June 18, 2007

June '07 Newsletter

So Here We Go...

So...it’s official. The 2007 camp season has begun. I moved down mid-May to begin preparing the grounds for the arrival of all our summer staff, and everyone has finally arrived. I was surprised to see so many new faces, as the last couple summers brought many returning staff. As our first week together wore on, I wondered what kinds of things our community would rally around and what kinds of things we would learn through the various hardships that come along with camp life. Each summer has so many lessons contained in it, and I have already had a couple of good ones thrown my way.

This summer has really been one of transition. There are many new summer staffers I get to work alongside this summer season, and virtually every one of my full-time YouthFront coworkers are either new to their specific roles or have not been at the camps for many years. I am even taking on the new role of Teen Staff Supervisor...which has brought its own set of challenges. Ever since I arrived at camp, I have been trying to juggle about a million things. From training the new sports guys to preparing the massive amounts of trails we use all summer for walking, biking and alone time with God, I have felt like I have been neglecting my main role because I am getting hung up on all the little things that are usually taken care of by this time in the camp season.

I was asked to speak to the summer staff during our orientation week, and I decided to speak on this idea of being present. Basically, I was suggesting it is better for us to be listening and watching for those campers who need to be loved by the God who is love rather than lock ourselves away and become so consumed with trying to come up with the sweetest devotion time that we end up missing out on the interruptions Jesus always took advantage of. As Jesus went about his public ministry, there were many times people would stop him to ask for healings and miracles, and sometimes Jesus stumbled onto some people He knew were hurting inside and really addressed that need. He would not have been able to do that if He didn’t have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” those lost sheep crying out to be rescued.

As I spoke about this idea, I realized my own failings in being present. I was so caught up in the things I was telling the summer staff to guard against that I was missing out on all sorts of beautiful interruptions. I was caught up in efficiency—making sure all elements of camp were prepared by my hands in a timely manner. I was keeping a watchful eye on everything the sports guys were doing, trying to manage a huge landscaping endeavor, and trying to prepare for my own role as spiritual leader for the teen staff. I had unknowingly put my shepherding responsibilities in last place. I had become so consumed with all the tasks still needing to be done that I had blinded myself from being able to see the sheep I needed to tend to (I Peter 5:1-11).

Please pray that I would have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” as I jump into week after week of exhausting work. I desperately want to be a good caretaker of the people God has put me in charge of, but I can’t do that unless I first stop and take time to let God pour into me so I can be open to seeing those who need to be picked up, brushed off and brought back into the flock. Thanks a ton for your prayers and I apologize for not getting this letter out in a timely manner. Next month I will try to redeem myself with an on-time release.

2007 Summer Staff

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