I am so grateful for a wonderful weekend at Castle Bluff with our middle school students from church. It’s been a couple of years since I made it to one of Taido’s camps so I had enough distance that I was able to wonder afresh at the experience.
Lots of treasures on my Grateful List today:
sweet gal riding shotgun with me to and from camp: Hannah!
all six Chinos getting to go this time: Taido speaking, me leading a small group, Cole serving on work crew, MP and Ben as campers, and Simon tagging along. We were never all together, but it still made me happy to know we were all there.
Simon’s enthusiasm about being at camp, riding in and even driving the mule, “helping” in the sound booth and watching the madness all weekend
so many new faces
seeing the face of someone from years ago in the eyes of their child
the sacrifice of time and energy by so many who could spend their weekend differently
older students serving younger students
and old songs
a room full of pure crazy, going bananas
girls learning in the tiniest of ways to extend mercy and grace to one another
a hike on an old, familiar trail
an old cross
fall color popping up everywhere
a new building rising from the Ozark dirt and clay and the hope of more and more people having the chance to get away
catching up with folks I am usually just passing on Sundays
a wise fellow leader
the squeals of kids on the zip line for the millionth time or for the first
watching kids let go of fear and step backwards off the rappelling deck
Ben’s face after he rappelled off the new deck for the first time
kids who have been to camp before sharing their favorite spots and moments with kids who were there for the first time
late night giggles in rooms packed with girls
hammocks strung between bunks, between tree trunks and from rafters
7th grade drama making me so happy that I never have to go back to middle school, and at the same time reminding me to pray more diligently for students who are facing a battle every day
gorgeous, sun-drenched drive home on curvy roads and through dreamy autumn forests
a pot of soup welcoming my family and me at home
Our camp Mama, Rhonda Bentley, who spent her 50th birthday with 100 middle school students. Her big heart for seeing this ministry done is mirrored in so many other sweet souls. She pulls them all together with her clipboard and spreadsheets, but the serving, cooking, playing, singing, washing, belaying, teaching, leading, praying, driving and working that happens in one of these crazy weekends is the body of Christ in action. I love getting to see it in action!
I brought a few leaves home with me and when I opened my Bible yesterday morning and saw them I said a prayer of thanks for all these blessings and more prayers of hope for the threads that kids will trace back to this experience as they count their own blessings years from now.