We have had water fights, went ice skating (frozen water), played at the water park in Fremont, went down a giant water slide many times, visited the swimming pool, played games, climbed trees, slept in tree boats (www.newtribe.com), sang songs, had times of devotion and Bible Study, worshipped by the campfire, went for a hike, and made lots of smores.
At 40 years old, I am old enough to be the kids’ dad (and am one of the kids’ dad). I’m twice the age of all the counselors. I’m even old enough to be the camp director’s older brother. I hope the kids learned something from my teachings by the campfire at night. Regardless of what they learned or experienced, I learned a lot this week.
The kids taught me about community. Strangers quickly became friends and friends quickly became family. As I type this, we are near the end of our fifth and final day. The kids are beginning to realize their experience is about over. They are currently signing t-shirts and exchanging addresses. The stranger becomes family. And so it is with the Kingdom of Heaven.
I was inspired by the counselors. They showed me what it meant to be a servant. Four of them and myself didn’t seem to be enough sometimes. But they pressed on. Their day starts at seven in the morning and ends sixteen or seventeen hours later. No breaks. No rest. Not much pay. Just a lot of responsibility. I never heard any complaining; I only witnessed patience, kindness, and love. They treated each child like the child belonged to them. Two of the four counselors were not from the United States: a young woman was from the Czech Republic and a young man was from South Africa. The only thing that impressed me more than their compassion for the kids was their passion for God. Servants in love with a Savior: another picture of the Kingdom of God.
As we dream about the future of our church, these simple lessons taught by children are a wonderful place to start.
1. Inviting the stranger to become our friend and inviting the friend to become our family. If you are new, I invite you over the next few months to join a small group where you can develop new friends and new family.
2. Servants in love with a Savior. If you are not currently serving, I invite you over the next few weeks to join one of our many serving teams. It is a great way to make friends, serve people, and love God.
The best is yet to come…