Saturday, July 25, 2009

With or Without You

Week 7:  July 12-18

Senior High Camp was last week. To be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I don’t know if God chose that week to humble me by making me realize that the “camp experience” didn’t revolve around my sweet counseling skills or what, but I felt like my mind and heart just weren’t in it like they should have been. Once again, I had ten girls this week: nine 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old. Overall, I felt like they were the girls I was intimidated by in high school. Not that they were stuck up or rude, they were just loud, outgoing, funny, and seemingly popular. As much as I knew in my head that I shouldn’t compare myself to my campers, being around them brought up all those feelings of inferiority and shyness with which I have always struggled. It made me realize how much I had enjoyed having a position of authority and importance – how maybe I had started to let it get to my head. Needless to say, I was humbled by not being in the middle of everything.

Despite the nearly overwhelming awkwardness of the week, however, I did have fun with my girls. I also learned that you’re not really supposed to sleep at night during that week; instead, you prank other cabins. On Tuesday night, I woke from the “twilight zone” to an air horn being blown into our cabin. After yelling at whoever it was to get out, I got up and saw “HA HA” written in shaving cream outside on the ground. (I learned later that one or two of the guys had urinated into bottles and poured them all over our porch.) The next night, we decided it was our turn to prank a guy cabin. Our vision was to wrap toilet paper all around a cabin, tie a rope to both door knobs to keep them from getting out, and tape black trash bags over all the windows so they couldn’t see daylight. We left our cabin around 1:30am with our supplies and hid out near the boys’ cabins, waiting for them to fall asleep. Unfortunately, our plan failed. A group of guys found us hiding and chased us down the beach, spraying us with shaving cream along the way. We then returned to our cabin, grabbed some balloons, and headed to the bath house to fill them up with water. Soon after the water balloon battle began, we were all instructed to go to bed by another one of the counselors (who had learned that two other water balloon battling cabins had woken up some of the staff workers). Thankfully, we were not bothered for the rest of the week.

These girls were competitive in the games as well. They had been talking smack against the boys all week, so we decided to compete against a specific boys cabin for Mission Impossible (a night game in which you sneak around to different locations and try not to get caught by guards). We dressed in all black, painted our faces with camouflage colors, ran fast, crawled through horse poop, and beat the boys! For their punishment, they had to eat breakfast without hands or utensils the next day. We were pretty proud of ourselves.

In all the chaos and madness of the fun and games, I really wasn’t sure how to incorporate spirituality into the group. I had shared my testimony with them during our first evening devotion, but they weren’t as responsive as I had hoped. But once again, God showed me up. He really hit (most of) those girls at the very core during chapel as Jon-Michael was speaking. We did our evening devotions in the gym on Wednesday night. At that point, I had thought that the girls hadn’t been listening at all in chapel or devotions and couldn’t care less about God. To my shock, however, every girl expressed what God had been revealing to them during the messages. One of them broke down and surrendered her life to God again after the Lifehouse skit the next night. As I talked to a few of them later on in the week to learn their testimonies (an event that, in itself, was a major answer to prayer), they expressed how they wanted to keep each other accountable for their actions and spiritual lives once they got back home. It was so awesome to see Him work – without my (intentional) help.

Another element of the spiritual growth in these girls was the death of one of their close friends before camp ( Cameron Clark died on July 1st at the age of 16. He was hiking up Mt. McGinniss with some friends and then dropped his backpack off a cliff. He suffered a fatal fall while trying to retrieve it. This event deeply impacted many of the Juneau teens. While it undoubtedly made many of them angry at God, it drew some of them closer. It got them thinking about God again. It raised discussion. It helped them realize how important it is to remember that you’re not invincible, follow God, and share the Good News with those who haven’t accepted it.

At the counselors’ praise and prayer session on Saturday night, I expressed how I felt that I had failed at my task that week because my heart and mind just weren’t in the game. I felt drained in every area, but God had worked in my girls’ lives nonetheless. I was approached the next day by one of the staff workers while I was helping to clean up the dining hall.

“Reagan, you know what you said was a lie, right?”

“What did I say?”

“When you said that you failed in your cabin. God did work through you, just by you being there for those girls… You did exactly what He wanted you to do.” (paraphrase)

I tried my best to keep down the tears but failed miserably. Maybe He gave me those girls because I was just meant to listen and encourage rather than be actively involved in their spiritual lives. Or maybe He just wanted to show me how His power is made perfect in my weakness. Maybe it was both. I may never know the reason that aspect of the week went the way it did, but I do know that His ways are certainly higher than mine.

I left quite a bit of detail out, like how my girls dropped me after my “trust fall”, that I finally learned how to play ultimate Frisbee (and loved it!), that we spent most of our “rotations” time napping… Just ask me about it later if you care to know the extended version. For now, though, pray that God would give us all renewed strength in Him, passion for His truth, and love for the kids. We’re all tired, but the work isn’t done yet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I apologize for the delay in update posting. I got assigned to work staff during Colt Camp this week, so I knew I’d have some extra time on my hands. Now, instead of chasing around little kids and trying to keep them from drowning in the ocean or falling off the sky trolly, I am a dishwasher and bath house cleaner and meal prepper and the official Laundry Queen (what we call the lady in charge of doing everyone’s laundry for the week). I won’t lie – it’s nice to get a break. Unfortunately, my break time has yet to be used for writing a real update, so this is about it for now. I'll try to post one about Senior High Camp sometime tomorrow.

My mom is coming to visit me this week! Big up to moms who fly to Alaska to visit their daughters who work at summer Bible camps.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Week 6:  July 5-11

Wow, what a week.  What an incredible week.

It started off pretty rough.  Kirk, one of the guy counselors, got sick in town over the July 4th weekend.  We left him lying on his death bed in Auke Bay on Saturday night so he could recover before coming back to camp.  He ended up in the hospital, having been diagnosed with both pneumonia and anemia.  He had to get three blood transfusions.  The kids from Maverick 1 who had returned to Maverick 2 this week noticed that he was gone because he had led worship for them the last time, so we were all pretty worried.  Once again, though, I can’t deny that God answers prayer.  We prayed for his recovery during chapel, and he came back Wednesday!  He made a glorious and pretty epic entrance into the chapel while Jon-Michael was speaking.  As he walked up the steps and into the room, Jon-Michael announced, “Hey, everybody, Kirk is back!”  And the crowd roared.  What better way to demonstrate the power of prayer right in front of these kids?  God really does work in all things for the good of those who love Him, all to glorify Himself.  Awesome.

Mondays are always interesting for the counselors.  The first time you meet your kids is generally pretty awkward.  You unintentionally form your opinions of each girl based on how much she talks to you or what she looks like or whether she offers you a piece of gum when she gets unpacked.  Those impressions never last.  Just another lesson to be learned. 

The counselors are expected to talk with each camper one-on-one at some point during the week to gauge where they stand with God.  After talking with each kid, we’re supposed to fill out evaluations for each one so the camp can know how many kids are unsaved, saved this week at camp, or were already saved.  We had received a new survey to give the kids along with their evaluations.  This survey included questions like What is sin?  What are the Ten Commandments?  How can you know right from wrong?  Where do you think you’ll go after you die?  Why should God let you into Heaven?  How sure are you that you’ll go to Heaven?  It was really interesting to see the results. 

I had ten very different girls in my cabin this week:  three 14-year-olds and seven 12-year-olds.  One of the 14-year-olds was the poster child for “troubled teen”. She dressed the part, came from a verbally abusive home, and didn’t have a much better experience at school.  She made friends by telling perverted jokes and had no problem with swearing.  She had no interest in God at all; in fact, she hated Him.  One of her friends had recently committed suicide, and she blamed God for not saving Him.  When I looked at her survey by the end of the week, I was heartbroken by the answers she gave.  What is sin?  “Me.”  How sure that you will go to Heaven?  “Not sure at all.”  In spite of her answers, she had some really interesting religious views.  She believed there was a God, but she didn’t care at all.  She believed that everyone would be forgiven in the end and that everyone would go to heaven.  She viewed Christianity as a crutch for those who needed someone to blame or a reason not to be scared of death.  I prayed like crazy that God would break down the walls of her heart and reach into those crevices.  But I’ll get back to that in a little bit.

I had several other girls who were struggling spiritually as well.  Many of them wanted to be close to God, but they didn’t know how.  I forgot how dramatic middle school is.  A few of them gave me the rundown of every friend problem they are currently dealing with, and all I could do was nod and try to be empathetic (empathic?).  Most of the girls came from non-Christian and/or non-church-going homes.  In fact, I don’t think any of their parents went to church.  If the girls went at all (and very few of them did), they went with grandparents or friends.  I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.  One of my biggest questions about my life is whether I would be a Christian if I hadn’t come from a Christian home.  I guess I will never know, but I am so thankful that God blessed me with those circumstances.

So, back to Monday.  I clicked pretty well with my girls, which was awesome.  In fact, the only dramatic thing that took place didn’t involve my cabin, thankfully.  A girl got a stick stuck in her foot.  It was impressive, too.  It was probably half the thickness of a pencil and about two inches long.  It was in the top side, running from between her big and second toes to between her fourth and pinky toes.  Ouch.  She had to be taken to the ER in town to get it removed, but she came back on Thursday.

Tuesday was when the cabin drama began.  A few of my girls (including the one I talked about) were or had become good friends with one of the guys at camp.  One of the girls got really upset when she hung out with that group because they all made perverted jokes.  Another girl felt caught in the middle between the girl who was upset about the jokes and the one who was making the jokes.  While the first girl was outside crying, I listened to the side of the girl who felt like she had to choose between friends and the girl who “wouldn’t change who she was”.  Sweet.  It was all okay in the end without my intervention, thankfully. 

The counselor skit team performed the Lifehouse “Everything” skit (look it up on YouTube!) again on Wednesday night, and the response was about the same as last time.  Jon-Michael, the chapel speaker for the week, talked about death and how important it is to know where you’ll go when your life comes to an end.  Many of the kids, including about half my girls, spent that evening crying for various reasons.  Devotions that evening consisted mostly of stories about how loved ones had died.  These girls had a lot of pain to deal with.  A couple of them experienced some awesome spiritual wake-up calls, though, which was incredible to witness. One girl talked about it during devotions, and another borrowed my pen so she could journal about God for around half an hour.  They realized that they needed and actually wanted Him.  Oh, sweet goodness.

I’m not sure I had ever prayed so much in such a short time span.  I came to a much better understanding of what it means to “pray without ceasing.”  I told many of my girls that, as you get to know God better and better, prayer just becomes natural.  I pray when I’m walking around camp, sitting in the bathroom, lying in bed, everywhere.  There’s nothing like having a true, growing relationship with God – when Christianity is a lifestyle rather than a label.  Probably as a result of talking to God so much, I could tell that He was talking back through me.  There were so many times where I was convinced that the words coming out of my mouth were not from me.  As I told my girls my story during devotions or answered their questions about God or gave my testimony in chapel on Friday, I knew that my words were not my own.  I got so pumped up during my testimony that I was out of breath!  I focused a lot on the times I found God during times of deep loneliness and how He worked through those trials of my life to bring me true joy and satisfaction in Him.  At the end, I read Psalm 73:23-26, which says, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” 

I also don’t think I’ve gotten so much water dumped on me in such a short time span.  Since it was a hot and sunny week, we played a lot of water games outside.  One of the games involved being blindfolded and searching for a water gun in the sand.  Once you find the water gun, you squirt other people with it until you find theirs.  In a round with all the other counselors, I never found mine, so I got shot by everyone and then a hose to the head.  A popular phrase around here is “for the kids” (or “FTK” for short).  It’s the only response there is for the times you find yourself looking ridiculous while dancing in chapel or wearing tacky outfits on themed dress-up days or getting a pie smashed in your face for losing a cabin competition.  This was one of those times, I guess.  Another one of those times was the day I decided to read my mail before doing the ritual Gray Squirrel dance after dinner.  I said that I only wanted to read it and that I would do the dance anyway, but I guess that didn’t cut it.  They made those of us who were impatient get on our knees while singing the song, and then we got water dumped on our heads.  FTK.  I guess I’ll know better for next time.  I also got water thrown at me by a kid who didn’t appreciate me chasing him down with a noodle (the swimming pool kind) during Storm the Castle.  That was only for him, though. 

Friday was my favorite day of the week.  It was the day of Crud War, which was something I hadn’t participated in since I went to church camp in high school.  The whole point of Crud War is to throw lots of gross stuff at other people.  I got shaving cream smeared all over my face, potato/cheese/cream/noodle/meat slop in my hair, and flour in my ear.  Nice.  We all ran into the ocean to wash the gross off before showering.  It was the first time I had actually fully submerged myself in the Pacific Ocean, so I guess that was epic.  After chapel, we had the campfire.  Unlike the last one, where we sang silly songs and talked about all the good times, this campfire included worship and testimonies shared by the kids.  One of the kids who shared was the guy that all my girls loved hanging out with.  We learned that he had struggled with some pretty intense depression recently and had wanted to kill himself before being turned in by a friend from school.  He wasn’t sure where he stood with God now, but he knew he wanted to come back to Him.  This hit four of my girls right at the core.  When we got back to the cabin that night, three of them really wanted to share their testimonies, so we stayed up until just after 1am doing that.  One of them talked about how she had struggled with self-image.  Another talked about how she had cut herself, and battled with depression, been abused from her stepdad, and had dealt with suicidal thoughts.  Finally, the girl I talked about earlier shared.  Before sharing, though, she prayed aloud for the previous girl.  I couldn’t believe it.  I thought this girl wanted absolutely nothing to do with God, and here she was, sincerely praying for one of her friends!  After telling her life story, she said that she now believed in God and had a greater respect for Christianity.  Unbelievable.  There is a God!  Needless to say, this was the highlight of my week.  I had prayed so hard for this girl to let God in, and I saw it right there in front of my eyes.  God answers prayer.

Even though this girl wasn’t ready to accept Christ into her life at the end of this week, she told me she might start reading her Bible.  Since she didn’t have one of her own that wasn’t a children’s Bible, I gave her one of the camp’s.  On the inside cover, I wrote a note that told her about how much God loved her and would always stand by her side and that I hoped she would really get into the Word and eventually put her faith in Him.  She was so grateful.  I hope and pray that she actually reads it.  If you think about it, please pray for her.

God answers prayer.  If it seems like He doesn’t, then keep praying.  “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Luke 11:10.  So pray big.

Speaking of prayer, the only senior high week of this summer starts tomorrow.  I will be counseling again.  Please pray that God prepares the hearts of the campers and counselors.  I expect nothing less than greatness.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zoo Station

Week 5:  June 28-July 4

Blog update, blog update. I never really know how to start these (or continue or end them). I always try to mentally note everything I want to write throughout the week, but I usually forget most of it, and the end result is never the same as what I expect. So we’ll see where this goes. As you will see, it’s pretty long and a little disconnected because I wrote it over the period of a couple of days. Hopefully it all makes sense in the end.


As I am writing this, I am sitting in the dining hall, in a chair, with my legs propped up on a windowsill, facing the front beach. It’s a beautiful day outside—probably in the 70s with clear blue skies—as opposed to every other day this week, where it was probably in the low 50s and overcast and drizzly. There’s a slight breeze outside, and I can see the ocean water moving with it. The mountains are a pale bluish gray against the greenish blue of the water. The hummingbirds are swarming around the feeder as usual. I forgot to mention how many hummingbirds are around here. I’ve seen probably fifteen or twenty at a time around one of the two feeders, and Pat, our cook, has to fill up each of them about four times a day. Last weekend I got to stand outside with the feeder in my hands while the little birds landed on my fingers and drank the sugar water.

The first Colt camp week is over. In case you forgot, Colt camp is for the 7- to 9-year-olds. To be completely honest, I wasn’t excited at all about counseling this week. I was tired of getting assigned to little kids, as it often felt more like glorified babysitting than spiritually guiding. On Monday morning, I was tired, the weather was yucky, and my heart just wasn’t feeling the joy that it should have been. And I was called out on it. And it was humbling. I was asked why I was tired—since I had essentially gotten the weekend off—and whether I had prayed about it. I realized at that moment that I hadn’t prayed about it at all. So after I finished mopping the dining hall after breakfast, I headed to my cabin for the week and prayed. I asked God to help me be joyful, that He would bless each of my girls, and that He would give me the strength, endurance, and wisdom to do His work this week.


It’s a little later now. We just got done with our praise and prayer session for the week. The adults have now taken off their “counselor” suits and given full vent to the wild and crazy that has been building up inside of them for the past few days. It happens every weekend after the kids leave. Tomorrow the group is going to town to sight see, shop, and be in the July Fourth parade. It’s supposed to be a pretty big deal around town, so it should be a pretty good time.


It is now Saturday evening, and we just returned from town. It was a blast. The weather was hot (80s) but absolutely gorgeous. We drove into Auke Bay/Juneau on Thursday afternoon. Half the group decided to hike up to the Mendenhall Glacier, and the other half did the tourist thing downtown. I chose the latter. We did get to see the glacier from a distance, though (and a little black bear cub wandering near a neighborhood on the way there!). There were icebergs floating in the water around it. It was probably the most Alaskan thing I’ve seen so far.

When we got into downtown Juneau, I walked around with a few other counselors and hit every souvenir shop ever. I spent a pretty decent amount of money on Alaskan gear for my family (and Ashley). The highlight of the day was probably hanging out at Heritage Coffee Company and ordering coconut/chocolate gelato and a London fog. I haven’t chilled in a coffee shop since I left home, and it was glorious. I also had the opportunity to make a bunch of phone calls, so that was refreshing as well. Ashley and I did our usual hour-ish conversation, and I talked to each of my family members for varying amounts of time. I ate at the Twisted Fish for dinner and had Alaskan lox and salmon on mini bagels. It was kind of gross.

That evening was interesting. We gathered with the rest of Juneau near the docks to watch the fireworks. It doesn’t get darker around there until 11:30 or 12, so they started around midnight. The people there are fascinating. I told a couple others on staff that this was not the Alaska I expected. Whenever I thought of this state, I always pictured snow and Eskimos. I wouldn’t expect “real” people to live here. But there are emo and goth and punk rocker kids here in Alaska, just like anywhere else. There are also the adults who walk around drunk, high, and/or scantily clad. And there are also the “normal” folk, the granola, the tourist. You will find every type of person in that city. It was neat to see the natives as well – they have very distinct features, almost like a mix of other, more familiar races. Anyway, the fireworks were good. Not the best show of all time, but nowhere near horrible either. We had fun. Being out in the “real world” makes you homesick for camp, though. I think I mentioned this last time I went to town. You get accustomed to the “bubble” of camp life – free of excessive distraction, loud noises, “worldly” people. You learn to love being immersed in an authentic and spiritual environment with people who lead that kind of life. It’s stimulating, refreshing, reviving, food for the soul. You learn that the world is none of those things. It’s good to get a taste of it, though. You find out what kind of life those kids go home to. Your heart breaks for the souls of the lost. You become all the more driven to do the work the Lord has set before you – to go forth and make disciples of all nations. It’s a beautiful and yet sweetly bitter task.

Today was the Juneau parade. Like I said, this thing is a big deal. Echo Ranch made a “wild, wild West” themed float, and we handed out candy and camp brochures to the spectators. There were so many people! People were watching from bar entrances, rooftops, balconies, sidewalks, everywhere. It was awesome hearing so many people cheer for Echo Ranch as we walked by. This place has more of a reputation than I had expected. I’m pretty sure about every kid ever got a brochure. As we walked down the streets, I prayed that God would use this opportunity to bring all kinds of new kids to camp to hear the Good News. I hope our work was not in vain. We ran into several kids who had already been to camp this summer, including a few of my girls. It was great to hear the girls yell my name, and a couple of them even ran up to give me a hug. I guess I wasn’t the worst counselor ever after all.


And now, back to our story. I had the privilege of toting around six little girls Monday through Thursday. (One of them was named Arwen. When I asked her if her parents named her after the elf from Lord of the Rings, she said that she was given the name because she was born with pointy ears.) I also had a JC (junior counselor) in my cabin, so naturally it turned into a good cop/bad cop situation. Oh well. Emily, my JC, did a fantastic job with the girls, and I don’t think I could have survived the week without her. The girls were sweethearts, but they were a little wild sometimes. Someone made this observation: “The thing about Colt campers is that they’re alive. They’re not dead.” These kids move. They talk. They fidget. They don’t really understand the depth of the Father’s love or the magnitude of salvation, yet the faith of a child is nothing to scoff at. While I can’t remember any specific comments, a few of my girls said some very simply profound things about God. It was incredible to hear their perspective, to get a taste of the simple and endearing faith that they had in Jesus. Three of my girls were already saved, so three weren’t. One of them prayed on Wednesday night, “Dear Jesus, I want You to come into my life. Amen.” And did those angels in heaven ever rejoice.

Passion for the gospel and service was a big theme this week for the counselors. It seemed like that passion had already fizzled out, and people were turning into robots. We brought it up during our daily counselor devotions. One guy told a story about how he could have shared the gospel with a new friend he met at basketball camp when he was 12, but he didn’t. Two weeks later, he learned that his friend’s dad had shot his whole family and himself. The story really brought the urgency of sharing the Good News to the forefront. It’s nothing to be shy or embarrassed about; as Christians, we are supposed to go out and sow the seed, and the Lord is the Lord of the harvest. As if I wasn’t already, I felt like I shoved the gospel down my kids’ throats every night during devotions this week. It probably got redundant and maybe even annoying, but I hope they don’t forget it.

That was another of many lessons God taught me this week. He didn’t stop there, though. I let my guard down this week and decided to go all out for the camp songs. You see, the camp songs are all super cheesy kids tunes with motions, and they were probably created to make you feel ridiculous while singing praises. Kind of like the Bible story about David dancing before the Lord. So I gave up looking cool and just went crazy. My girls loved it, and it helped them get into the songs too. And I actually did have a blast.

Colt camp includes a carnival in the gym on the last night. All the counselors wore funny hats and were put in charge of different stations. I ran the single-holed mini golf station, which was a good time. Everyone also got lots of free popcorn and cotton candy. As far as I know, only one camper experienced her cotton candy consumption in reverse.

The girls had been excited all week about getting to ride horses on Wednesday. When we got there, though, one of the younger ones became scared to death and started crying because she thought she would fall off. After much coaxing, she finally got on the horse and was led away for the ride. When the group returned about twenty minutes later, however, she was beaming from ear to ear. She had a blast and wanted to go again – only this time she wanted to go faster than a walk. It was pretty cool to see such a little kid successfully overcome a big fear.

The worst part of Colt camp was definitely when the girls had to pack up. They got distracted every five minutes and could never get it all knocked out at once. I discovered that one girl’s mom packed her five pairs of shoes into her giant suitcase: sparkly pink flats (which, of course, she wore all week long), tennis shoes, rain boots, and two pairs of the same shoes (different colors). Nice. I can’t even count how many times I heard, ‘I can’t find ____!’ before they actually looked for it. I think we probably spent somewhere between one and two hours packing Thursday.

A five-page letter from Ashley brightened that day for me, though. I started reading it in the Trading Post while my children were running wild with their most recent purchases. I had just turned on the coffee maker to heat up the existing coffee and produce a fresh brew (free for the counselors!), so I got through most of it while the coffee brewed away. I felt like I was in a movie scene, where the main character is standing in the middle of the picture, still and silent, in the midst of the chaos and madness around him. I decided it was a good time to check on the coffee – and then I came to the realization of my terrible mistake. The pot was already mostly full when I started brewing a new one, so the new coffee had filled up the pot and then started spilling over onto the floor. Sweet. I let Emily handle the crumb chasers (another endearing term for our Colt campers) while I ran to get some towels. I guess I should start saving the letter reading for nights and weekends.

So that was the camp week. The previous Sunday was awesome, although I didn’t get to see a bear. The counselor group canoed along the cove out to Sawmill Creek, which is a beautiful creek that runs through the woods and has an incredible waterfall. When we got to the creek, we crossed a log that went over the water to the other side and then hiked up to the waterfall. When we got to the fall, I decided I wanted to see it from the other side of the creek, so I tried wading along the edge of the water (in my rain boots) to see if I could find a shallow place to cross. Bad decision. I slipped on a rock while stepping through the water, and fell in, waist deep. That water was cold! I had a minor freak out moment as I tried to catch my breath and find an actual foothold (and then slipped again), but eventually I made it out. And then I just walked through the water to the other side since I was soaked anyway. It made for a funny story, however, even though I had to pour the water out of my rain boots more than once.

In addition to counseling, I have been asked to lead worship for Maverick II camp (12- to 15-year-olds) this week, which is crazy. I like being able to provide background vocals every now and then, but I’ve never led before. I’m a little nervous, and it probably won’t get better come Monday. But, as it has been said, Echo Ranch is a place where someone becomes someone they weren’t originally because they learn to do all kinds of new things. Maybe this is one of those things. God has a funny way of working out that kind of stuff. I’m a lot more nervous about counseling, though. This will be my fourth week of counseling but my first week with “big” kids. These girls will probably have bigger issues than not being able to find their towels or needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of chapel. As deeply affected as the counselors were during the last Maverick week, I can’t imagine how this one will go. But God will move. And I have a lot of praying to do.

I think that basically wraps up the longest post ever. Thanks to Ashley, Nina, Mallory, and Bethany for the letters last week! And happy (late) birthdays to Maddie, Morgan, and Mom!