June 30, 2012

Camp: Week 2

This week at Ranch Camp things were very different than last week. This week was Junior High/High School Week. I started off the week counseling by myself, but due to some outside circumstances, I asked to have some help from someone on support staff. Laura was able to jump in and co-counsel with me and it was an answer to prayer for her!

Sunday: Campers Arrived!

In Horse Science, we got to paint Sally! My classes rotation group was called Mischef, named after Amy's cute doggy.

Then came rain. rain. rain. A lot of the schudele had to be changed. So we went up to timberline and watched a movie. It was a blast!
taking the stage coach to and from timberline
Jenn and I in front/Laura, Caeli, Mel, and Anne in the back proudly showing off our mustache's
We did some new skits that night and that were pretty much hilarious. 
Canby Grove folks-there's a bar? and the roller coaster skit! I also had a camper throw up that night, so I was so blessed to have Laura with me. I DO NOT HANDLE PUKE WELL.

Tuesday: Eggextraganza (each person wears nylon on their head with an egg in it and when your egg gets cracked by a noodle, you are out!), bloddy nose for one my campers, and campout!

this is how we feel about egg in our hair

At the camp-out, we made hobo stew. You take your pick of food, put it in foil, and cook it over the fire. It was delish! Then we had some worship and Jenn shared a lesson. I told a piece of my testimony about how I felt I was betrayed by a friend. Girls started sharing about bullying and other life experiences. One girl in particular really stuck out to me. I asked her if we could talk, and she was really anxious to hear my story. 

Campers still asleep when I got up for Staff Meeting

I was really proud of myself this week. Not only did I not wear makeup everyday, but I went more than 1 day without showering. Camp is stretching! The same camper I talked to the night before was anxious to talk to me at Pond Time, so we sat away from everyone else and just talked. I was able to relate to parts of her story with some of my experiences. It was really refreshing for me to see how God was using my experiences to reach out to someone else. I had a really hard week and I felt like God wasn't using me, but this small conversation helped me see that it isn't about me and God works in ways that we do not always understand. But his ways are worth it and always better than we can imagine. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:8-9

I was able to write a note of encouragement to this camper, and I think she really needed it. I shared with her a few bible passages that really comforted me and gave me hope in times of trial. She came to me in tears afterward thanking me so much for those words. I honestly believe God spoke through me cuz I have no idea what I actually wrote in that letter.

Wednesday is also known as WACKY WEDNESDAY. Here is some our of wackiness!

We did a skit at campfire Wednesday night that I really believe campers needed to hear. The story is simple: a girl is given a heart (an apple) from God to protect and guard. Things of the world come in, like popular girls who make her sacrifice who she is, not being able to fit in with others cuz of clothing and money, and lastly, a boy who trompts on her heart. Her heart is demolished and she feels broken. But then God comes back, restores her, and gives her a new heart, that he promises to guard and protect for her if she will let him. 

Thursday: Thursday consisted of Ranch Camp Hoedown and camper skit night, which is pretty much the best night of the week. 

For our skit, Laura and I planned to use all of the injuries for our campers are the story line. Every single girl in our cabin got hurt this week. Lauren threw up in the middle of the night and got a nasty bloody nose that was almost broken, but luckily was not. Amanda got a killer splinter and threw out her arm while vaulting. Emma hurt her knee on the trampoline and got stepped on by her horse. Ira fell off Buddy while vaulting and landed on her hip. Jordan ran into a tree. Cassidy got an intense splinter too, but it didn't happen until the day of our skit. Then Friday while practicing Showdeo, I twisted my ankle and fell in a ditch. We just had major issues with injuries!
Thumbs Up Thursday!

All of Ranch Camp Week 2
Staff Week 2: directors, wranglers, counselors, and of course, Chloe the goat
After the hilarious skits, we entered into a very spirit filled night. Worship was beautiful. Campers clung tightly to my arms and didn't want to let go. People were worshiping and praising God for who He is. Some were overwhelmed with God's love to the point of unending tears. Richard preached the gospel message in a way that helped students and staff see and relate to knowing that NOTHING in this world can satisfy, and you can try it all. God is the only one who can fully satisfy you. He will fill every crack. He will make you whole and complete in Him.We headed to campfire, and campers tossed in sticks showing their commitment to leave their old ways behind and follow hard after God. Some started sharing what God did within their cabins this week and in their own lives. It was so refreshing to see and witness this. This is why I love camp. This is why this ministry works. God is present here and He changes lives. He transforms people like a potter molds clay. I am so happy to be used by God in a miniscule way and be a part of this. 

 Friday: consists of Showdeo, last talks with campers, exchanging information, pictures, packing up camp, and lots and lots of tears.
The progression of pink-red :)
Cabin: Week 2 proudly wearing their Wood Cookies :)
Then we spend the evening having a staff meeting, talking about how God worked this week. I always look forward to that time. Next week, our numbers area really low, so half of the staff requested time off to go home or go on rafting trips. I chose to stay and work, so I got selected to be Ranch Camp Director instead of counseling for the week. This pretty much means I am in charge of Ranch Camp! I'm really excited and pretty nervous all at the same time. It is going to be a great week. Then, camp ends Thursday evening and Staff Retreat starts!

Prayer Requests:
  • That counselors would get the rest they need for the next week and have energy despite the low numbers of campers in Ranch Camp and Timberline
  • That those off camp would be safe and make wise decisions as well
  • For staff unity over the retreat 
  • For me to work well with other leadership staff and make wise decisions when staff come to me with problems or issues in the week
  • For staff to stay rooted in the word and spend time with God
  • That many campers last week understood and took their relationship with Jesus to the next level
  • For God working through campers to touch my life and encourage me
  • For the many many many answered prayers this week
  • The fires in Etna near Kidder Creek were quickly contained 
  • For staff unity and bonding that is starting to happen

June 24, 2012

Camp: Week 1

Caeli and I were placed at Ranch Camp where we had the exciting opportunity to co-counsel for the week! Our campers arrived on Sunday June 17th. We went to church in the morning on Sunday, moved our stuff down from the cabin in Timberline to Buckskin at Ranch Camp, and then prepared for our campers!
 Ranch Camp was a blast! We got to spend a lot of time with horses, our campers, in the pond, laughing, singing songs, doing skits, and learning more about Jesus.
A typical day at Ranch Camp starts at 6:15 when our staff meeting begins. We have our staff meeting, pray, talk about the schudele for the day, and then put on crazy wacky costumes to wake up campers.
We saddle up our horses, brush them, and clean their hooves.
Me brushing a horse with one of my campers, Arabelle
At 8:30 we have a yummy breakfast. This often consists of someone being forced to SING A SONG. The song goes..."Sing a song, Sarah, sing a song. We wont stop singing til you stand up, sing a song, Sarah, sing a song" Each time, it gets louder and more and more people sing along until the person's whose name is in it stands up and you guessed it, SINGS A SONG. The staff put a limit of 2 sings a song per meal, otherwise it is very obnoxious! After breakfast, the campers have classes. They are: Trail Riding, Arena, Vaulting, and Horse Science. They girls are separated into groups and they rotate with their group through these classes all week. This week, I had the bandanas.
The Bandana's with Christine (a Wrangler) 

After classes, we have KBAR. Also known as Kick Back and Relax. EVERY COUNSELORS FAVORITE TIME. No, but seriously. It is. At the beginning of the week, Caeli and I used this time to talk to our girls, or just play some chill games, but as the week went on, we got more tired and so did our girls. By Thursday, this became NAP time. Gotta love it. Then we had lunch time, which consisted of more sing a song songs. FUNNNNNN. When my girls tricked me into singing a song, I sang the Beaver Song. I still honor OSU even way down here in California. My girls sang along. I was so proud.
After lunch, we had some solo time and then Cabin Devos. This time was really aggravating this week. It was hard for the girls to focus, and many of them grew up in Christian homes, so they already know Jesus. It was hard for Caeli and I (who were not Christians until a later age) to understand how best to lead them. A big answer to prayer happened on Thursday: we had a great discussion about how to listen to God and hear his voice. I was really impressed with a few of the girls eagerness to follow God daily.
After Cabin Devos, it was pond time. I really loved this time, because we just got to hang out and have fun with our campers. There is no rush for time, and we got to play silly games, talk more about life and God, and just enjoy have fun together.
Caeli and I at the pond with some of our girls
After pond time, we have some sort of activity before dinner. Activities like: games on the soccer field, Shoot for Gold on horseback in the pasture, or a night ride. After dinner, we have a cabin activity. On Monday night, we made our cabin flag. We lived in Buckskin, and our cabin name was the Chick-A-Dees.
 After that, was the BEST time of the day. Campfire. I have a GINORMOUS collection of pictures from campfire. Please enjoy. :) This was a time of silly songs, skits, yelling very loud, competitions, learning about God, testimonies, and worship.

On Tuesday night, Ranch Camp camped out under the stars. I had so much fun that night. We ate hot dog dinner cooked over the fire, and then made our own dough boys. That night, the stars were amazingly beautiful. Caeli and I stayed up talking. We prayed and the wind hissed through the trees. It was a lovely way to fall asleep all laying on a tarp close to each other for body warmth.
I have an embarrassing story to share with you all: I was sleeping very very soundly and very warmly. So much that I didn't wake up when I had to go to the bathroom. So I started to pee my pants and I woke up as soon as I realized what was going on. Luckily, I only peed through my first layer and it didn't soak through much at all. But I was so embarrassed and it was quite a night. I also peed in the woods for the very first time! Caeli was very proud of me! :)
The hoedown was one of my favorite nights of the whole week. Here is the hoedown in pictures:
Haley, myself, Jenn, and Caeli
Our crazy Chick-A-Dees
All of Ranch Camp at the Hoedown

On Friday, it rained unexpectedly, so we had to improvise our plans for the day. I got to teach cotton-eyed-Joe and the Hoedown Throwdown for 2 and a half hours. All those nights of country dancing are really helping at Ranch camp!

Here are some miscellaneous  pictures from the week:
Caeli and I dressed like twins one day on accident
Here's the cabin mid week
Our Cabin :)
Halliday and Katie with their horse Peppy
Our Cabin: Me, Rawnie, Arabelle, Kendra, Caeli, Katie, Zoozer, and Halliday
So BLESSED to have this girl at camp!
Ranch Camp Staff Week 1
This is our natural state. Be jealous.
 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" Hebrews 10:23

Prayer Requests for the next week: 
I've never worked with junior high/high school campers before-wisdom and direction
For our staff to continue to bond with unity
For those traveling to the River, for safety
For campers to come to a deeper understanding a saving faith in Jesus Christ
For rest and good sleep for staff
For spiritual growth and trust in the Lord for what He is doing

June 23, 2012

He is faithful

"when the storm is raging all around me, you are the peace that calms my troubled sea."
Beautiful Lord by Leeland

At Kidder Creek, it has been pouring rain. I love the rain. I see so much beauty in it. I see God in it. I see God cleansing his people. Stripping them of their sin and making them new creations in Him. 

God is always there. He is faithful. Even when the future seems unknown. 

"For I know the plan I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

Sometimes God's plans are not our own plans. Sometimes God takes us down unexpected roads. But he is faithful and full of promises. I do not need to worry. He will take care of me and give me peace. 

  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

At this moment in time, my future is completely unknown. My world as I know it has been shaken. But God is constant. He is unchanging. 
"For I, the Lord, do not change..." Malachi 3:6 

God, in this situation, be my constant. Become more of my foundation as I become more and more rooted in who I am in you and your plan for me. 

Camp: the beginning

On Tuesday, June 12th, Caeli and I left for Mount Hermon Kidder Creek to start our summer at camp!
Here is our road trip journey in pictures:
all packed up and ready to leave Corvallis
Stopped for ice cream at the K&R Diner in Rice Hill, OR
We made it to CALIFORNIA! and ate really yummy huckleberry lollipops!
We arrived at camp around 8pm on Tuesday night and we dropped off our stuff in our cabin and went down to Ranch Camp for campfire.

Later in the week, we learned how to belay on the high ropes course. It was fun to all train together and belay on each other. My favorite part was when I would fly up in the air trying to belay Morgan and Caeli.

Alysaa, me, Caeli, and Morgan
Later that evening, we got to watch the other counselors lead a campfire for their campers. We enjoyed silly songs, hilarious skits, and I pretty much almost peed my pants. Campfire's are one of my favorite things about camp! After campfire, we had smores and broke out into impromptu worship. It was beautiful.
One afternoon later that week, Caeli and I didn't have much to do so we went to help pick up some bikes for the Marble Mountain Marathon happening that weekend.
 Kyle, Alyssa, Caeli, myself, and David all came along. We stopped at Dotty's for ice cream! YUM.

We played "Hot Seat" which is a game that allows you to ask someone anything you want for 5 minutes while they are in the hot seat. I really enjoyed it! It allowed us to learn more about each other and get to know each other on a different level. Later that evening, I introduced some staff chaotic, which is pretty much the best card game ever. Every round, the winner was in the hot seat.

We had a relaxing weekend, and then prepared for campers that arrived on Sunday June 17th! This place is beautiful. The nature is breath-taking. God is clearly at work here and He is changing lives. I'm so excited to see what this summer is going to hold.