Final JAM Camp Recap

As I attempt to recap the last two days, I'm happy to say that I am now home, typing this from the comfort of my OWN bed!  Hallelujah!  We got home safe and sound last night but we are both exhausted beyond belief.  We made it our goal to do nothing but unload the car and play with Ava last night and that was definitely all we could handle!  Camp was great this year and we loved every minute of it, but we are both glad to have it officially "in the books" now!  So glad many of you have followed us on here this week, it's been a joy to update you and share some details of how God has been moving.  Here are some highlights from day four and five...

Day Four:

Remember when I told Ava to get used to Daddy's job and all the "oddities" it brings???  
Well I hope she listened because it's not often that you get to star in your first rap video at 4 months old!
What do you think?  Too legit to quit???
Thursday was a nice overcast day, still warm, but only partial sun.  It was actually a nice break from the heat and didn't stop the kids from having fun.  Ava and I staked out a spot on the grass so we could watch the most riveting activity in the history of JAM camp...
The Shaving Cream War of 09!
Here are the students, all ready to play, only to be told that the camp wouldn't allow it and instead, we were going to do some other lame games :) I'm not sure how they fall for this year after year, but they do!  You could hear the groaning from across the field!
While the students groaned, the counselors hid and plotted their shaving cream attack.
Here are the sneaky counselors, casually walking back to the fields with cans of shaving cream hidden in their clothes.  Tricky, tricky :) 
And here are the counselors being unleashed on the un-suspecting students (well, some were unsuspecting!)
Let the chaos begin!
From that point on, hilarity ensued.  
Crazy hair-do's!
Water balloons being launched at the kids :) 
Ava was so upset about her Daddy being covered in shaving cream, she couldn't look at him!
After the cans run out, it's tradition to set up a giant slip n' slide for the kids to play on and rinse off.
It only took a few minutes for pure carnage to follow.
By the end, most kids were un-recognizable!

After the shaving cream war, Travis spoke to the kids that night and then led them through a time of "passing the leadership torch" from the 9th graders to the 8th graders.  We had bonfires set up all across the camp and the students moved from spot to spot, listening to the 9th graders share their favorite verses.  The Lord was good to us by holding off the rain exactly when we needed Him to, and then unleashing it before and after.  The kids love this night and we all love the worship that accompanies it.  Thursday night is usually the culmination of a week of teaching and growing closer to leaders and each other and it always results in some powerful decisions being made in kids' lives.  This year was no exception.  Travis spoke about the greatness of God and His amazing detail in our lives.  He reminded us of the truth in Colossians 1:17 about Christ holding all things together, both literally and through salvation.  I love hearing him teach and I'm always amazed at the way God works through Him, in my own heart.  He used some clips and facts from Louie Giglio's video Indescribable, which is AMAZING if you haven't seen it yet.  Totally worth a watch.  Anyway, after the serious portion of the evening, we held "Kangaroo Court", much to the students delight!
Kangaroo Court is a semi-ridiculous/sarcastic/hilarious courtroom where we "try" kids on ridiculous charges from the week.  One poor girl was charged with stealing candy from a baby when she bought a candy-bar from Ava in the canteen :) She had to eat a melted candy bar in one of Ava's (Clean) diapers!  These two counselors were charged with conspiracy to commit murder after they each leveled the same counselor in two different games (each accidentally) and received a "french shampoo" as punishment.  What is a "french shampoo" you ask?  This year, it was a combo of ketchup, mustard, fiesta sauce, and popcorn oil.  Yummy :) It was a fun way to wrap up the day with lots of laughs!

Day Five:

Of course Ava chose the last morning to sleep in!  I had to wake her just to make breakfast that morning :) 
She was all smiles for Daddy though :) What a great girl she's been this week!  She handled camp like a champ.  She napped well, slept well and was very, very happy most of the day.  Such an answer to all my prayers!!
We got dressed up for the last day because it was a special morning.
Travis had 24 students who wanted to be baptized!!  It's tradition to have a baptism service on the last day, but this year we had more students who wanted to do it than ever before.  What a precious blessing to hear each of them share their testimonies and tell their parents and peers about why they wanted to make that decision.  We always call the parents of the students who participate so they can drive up and see it.  We had a great turnout and it was so much fun to see these kids publicly declare their love for Jesus and their decision to trust Him as their Savior.  
After their testimonies and some worship together, we all headed out for the lake.
Travis would tell you that after all the fun and games, the planning and prayers, NOTHING gave him greater joy this week than to baptize all these kids.  
"Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe."
1 Timothy 4:12
As an extra special blessing, Travis was able to baptize two of my cousins' kids.  
This is Emily Page :) 
And this is Megan :)  
As I've mentioned all week, here are our family members at camp!  Megan, Emma, Emily, George, Annie, Ava, Trav and I.  SO fun for us to be ministering not only to all the students, but also to our own family.  Thank you Lord!!  
And here is the big group of us, Megan and Emily's families, who came up for their Baptism.  It made me teary-eyed to think about the spiritual heritage that Ava has been born into.  By God's grace, our Grandma and Grandpa made decisions for the Lord then raised up another generation of Godly children (our parents) who raised my cousins and I up to love the Lord, and now we are raising our own kids to love Him too.  4 generations of faith.  Are we blessed or what??  This was such a sweet, sweet way for us to end the week.  It was a double blessing to baptize 24 students but especially 2 members of our family.  Our God is so faithful to those who love Him.  He has poured out His blessings on the obedience of our grandparents, our parents, and now us.  And we praise Him for it!
Although she doesn't know it yet, she is part of that heritage on my side of the family and on Trav's side too and we pray that Ava will grow up to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before her.  
So there you have it!!  JAM Camp 09 is complete and what a week it was!  We had a blast and are so thankful for all that the Lord did in the hearts of our staff and students and us.  We praise Him for His provision, protection, faithfulness and love this week.  
We count it all joy to serve these students and to serve our God!


Heather said...

Having such a camp background myself, I have loved these updates!! Been there, done that on almost all the crazy games, activities, etc! And camp baptisms in the lake....your pics gave me chills remembering all I have seen!!! SO COOL!
Glad you are home and praying you have a restful weekend- you earned it! OH- and sweet AVA was a trouper!!! GREAT JOB!

Faith said...

What a neat time y'all had! I love the pics of the baptism! How great is our God!!

Rebecca Jo said...

I was cracking up at all the picture of shaving cream & all the fun...

& then the picture of all the kids in the water & Travis with his hands up... I instantly just teared up... that right there is what its all about... new lives in Christ... WOW... what a fantastic end to a fun weekend! God is so good!

Joyce said...

I spent many summers attending and later working at a Christian camp on the Chesapeake Bay...and lots of happy youth group camps with my church growing up...they were wonderful times and your camp posts reminded me of those days.

So glad Ava was a little trooper for you...God is good and your posts made me think about how He cares about even the smallest details in our lives, like a happy baby during a busy week.

Have a restful week back at home.