Monday, April 11, 2011

[k]amping with a kiddo

This past week we had our yearly Spring Break Missions Project, which we now call GOAL: Global Outreach Acting Locally. We used to go down to Mexico to build houses or do Vacation Bible School with the kiddos, but then things got dangerous down there, and the economy tanked so more of our students used not-having-enough-money as an exuse, and Jim realized, wait a minute, why do we have to do a missions trip far away when there are tons of needs here in our own city? Plus, here we don't have a language barrier (at least not so much), and we can have follow up. And so GOAL was born.

We head on over to Camp Pendleton and camp at Lake O'Neill (a full 5 or so miles from my house!), and in the mornings our students do Kids' Camp at different sites on base (those military wives/moms definitely deserve and appreciate the break!) and in the afternoons they do different service projects from cleaning at an animal shelter to sorting at a thrift store to playing games at a retirement home to evangelism at the beach. Our students have a great time, and most of them end the week feeling much more empowered to make a difference in their own little worlds. PLUS, we charge a little extra and send the money to an international project. Three years ago, it paid for a year's rent for an orphanage in Haiti...which we got to visit last summer. This year, it should pay for 1 or 2 weeks of camp for 10 to 12 year olds in Haiti, at the place where we worked this summer. The coolest part about that is when talking to the missionaries about the hopelessness of Haiti, they said that the best way to change that is to target 10-12 year olds. They aren't too old and jaded yet, but they're old enough to start making a difference in their communities. Which is why these missionaries are so passionate about starting Sports/Leadership Camps...and why we are so excited to be able to help them!

My role this past week was Cook. I got to feed 60 students and adults...from a campsite...with a baby. I'll admit, I was pretty overwhelmed going into it. But in my morning times with God, I was reading through Nehemiah, and was encouraged by his story. He took a rag-tag bunch of discouraged, oppressed Israelites, and somehow, through a butt-load of hard work and even more help from God, they finished building a solid wall around the city in like 53 or so days. Wow! My task seemed much less daunting in that perspective...And with a lot of help from Jim and the students and other leaders, everyone was kept well fed and happy. Whew!

My "kitchen"
Students (Middle School girls especially) were at least as helpful as the Super Yard! :o) Jadon was such a trooper! (But when we walked into the house Friday afternoon, he actually smiled...and then spent the next hour or so just crawling around all his favorite places in our house!) By the end of the week, I gave up trying to keep Jadon clean and out of the dirt. Who knew an ice chest, etc. could be so much fun?!

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