Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yikes - Snakes! Trust in the Lord Supermen and don't forget to clothe yourself!


Ok, the title doesn't exactly describe my week at Royal Family Kids Camp but it does give you a sneak peak at what we learned and talked about during the week.

The week had a theme of "jungle" but that's more for our decorations. I always like to do alot of decorations in my room - probably more than most guys do. I'll lay claim that this comes from having a teacher for a Mom and a little creative bug that jiggles around inside my head all the time. Found some bamboo/thatch looking wall covering that I put around most of the room. Then I covered it with scriptures that went along with some of the drama the kids would hear during the week. Then, the fun part was covering the walls with glued-on snakes, bugs, and lizards to enhance the jungle theme as well as some rubber snakes hanging from the beds. Some of the decorations on the wall were even glow-in-the-dark which added to the fun. On the first day, one of my boys walked into the room and said, "Yikes! There snakes in our room... yeah... how cool!!"

Speaking of the boys - they were great. Jim and Connan (Con-Un) were 2 great kids. Both of them came from broken homes (and now in foster care) but I don't have alot more details than that. Other than they had a lot of "brothers" at the camp who looked nothing like they did. We don't press them on their situations but are open to listening if they start to talk. Connan's only prayer request during the week had him asking me to pray that he get reunited with his family. But they were 2 wonderful boys who were a blast to be around. No problems - no conduct issues, no fighting (that happened when I got back home and found Tyler and Colby!! HA) and they both were heavily involved in all aspects of the camp. This was Jim's 3rd time at Royal Family but it was Connan's first year. He was definitely more reserved til about Tuesday afternoon. One of the things I did for them was give them a Superman cap that they wore around all week. I told them that I was giving that to them to remind them that the Lord provides them strength to fight off evil, that they should love God with all their strength and that they should remember that they can do all things because Christ gives them strength. We talked about that all week.

In addition, the scripture of the week during Bible story time was Proverbs 3: 5-6 which reads:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

However, the first night I did a quick Bible lesson with them that probably had the biggest impact. Which is why I praise God for taking over because I thought it was just a quick Bible lesson to get through before they went to bed. I didn't know it would become our "talking point" all week long. In Colossians 3:12, it reads:

Therefore, ... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness and patience.

I used a sports uniform analogy to show how we clothe ourselves makes us representatives of the "team" we are on. So all week long we talked about "clothing ourselves with the 5 things" and I never was shy in asking them at any time to recite the 5 things from memory. Jim got it down pretty good but Connan took most of the week to get it. But Thursday night, Connan recited all of them and it was a great moment for us.

After reading what I've already written, you are all probably fairly confused about all the different spiritual messages we were sending them. True - but I can tell you that these kids need the Word given to them all day long. They need to be reminded how God loves them when others have abandoned and/or hurt them. They need to be reminded that there are people out there who love them and want to spend a week with them. (I got asked multiple times by Connan and some other kids how much we got paid to be counselors) They need to be reminded that they can do ALL things because Jesus will provide them the strength they need to overcome the evil they face. And they need to be reminded each day to clothe themselves with more compassion, intentional kindness, abundant humility, sweet gentleness and lots and lots of patience! Hmmmm - there's a lesson in there for all of us!! Certainly was the case with me.

The rest of the week was great filled with lots of fun doing our traditional Royal Family activities: activity centers (crafts), wood working, sports, chapel, Bible Lesson, singing fun praise songs and ... having fun with eating minnows and getting water balloons launched at us going about 50 miles an hour!!!

Ok, the last 2 items need some more explanation. This was part of the last day's "Jungle Games". We had minnow relay races where the kids carried live minnows from one bucket to another. Then they played against the counselors. The rules were the same with one minor exception: the counselors had to put the minnows in their mouth instead of their hands!! Yikes! Yiggeee!!! I didn't want that thing swimming around where it shouldn't so I stuck to just biting down on it hard enough to keep it from moving around. And yes I brushed my teeth before dinner!!!

The 2nd part of the "games" involved a firing squad set up of 2 campers equipped with these large "sling shot" launchers that were being loaded with water balloons. The "fun" part of these games were then to line up the counselors in a row about 25-30 yards away and shoot them... yeah that was my reaction too!! HA I got hit once on the hand and hip and it stung quite a bit but it was fun! Some of us commented that instead of camp, this felt like more of a fraternity hazing incident that would wind up on the evening news somewhere!!! HA

Overall the week was great. I wish I could go on and on. I won't even mention the little "dance" I did on stage that involved me shaking my backside to the crowd... oops, did I mention it anyway??? Oh well, it was fun too. And it was a GREAT reunion to see my wonderful 3 boys and my beautiful wife. I missed them so much. Thanks for your prayers during the week

God bless you all,