolls.  He calls many people.  I guess the saying is true, many hands do make light work.  I think the best part of all of this is that as Nehemiah gets into this project He knows God has called him to, rebuilding Jerusalem, he doesn’t manipulate anyone else into following his lead by using “God told me so.”  He paints a picture of what God’s asked Him to accomplish, and has faith that others will follow — and they do.  In fact, Chapter 3 of Nehemiah is primarily focused on listing the people that showed up to help… except for a few Nobles who thought they were above this vision.  Sometimes, we subtly (or even not so subtly) imply that work gets done by those in the Ministry alone, but this isn’t the way this was intended at all.  We’re supposed to work together.  And instead of always asking God to change our lives and circumstances, we should always be praying for opportunities that are right in front of us as well.  And trust me I know… as a teacher, I get the eye rolls when I hand out group work, because many of us would prefer to just do it ourselves, whatever ‘it’ is, so that we make sure it gets done properly… but isn’t God’s way always a bit counter-intuitive to the way the World works?  We also need to remember that results may not (or probably won’t be) immediate.  Brokenness can feel normal when we see it day after day, but when we shift from our perspective to God’s we can see something restorative taking place.

This afternoon, I witnessed only a couple of events.  This has afforded me the space to ramble a bit above this section of the blog.  I watched an epic volleyball tournament organized by Jesse and Josiah, and I peeked in on Crafts.  The kids looked like they were having fun at Crafts, and boy oh boy was there ever some fierce competition at the volleyball court.  The beach looked like fun, too.  Though, I must admit, it looked a tad windy to be out on the paddle boards for my liking, it still seemed that everyone had a great time.

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Sandcastles and Butter Tarts

This morning, we started off Chapel having been introduced to our Pastor, Nate Yoder from Wainfleet BIC, and our Worship Leader, Andrew Thompson of Wellspring Community Church.  While Andrew and Noah led worship this morning, I have to say that I marveled at Noah’s percussion, because he created excellent rhythm to back up his Dad… without a drum set.  He sat on a speaker and tapped the rhythm out on the sides of it.

Nate preached on Dreams and Visions, and that visions are the drive that makes our dreams come to fruition.  Dreams are what we want for our lives.  He talked about Nehemiah, and how he saw the remnant of a destroyed Jerusalem, decimated by the Babylonians years prior, and knew that God was calling him to go do something about it.  He was a Cup Bearer to the King, and he used his position to ask the King to allow him to go, with resources and protection, and to help rebuild.  It was a very gutsy request, as it could have been seen as a subversive political move, among a number of other shady motives.  Nehemiah was trusting God to give him what he’d need to do what God was calling him to do.  I’m looking forward to following along with the rest of Nehemiah’s story throughout the rest of the week.

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This afternoon, there was a sandcastle building contest of epic proportions.  Seriously… I’ve never seen sandcastles like some of these, not in real life, off of the Internet!  It looks like the kids (and some adults) had a lot of fun!

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Also, a huge thank you to all who participated in our Family Camp Fire this evening!  It was a lot of fun!  I wish I could participate for some of the prizes involved.  All of our adults who were voluntold were very good sports.

The first game was a competition, where three couples had to have the husband feed his wife a butter tart — a delicious one from the Cornball at that — to his wife, while neither of them used their hands.  The winners (Jay and Alexa) won a gift certificate to the Cornball.  Joost and Patti, Jay and Alexa, and Andrew and Anita were all stellar competitors.

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Next, there was a rousing screaming competition from one side of the Campfire pit to the next, declaring that “there might be flies on some of YOU guys, but there ain’t no flies on us!”

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The first skit was one I’d never seen before.  The Wee Skit, it was called.  It was staged on a bus where the passenger in the back repeatedly asks the bus driver to stop so she can wee.  The driver keeps telling her she’ll have to wait, while other passengers loudly sing Disney music, and yet others twitch because they need chocolate.  When they finally convince the driver to stop, Natalie, the passenger gets out of the back, and runs around pretending to be an airplane, yelling “weeeee!”  The faces Jared made during this skit just killed me.

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The next competition had couples facing off at a common wedding reception game for the chance to win a gift certificate for dinner at Tanner’s Restaurant.  They had to raise their shoes with their backs to each other to show who they thought had what role in their relationships.  Craig and Sandy, as well as Nate and Grace, all seemed to have their roles down, but Tim and Liz had the fewest answers the same.  As a result, they were awarded the gift certificate to Tanner’s.

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The last skit was called JC Penney.  One after another, models came out to show off their new clothes.  Erin would ask them where they got their clothes from, and one after another, they’d respond “JC Penney.”  Finally, Jared runs out wearing a garbage bag, appearing to be missing all of his clothes, and Erin asks him who he is.  He exclaims, “I’m JC PENNEY!”  Andrew laughed so hard, he cried.  And Noah, seeing his Dad laughing that hard, joined right in.

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