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Archive for the ‘Forest Home’ Category

High School Camp

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I caught this video on youtube of when the boys and I went to Family Camp at Forest Home two summers ago. What an amazing week it was for the three of us to go as a family and it brings back lots of fun memories. I’m looking forward to returning to Forest Falls someday.

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I found out 2 weeks before we left that I was going to Forest Home camp in California to help counsel kids in our 5th/6th grade program for 7 days. I was pretty stoked about this. I have a heart for two things – the nations and youth ministries. I had helped out on occasions with this program, but I really wanted to go to camp this year. We ended up bringing about 70 kids on two buses. The not-so-fun thing about that – very loud and Axe deordorant body spray. The boys poured it on on the way.

I had 6 kids in my room – KJ, Jake, Dylan, Brian, Tanner and Marcos. Most of them were skateboarders. We spent the first night going over rules and getting to know each other. They were up pretty late goofing off. But the mosquitos and spiders freaked them out…and the mouse running around the floor.

We spent the first full day at the lake. Water slides, kayaking and the big inflatable Blob were on the agenda for the day. I spent most of the day laying on the beach. Then I threw C.J. – one of our leaders into the lake. He would eventually get me back be dumping cold water all over me at lunch. Then the lead pastor Jeff took us counselors down to the zipline to have some fun while the kids had their freetime. Forest Home famous shakes followed that. The evening was war night as the kids dressed in camoflauge for a night game of crawling around. I brought face paint and colored most of the kid’s hair to make it fun.

I got teased most of the week about one of the staff members – Mango (her camp name).  She was pretty and all the boys liked her. The boys tried to set me up with her. I woke up in the middle of the night with my kids shinning a flashlight in my face trying to get me to admit that I like her. Then they told her that I like her. I had a lot of explaning to do.

We had a safari the next night. I had to do the hula contest.. and I lost. Later that night was deck connections. Each counselor spent 10 to 15 minutes with each kids and spent some time chatting with them. I really enjoyed this time with my kids.

The next day was at the lake again. We had a counselor vs kids water war. Then the couselors went to try out the blob. As I got ready to go on, we had a scary moment. The worship leader of the camp came walking up and was covered with blood. Then he passed out. He had hit his head pretty hard while diving in the water. So lake day got cancelled early while they attended to him. He ended up being fine. We played vollyball later and then had group deck connections. I talked to the kids about being a missionary and what that was all about. We then had night time free time with hot cocoa and cookies.

The showers were separate from our rooms. I got up early to take mine. As I headed back to my room, a bear stood in my way. He saw me and then ran. I was the only one awake, so no one else saw him. Pretty crazy. I got a care package and a letter from one of my kid’s mother at lunch time thanking me for watching her son. I thought that was really nice. Later that night we watched a movie under the stars in our sleeping bags.

By the way, the food was pretty good for camp food. I had no problem going for seconds. We did a long hike to the lost mine the last day. Then we baptized some of our kids later after that. Then the pranks rolled out that evening. I put a fake rat in Jeff’s sleeping bag. Then our cabin got Axe’d. So we retaliated with baby powder in thier sleeping bags. And of course.. the underwear hanging on the hook for all to see. Things got serious for the last camp meeting that evening. We challenged the kids to be a light in the world after camp. We then took time in our cabin to say nice things about each other.

I really enjoyed going on this trip. It was good to get away for a week from busy life. I had fun being a kid again. But I most enjoyed plugging into these kids and building some long lasting relationships with them.

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So I’ve left the cool weather of Payson and I’m in town to enjoy the heat for a couple of days. Then I will be heading out to California to be a camp leader at Forest Home camp. I will be working with the 5th/6th grade program there. I’m pretty excited to be returning to Forest Home. I have good memories of going there with my young adult group a couple of years back. Cool thing is there is no cell phone reception and no internet access. I have conjured up some pratical jokes to play on the kids in my cabin/tent (whatever you call them). But at the same time I’m excited to be pouring into these kids lives for a week. My son Jake leaves for Hume San Diego for Jr. High camp the same week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how difficult this past 6 months have been for me. Even though once again God pulled me through those tough moments, it took more than just relying on him. I had to meet him halfway and tell him that I couldn’t on my own power handle what I was dealing with. I had to surrender what I was going through to him. I seriously love this passage.

 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.            2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)

I’m glad I’m weak. I live a pretty tough life. Yet it brings me close to God. I’m blessed with so many amazing friends and support. My life has become an open book and I love sharing it to people. I know our natural tendency is to run and hide. Its how we are wired. Adam and Eve hid after committing the first sin. Yet there is something about opening up about your struggles to others and sharing how God pulled you through. There is no such thing as perfect people.This world needs more transparent people. They need to hear about the love of Christ and know its ok to make mistakes. Its all about how you pick yourself up. And God is always there to help us up when we need him.

I want to give a shout out to my friend Jamin. Last night he shared his experiences in Sudan on stage at Camber. I love this guy. Just a real, down to earth guy who just loves Jesus. I met him over a year ago and had invited him to join my men’s group. He felt like he didn’t measure up to us ‘Godly men’ to join. In my head I laughed this off because I knew I no where near that. Then he struggled here and there through the summer with temptation. We had a class at Chandler Gilbert next to each other. We had some great conversations. He was so open to me about his past life with drugs, etc. It encouraged me so much.

Then Jamin left for Sudan to do missions work around Christmas. That’s also when my own personal life tanked it. Yet as far as he was, Jamin called me from Sudan on a monthly basis. I can’t tell you what those phone calls meant. He then came back a few weeks ago. I tell you.. what a changed man. I see someone who saw the love of Christ being shared in a tough country dominated by the Islamic culture. I see someone who has let Christ fully take control of his past life and is letting he mold the man he was meant to be. I’m grateful to God for blessing me with his friendship.

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I signed up for this trip to forest home because I haven’t been to a church camp since my high school days. Why after we become adults are there no camps for us anymore, I can’t explain. I was spiritually filled. Theme was ‘go into the world’. Ties in nicely because I’m going to Belize next month for a missions trip. There were many churches represented there. Brayline – the worship band from our church led the music. Heard some awesome speakers. But most of all, the fellowship I experienced was what made this trip so rewarding. I am blessed to go to a church with so many awesome people living their lives for Christ. I was touched by everyone, listening to stories and making new friends. Cornerstone and the Camber group has become my second home and family. I thank God so much for this experience.

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Our own Brayline provided the music for the weekend. I was able to film them and post it on youtube.

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