Saturday, July 30, 2011

only two weeks left?

I can barely believe that there are only two more weeks left to camp.  I have mixed feelings about the end of camp.  This was a very challenging week where I was stretched in many different ways.  As my grandma put it "you are very out of shape now" from being stretched.  God is good all the time though and I survived to the weekend.

I had a camper in my cabin this week who was very tough and hard to connect with.  I worked very hard and she just continually tried to push me away.  I was very discouraged by the fact that I put so much energy and prayer into this camper only to have her pull away and become frustrated with me for caring.  On a more positive note...later that week I sat down with her to talk and she really opened up.  I learned a lot about her and what she has gone through.  Sweet sweet girl when you get to know her.  I was so encouraged!  The week let back down though when she gave me a very poor review as her counselor.  I tried so hard and only to have her dislike me and unwilling to let me care for her.  Pat asked me yesterday how I was doing, and I just had to reply "discouraged, very discouraged."  She was such an encouragement as she in a very grandmother way reminded me that God doesn't call us to be successful, but to be faithful.  I have grown to appreciate Pat more then she will ever know.  What a godly woman of God she is.

There were other challenges this week, that I still don't see the reason they existed, but I have chosen to trust the Lord that He has a reason for these trials He brings me through.

For rest this weekend I went for a long car ride.  We were just going to go to Spear Fish for some Wal-Mart necessities, but the camp needed paintballs for paintball camp this upcoming week.  We were asked to go to Rapid City instead (3 hours away) to pick up the paintballs.  We made it back to camp in 6.5 hours, in time to enjoy the homemade Chicago style Deep Dish Pizza.  This was the first time I had every had deep dish pizza and I definitely approve- Jim did an awesome job!  I am now headed to bed pretty soon so I can get a long night of much needed sleep.

This upcoming week I will stay in the same cabin, and will have a mixture of Explorers (6-8th grade) and Adventure Teens (9-12th grade), with a CIT (campers in training) helper.  I am praying the Lord gives me a little bit of a break to catch my breath.  If not though, I know He will provide the needed energy and wisdom. I hope you all have a blessed weekend.  Please pray for my mom and sister as they are in Ecuador for the next several days on a mission's trip!  Don't forget to smile at someone today :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

mid summer solo and recent learnings

It's a new week, and a very abnormal one at that.  In my cabin, I have the two horsemanship campers, so I have responsibilities of getting them up early and down to the barn before breakfast.  I also am the leader of sports path.  The only reason I ended up with that is because the only person who signed up for that was a girl from my cabin, and she just wants to path hop, so I am just the adult supervision and organizer.  Yesterday we did bike path.  I am so out of shape and with it being one of the hottest days, I am ashamed to say that I did not handle the heat very well.  Unfortunetly I really slowed my camper down a lot, and ended up walking just about the entire two miles back.  Today I took her to paintball, and she just loved it (and was very good at it too).

This morning I also had my second solo.  To read about my first solo, click here.  Sadly, my second solo could not be as long as my first (six hours), but it was still very much needed and enjoyed.  I debated about going off camp and had a few offers on vehicles to borrow, but when I thought about the short time I had (three hours), I didn't want to waste the time driving anywhere.  I then debated about hiking somewhere on camp, but as I was about to leave, it started to sprinkle.  So I decided instead to hunker down in the nurses station.  I had a whole room to myself with two comfy beds, thick curtains, and it was cool.  I spent some amazing time in God's Word (see below), and then took an hour and a half nap, and just laid there pondering how wonderful silence is.  The time was so relaxing, and I feel so refreshed just from those short three hours of without campers!

I was given a devotional back when I was in school, 40 Days With Jesus--Celebrating His Presence (I highly recommend it).  This summer I have slowly but surely going through it.  I have so enjoyed it.  It is written from God's perspective on attributes of His and common ways we tweak what He tells us.  Today, in my solo (alone time, to refresh physically and spiritually), I was working with Psalm 42:1-2 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God."  Sarah Young states in the booklet (from God's perspective mind you), "Seek my face, and you will find all that you have longed for.  The deepest yearning of your heart are for intimacy with Me.  I know, because I designed you to desire me.  Do not feel guilty about taking time to be still in My presence.  You are simply responding to the tugs of divinity within you.  I made you in My image, and I hid heaven in your heart.  Your yearning for Me is a form of homsickness: longing for your true home in heaven...To follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish you desire to please other people.  However, your closeness to Me will bless other by enabling you to shine brightly in this dark world."  This came at such a perfect time for me.  I needed the reminder that I do not need to feel guilty for wanting to spend time with Him.  He created me to be like that.  I was also reminded that I can't feed others spiritually, unless I am caring for myself and feeding myself spiritually.  So thankful for the valuable lessons I am learning from this book.

Still trying to heal from my cold, and now from getting sick yesterday.  But God is good, ALL the time!  Praising Him for the lessons He is teaching me this summer and the ways He is stretching me.  All glory and honor to Him.

This is my friend Jenny and I while we were waiting for this week's campers.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week #6

I am very sorry that I have done such a poor job in blogging this week and weekend.  This past week went very well with only four girls in my cabin.  One accepted Christ on Tuesday night- praise the Lord!  This upcoming week I will have Adventure Teens (9-12th grade).  Not sure how many, but that is the plan right now.  I am very interested in learning some of my assignments for this week.  I am feeling a bit better which is another huge praise, and I am simply praying that this continues.  Grandpa has been placed in a nursing home and seems to be doing well.  I hope you all have a lovely week.

Monday, July 18, 2011

over half way...week 5 of camp!

I think I am feeling better today.  Thank you for your prayers.  My throat is feeling better today, but my body is still feeling very weak, and my nose is obnoxiously stuffed.  Continued prayers would be very much appreciated.

Last week was very different for me as I was working with Trailblazers (3-5th grade).  It was completely different, but not necessarily a bad different.  I did several activities with my girls, and we had a fun week.  Campout was also very different.  I learned in a new way this week how refreshing campout is.  One way it is refreshing is simply because it is a change of scenery and pace.  Another way is that you are not the only one in charge of your kids now.  At campout all of the counselors share the responsibility for all of the campers, which is so nice as a counselor, especially when you have a challenging group.  My Dad was reminding me the other day that campout was one of the things about camp I was dreading most, but instead I now love it.  One of the things I love about campout is the food.  For dinner we grill hamburgers over the open flame with all the toppings.  For a late night snack, Jim usually prepares venison for the staff to eat--marinated and grilled over the fire...delish!  For breakfast we make what we call supreme eggs, or breakfast goulash!  It has eggs, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and potatoes.

God has been stretching me in other ways.  Those of you who know me well will get a better kick out of God's sense of humor as to what I have been doing to stretch me this summer so far:
-boy crazy girls in my cabin
-sports path
-paintball path
-camping outside no tent, no camper, just you, your sleeping bag, and the stars
-scooping ice cream
-whiny girls

On Saturday, Daniel, myself, and some other camp friends went to Rapid City, ND to go to Hill's Alive.  It was very hot, and very humid (which everyone told me I wouldn't experience in MT).  Hill's Alive is kind of like the equivalent of Soulfest over in the northeast.  The plus side of Hill's Alive is that it is FREE!  So for zero moneys, I got to see live...The Afters, Hawk Nelson, and Kutless.  It was fun to get off camp and be with friends, go to Wal-Mart, see civilization!

Now for some personal information.  For those of you who do not know, my Grandpa (paternal) is not doing well at all.  Last week he went comatose one night when his sugars dropped to the thirties.  I talked to my mom this morning and she was headed out to go to the hospital to meet up with the ambulance that brought my Grandpa in.  I have been so blessed to have all four grandparents living and within two miles of home.  All four grandparents love the Lord with their whole heart and are awesome romodels for me.  Please pray for my Grandpa, that he would not be in pain.  Please also pray for my Grandma (married to Grandpa for over 60 years), and the rest of the family as they work through this.  I do praise the Lord that my Grandpa knows the Lord, and when it is his time to go, we all know where he is going.  Such peace there is in that.  So I personally ask for your prayer for my family.

I hope you all have a blessed week.  I have a fun cabin of four girls.  I am still seeking where they are spiritually so I can best minister to them this week.  Remember to look to the Lord for your every need, and you can know I am lifting you up in prayer.  Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

completion of week 3

I don't have time for a long update, but I just wanted to let you know that I did indeed survive last week.  It was a discouraging week, but at the same time it was very exciting.  Two girls in my cabin accepted Christ as their personal Savior, and we now have a total of 69 decisions made so far this summer at camp.  Praise the Lord for the work He is doing.  Prayers would be appreciated as I have become sick.  I have a group of junior high girls this week, and truth be told, am dreading it because I am feeling sick and am very tired.  I know the Lord will help me and give me the needed strength.  I am praying for you all and praying the Lord would give you an awesome week. ~Deuteronomy 6:5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

week 4 day 2

'Tis a new week with a cabin full of new girls!  I have seven elementary aged girls!  They are totally different  from highschoolers, but I still love them.  I am asked a million and three questions every day, and need prayer for patience as I try to answer each question with love.  Last night I shared the gospel to the whole cabin, and several girls perked up "I don't think I have ever accepted that before".  I was able to talk to one girl who was eager to accept Christ as her personal Savior and to give HIM her life.  How awesome to join her into the family as a sister in Christ.  Please pray for this dear young girl as she now has entered a spiritual battle, and comes from a rough home life.  I hope you all have a wonderful week praising our Lord!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

pics of TER

For those of you who have not been to Trail's End Ranch before (pretty much everyone besides my grandparents), I decided to post some pictures from around camp so you can see where I am this summer. Enjoy!

This is Ekalaka Bible Church that I have been regularly attending while here (sorry for the blurry picture).

This is the cabin I have been in for the first four weeks of camp... T-E!

This is the 'inside' of the outdoor chapel. The covering is a billboard covering.

This is taken from the climbing tower. You can see the soccer field, the bottom of the zipline (far left), dining hall (big building 'behind' soccer net), cabins behind the dining hall, and the main office (far right of the picture).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

week 3

I am halfway through my summer here in Montana at Trail's End Ranch.  I have been here for a total of five weeks (two weeks of staff training and three weeks of camp).  As I was telling my best friend today on the phone, camp is exhausting but I truly am enjoying it.

This week started off kind of rough with some issues in my cabin.  Tuesday night during our staff meeting I shared it with the girls I was praying with and we all poured our hearts out in prayer over these situations.  After the meeting, I talked with Pat asking for advice on how to properly handle it.  We talked for a while and she gave me a lot of insight and background information.  I applied her advice and saw a little bit of improvement, but in talking to her today and thanking her for her advice, she even noted that she had seen a huge change in this young lady's personality.  All praise to the Lord for working through these issues!

This week very well may have turned out to be my favorite week.  There were two particular girls in my cabin that I really hit it off with.  I was able to have fun and pick on them and we just had a lot of laughter all of us together.  I felt more relaxed as a counselor where I was able to maintain authority while still being a friend.  On Tuesday they began calling me mom, and today I was informed that I pass the "Good Mom" test.  Woohoo!

Wednesday night we had a fun camp out which ended up being all girls.  The high adventure path people got to go rappelling off the cliff, and one of my girls went down at least four times.  She loves high adventure!  Here are some pictures of our evening and morning out at the cliffs...

 This is the scenery from off the cliff.  The cliff we rappel off of is 60 ft.

 This is the campers tent.  Three of us counselors plus two campers (per request) stayed out in the middle of the grass and enjoyed the stars (while being thankful it didn't rain as forecasted).

A view of the campsite from the campfire. 

Abby hates Styrofoam, so she eats off of a Frisbee.

On Friday, for our morning meeting, Jim did something different.  He used the passage in the New Testament that talks about Jesus washing the disciples feet.  There were several chairs, towels, and basins of water, and if we would like, we had the opportunity to wash people's feet as a picture of servant hood.

Jim wore his beach robe to help build the scene.

Please be praying for two of my campers who very clearly heard the gospel one on one, but were not quite ready to accept it yet.  Both will go home and read the scriptures and pray about it more.  I was proud of them for taking it seriously and wanting to make sure they understood it before they just accepted it.  Please remember both girls in prayer.

For my birthday, my mom sent me a care package of goodies to share with the girls in my cabin to have a party.  We called it an end-of-the-week party though.  We had so much fun--thanks Mom!

See Mom, I did wear the tiara (not the crown).

Well, that's all for now folks.  I need to get back to my cabin so I can get some shut eye.  I am hoping for at least ten hours of sleep tonight (camp counseling is exhausting work).  In the case I am not able to get on tomorrow to give an update...this week I will be working with Trailblazers (grades 3-5).  Originally, this is the age group I wanted, but the Lord has given me a love for high schoolers, and that is what I have become comfortable with.  But, I shouldn't be comfortable, because then I am tempted to rely on my own strength instead of His.  Please be in prayer for me and the other staff here at Trail's End Ranch as we try to help each individual move forward in every area of their life.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 3, Day 3

This week, I have a fun group of gals--4 highschoolers, and 2 junior highers.  I have some challenges this week, specifically with one of my campers, but I have been speaking with Pat and she has been giving some good advice on how to handle the situation.  I started the week off feeling quite sick and run down.  Third week of camp, with very little time out has wiped me out completely.  Today though I feel as though I am soaring on eagle's wings, and relying on the Lord's strength.  I know I have no strength left, and that what is holding me together is all HIM.  It helps that I got an awesome care package from one set of grandparents, and a sweet note from the other set.  I am so thankful to have such awesome grandparents backing me up and supporting me in this ministry.

For Path this week I am in high adventure.  We have 6 girls and they have been a lot of fun.  Today we were on the low ropes course and it was fun watching their minds come together and work as a team.  Yesterday we were rappelling, and one girl specifically is terrified of heights.  She did a great job of it though and did it!  Tonight on the campout they will all have a chance to go rappelling off of a 60 foot cliff.

Keep praying for the staff here.  Several of them have some home situations going on while they are here.  The devil is hard at work against the work being done here at TER for the Lord.  Many are brutally exhausted and worn out.  Please email me and let me know how I can most specifically be praying for you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

end of week 2

I am so thankful for the wonderful girls I had in my cabin this week.  I had five high school girls (three sophomores, one junior, and one senior).  There were those challenges of moody, testy teenage girls, but more often then those challenges they brought laughter and a lot of fun.  The difference in maturity (due to age) from last week was a breath of fresh air.

One of my girls came in proclaiming that she was Catholic.  I spent a ton of time in prayer over this young lady as well as research over exactly what Catholics believe.  I tried understanding why she was a Catholic because her goal for the week was to learn more about Catholicism and what her role was as a Catholic.  At that point I understood it was a more religion she was wanting, and don't think there was much making her choose Catholicism over any other religion.  She clung on to Abby (another staff member) and was able to have many good deep conversations.  Abby was able to talk to her on several occasions about personal standards and was even able to talk to her about what Catholics believe and this young girl was just appalled because she knew she didn't believe that.  She made leaps and bounds of improvements this week and I am so thankful for the work the Lord did in her life through Abby.

Another night we were sitting in the evening meeting when it was time for a skit.  The skit is called the "Everything Skit".  There is a scene where the main character holds a gun to her head.  At the end of the skit, one of my girls came over to me asking if her and her friend could go back to the cabin because they had recently had a friend commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.  I ran back to the cabin with the girls, and they lost it.  I ache for them.  I have gone through the death of a close friend, but not through suicide.  I sat there with them for a while listening to them.  Afterwards, I was able to talk to Pat and she really helped me on how I could better help these two girls.  2 Corinthians 1 is a great passage to go to in hard times like this.

Last night I was asked to be in the staff versus campers basketball game.  The campers were in basketball camp all week and needed to have a game at the end of the week.  Before anyone thinks I have gained some mad basketball skills, let me explain.  There were some young campers, so they needed some very unskilled players so it was more evenly matched.  That is where I came in.  I played to help the younger campers feel much better about themselves.  I learned many new things about basketball which would make my sister proud of me.  I played several games after that, and played hard.  I feel rather old today, but I did it!  That counts for something doesn't it?

This weekend is a rest weekend!  I hope to get at least a three hour nap this afternoon before we head over to Rolando's for dinner.  I am looking forward to that because everyone usually says that is the highlight to their summer.  My laundry was all done this morning before the campers even left and my cabin was all clean!  I am staying in the same cabin next week, so I can just go back and relax!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and are able to relax some.