Final Days of JAM Camp 2010

It's hard to believe it but we have wrapped up another great year of camp and I'm happy to say we are all safely home now, recovering from an incredibly busy week!  
We took our largest group yet, we were about 150 strong with all of our campers and staff.  It was a great group of students and amazing counselors, Travis and I were very happy with how it all came together.  Our staff also did a great job this week.  The Lord has blessed this ministry with each person He's placed on this team.  Travis, Jackie, Jed, Laura, Jenna, Cara and many other faithful volunteers made this week a huge success with all of their hard work, but of course none of it could have happened without the Lord being present and the many prayers of people who covered our week and interceded on  our behalf.  We are praising Him today for the good work He began at camp this week and for the promise that He will be faithful to complete it!  (Philippians 1:6)

I fell behind a little bit this week in my updates, mostly due to my duties as camp nurse.  On day 3 we had a couple kids with stomach flu/dehydration stuff and then on day 4, one sweet 8th grader who got hurt playing one of our night games.  Unfortunately, she was in enough pain that we felt like we needed to take her to the E.R. to get checked out.  After lots of phone conversations with her parents and the decision to go, 4 hours and 1 CAT scan later, we learned that she had some discs (the cushion between her vertebrae) that were sticking out and inflamed.  No wonder she was in so much pain and had been crying pretty frequently!  We left with a neck brace, some pain meds and a treat from the store to head back to camp :)  Between doling out band-aids, daily meds and dealing with a couple of other things, I missed a lot of my favorite things this year, but clearly the Lord had this job in mind for me and these were the students He asked me to invest in this week.  
Wednesday afternoon, it was time for the annual flour bomb war!  The kids love this game and so do the staff.  It's a riot to watch and of course we end up with kids who find themselves still caked in flour days later :) Ava napped through every afternoon game, which was a blessing!  I can't imagine trying to keep her away from these messy games!  She would have loved to be in the middle of it I'm sure :) 
Thursday afternoon was our shaving cream war and slip n' slide.  After I got back from the E.R., I missed 90% of this, but I did get to see the tail end and catch a few kids and staff still covered in shaving cream!  Here are 2 of our faithful staffers :) Never too old to have fun!
One of many students I didn't recognize when they were covered from head to toe!!
Ava wrapped up the week so well.  She was just a little trooper all around.  She napped wonderfully, slept all night every night, ate a lot at each meal and just had a wonderful time!  This morning she has been happily playing with all of her toys again and getting re-acquainted with home, but I know she probably misses all of the kids she got to watch and who showered her with love and attention.  They were so good with her and so careful not to run her over or scare her :) I'm exhausted from keeping up with her this week, but I'm so glad we went.  It was a treat for us in many ways.  
Yesterday we got all lined up for our final camp picture!
All of the kids in their new t-shirts, divided by cabin.  
Jed, working hard to capture the perfect shot!  It's not easy to get a group that large to cooperate, but he does it every year!
One of the things I missed the most this year, was not being able to participate in any of the chapel times at night.  Ava's bed time fell each night during this time and although we tried to stay up and we played outside where we could hear most of the worship and some of the messages, it just wasn't quite as easy to stay connected.  However, I depended on this little booklet that each of the students received and info from Travis to know what they were learning and what the teaching was centered on.  If your student will let you, ask them to see it and check out what their devotions and chapel messages were all about.  I know I said it earlier in the week, but Jackie did an incredible job with their daily devotion time and it was the highlight of every day to see students scattered all over camp, in the stillness of the morning, with their Bible's open and their booklets guiding them through a passage.  

One morning, I was hunting down a few kids who forgot to take their meds at breakfast and I ended up in awe of what the Lord was doing at that very hour.  I was checking my med chart and organizing that at the same time that the counselors were having their daily meeting.  As I stood in the background and overheard their conversations about what needed to happen that day and how it was going to get done, I stopped in my tracks when Laura started calling on them one by one to recite the scripture they as counselors were working on all week.  I heard several of them carefully rattle off 11 verses at a time, without hesitation, guys and girls who are about the ages of all those crazy jersey shore kids who are all over the media right now. What a difference in the way they are spending these years!  I stood there and thanked the Lord for these counselors who are getting no sleep, little to no down time and yet are still faithfully honoring Him with their hearts and actions, taking the time to memorize His Word and serve these students well.  Amazing.  

As if it couldn't get any better, I walked to the chapel to look for a student and slipped in the back to hear the end of Jackie's devotion time with the students.  As I listened to her teaching, I once again found my heart in awe of our God when I heard her ask any students to come forward and tell everyone the verses they had memorized for that day.  One by one, kids were getting out of their seats to get in line.  Before I knew it, 30+ 7th, 8th, and 9th grade kids were taking the mic, reciting a verse or a passage of verses and sharing what those verses meant to them.  I'm not sure you could get 30+ adults to do that and yet in front of eyes, I watched all kinds of girls and guys, outgoing and shy, popular and quiet stand in front of their peers and rattle off the Word they had hidden in their hearts.  To say it was humbling, would be an understatement.  I was challenged by them in my own memorizing efforts!  Sure, they were receiving double points for their cabins that day, but no matter what their motivation, those kids knew God's word and had spent time pouring over it.  

This summer I've been slowing meditating on, studying, re-reading and internalizing Proverbs 2.  It begins by saying:

"My son, if you accept my words,  and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,  and if you look for it as for silver, and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."  

As I listened to those kids, I realized they were doing exactly what the Lord wants us to do in Proverbs 2.  It's been a prayer that I've been praying for myself, for Trav, for Ava and one day for Carter, but I found myself praying it for each of them.  We only get to have these students for 2 years and yet, they are crucial years for many reasons.  When I see them as a big group, it always prompts me to think about what kind of adults they'll become and who will go on to do what.  We LONG for them to live out these verses and for the protection, wisdom,  and understanding of God to guard them all of their days.  Junior high is challenging but so many of them are still so child-like and innocent, it makes me want to see that innocence stay preserved as purity in all areas of their lives.  Anytime they are spending in God's word, no matter how they get there, is time well spent and time that will produce a harvest of fruit later on.  Camp is such an amazing week, not only because we have the biggest blast and do crazy things, but mostly because we help these students carve out time for the God who created them and has a purpose for them and we spend so much time praying that what they learn and experience at camp, will spill over into their daily lives for a lifetime to come.  
The culmination of our week always ends with a time for any kids/counselors who are ready to follow the Lord in obedience through baptism.  
Travis will tell you, that of all the wonderful perks of his job, this is one of the best!  
We have each student share their testimony with the whole camp and we invite their parents and families to come and watch.  I cried my way through all of them yesterday as I heard some of the sweetest words from each and every one.
14 people chose to do it this year and it was awesome.  
2 of the reasons I was emotional were Katie and Emma, 2 more of my cousin's kids that Trav has had the privilege of baptizing.  This is Katie, who came as a counselor, after my very choked up husband baptized her.  So sweet :) 
And this is Emma, who also caused both of us to cry :) 
Every single one was precious, including one of our faithful volunteers Nathan.  Trav loved sharing this important time with each of these campers.  It's a memory for him as much as for them.  
This picture every year is worth all the headaches, the long days, the late nights and the non-stop demands of camp.  
Emma and Trav

Katie and Trav
Our annual camp picture of all our family members who are there!  
Hayley and Katie were counselors and Grace, George, and Emma were campers.  And of course, Ava was a second year camper too!
To say we are tired today doesn't even begin to describe it.  We have been "poured out" this week and now we are enjoying the chance to rest and let the Lord fill us back up.  I personally, plan to be off my feet as much as possible!  After a week of walking miles and miles in the oppressive heat, my ankles are so swollen it appears I don't have any!  Every night before we went to bed, we laughed at the size of my tired, swollen feet.  I think Carter and I need a good rest this weekend  :)

It was a great week!  We are so grateful for all the Lord did each and every day and we are praying that He will continue to stir up what He started in each heart.  JAM Camp 2010 is now officially "in the books" and we are happy to say it was our favorite one so far, for different reasons.  Thank you for praying along with us and for us. We appreciate it so greatly.  Parents, keep your eye on the Jammin 247 facebook page for hundreds of pictures to come!!  We miss your kids already :) 


Rebecca Jo said...

Yep - I bet thoes baptisms makes EVERYTHING worth while... i get chills everytime I see pictures like that... more people I get to met in Heaven! :) YIPEE!!!!!!

Big pats to all of you who makes the camp possible... without a heart for teens, it would never be a success... keep serving our Lord in such an amazing way!

Toni :O) said...

Wow, great post and recap of obviously a week very near and dear to your heart! I love your faithfulness and spirit...just truly inspires me. Enjoy your rest this weekend, sounds like you need it!

Faith said...

Wow, what a great week! I loved reading about all that God was up to while y'all were there. How exciting!

I know that those students love your sweet family so much. I pray that God continues to pour out His blessings on you guys for pouring your lives into these students.

Now, get yourself some rest this week!

Erin said...

Do you have to go to grace church to go to this camp? Do you know of any churches in or around Elk River that are amazing?

I read your stories every year about this camp and I can only hope Alex and Avin can be apart of something like this.

We have yet to find a church but it is something that needs to be done and soon.