Monday, June 28, 2010

my wonderful 1st and 2nd grade JEMS

this week is the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society's Conference, affectionately known as JEMS Week. entering this week, i was a little nervous because everyone talked about how many kids we were going to have and how we needed to be high energy and i have a lot on my mind, but so far these kids have been the biggest blessing God could give me right now. i am working with nine first and second graders, two of whom are boys. they are cute and adorable yet well behaved but, as Tiger Lily expressed, not in a conservative i-must-be-perfect way but rather a i'm-really-adorable-and-fun-but-if-you-ask-me-to-sit-down-i'll-do-it way =]

last night, instead of having a BBQ, we had program and broke up into small groups. this weekend has been difficult emotionally, but when those kids walked through Day Camp's gates, i felt an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. then when i found out what age group i was working with and finally the campers i was working with, they brought me so much happiness and energy. as i drew my sign and wrote their ages on their name tags, i asked them questions about their favorite colors and animals and how old they thought i was. one little girl guessed that i was 40, but i'm pretty sure she was joking. then when they found out that i was going to be a freshman in college a different little girl said, "Ooooooo! that means you're going to get a boyfriend." the things kids say :)

i'm so glad God has me here at Mount Hermon this summer. i have been so blessed by the kids and the staff (all the staff not simply Day Camp). even today, i had a little chat with a woman whom i greatly admire named Katie Flynn. she pored God's love into me simply because she loves me and we are here with one purpose and one cause: to love God and to love others. likewise, one of our staff counselors, Callan, pored into me today by leading our devotional time this morning before Day Camp staff meeting. she addressed the topic of unity saying that people often have a misconception of what unifies a community. she said that community does not happen because personalities meld together, but rather, it is formed when we understand that we all need Christ and all have the same purpose: to love Him and to love others. we should not place value on people based on personalities, but we should love each other genuinely as God loves us because God loves us. she also talked about how we as humans create for ourselves hierarchies of importance. we find a characteristic or quality that we approve of and put those people on the top and often times look down on those who do not fit our criteria for value. we do this in order to elevate ourselves because of our prideful nature. we want to be important and noticed therefore we continually make hierarchies in order to keep us on the top, to keep us feeling important. this is something that i felt like i needed to be reminded of because i because i sometimes lose sight of true community especially when i feel on the outside. sometimes, i will change myself to fit into other peoples' hierarchies instead of being whom God created me to be. i will definitely be working on that this week and this summer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the week's end...

this week of camp ended smoothly with the girls. we got together on friday afternoon and painted our nails and talked about the week and their upcoming year at school. both of them will be entering jr. high next year, so it was fun to talk to them about their excitement and their fears about this new stage in life.

my favorite part of friday, though, is always the continual name guessing game. this game, of course, happens through out the week, but becomes even more intense on friday. i give them all kinds of hints like it starts with an "m" and ends in an "a" and has 9 letters and is popular in Mexico but not in America and normally by the end of the day they think they know it...but they never do ;) i love having such a unique name. when i was younger i always wished that someone else shared my name or that i could find it on a mug or a pencil at gift shops, but now it's so much fun because most people have never heard it before. anyway, i finally told them right before all the counselors revealed their identities, which was super fun for them because just for a little while they knew and no one else did.

Saturday was really relaxing. i went shopping with Tiger Lily, Sprinkles, and Fender and then went to a BBQ at Sassy's house where we played an epic game that involved a paper grocery bag and our mouths...
so basically the game goes like this: you take a paper grocery bag and cut it in half so that it looks like a short/fat bag. then everyone sits in a circle around the bag and has to try to pick it up with their mouths without using their hands or letting any part of their body touch the ground except for their feet and, as if that wasn't hard enough, after every round the bag was cut shorter...it was EPIC! in every meaning of the word. people were doing back 360 twists and somersaults in order to get the bag up off the ground before they fell over. others use less dangerous maneuvers such as splits and squats but those tended to hurt the legs after a while. surprisingly enough, a lot of us, including me, made it all the way to just the bottom of the bag being left.

after all of this fun, we hurried back to Day Camp to watch a movie all together. that's when i received the voice mail. we arrived back at camp and i realized that my brother had left me a message saying that i needed to call him as soon as possible. i ran all the way from dorm hill to the rec field, which is the only place i get service, and called him back. he told me that my grandpa's health was failing fast and that he might only have a few more days. this news was somewhat shocking because i thought he had a few more months at least. luckily, the other girl counselors where kind and loving and took time to comfort me a little before they went to the movie, while Tiger Lily, Munchkin, and i relaxed in Munchkin's room. it was really hard, but i know that i am loved here, and i know that God has a plan even though i may not always understand.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dragon's Lair

this week at Mount Hermon has already proved itself to be a week of adventure. first of all, this is the first week for all the counselors to work by themselves with their own small groups, which is an adventure in and of itself.

to add to the fun, at the start of the week, i felt God lay the fifth and sixth grades girls on my heart; so i decided to ask to work with them. this was a big decision for me because i don't always like the activities in which the fifth and sixth graders participate such as rock wall and ropes course and sometimes night swim can be a pain, yet i asked for them. then i found out how small this week was; so small in fact that my small group consists of only two girls.

having only two can be kind of nerve wreaking at times because it can be hard to get them to talk and feel comfortable especially if one disagrees with the other, which so far hasn't happened. it's also really great having only two because i can get to know each one better and connect with them more closely and personally; i feel as though i can make more of a difference in their lives because i have more time and love to give to each one individually. i have enjoyed myself more this week so far then any week i've spent at camp; i've even enjoyed the activities =]

first on Monday we went to the boats and had Pirate Splash Wars between the girls and the boys, which ment that it was four campers and two counselors (Tiger Lily's and my small groups) against sixteen campers and three counselors (Spike, Capo, and Riff's small groups). the boys attached all their boats together and barricaded the two girls' canoes against the blackberry bushes and splashed us to death, but the girls were good sports about it and splashed right back. by the end of the war, although we had lost and had been utterly drenched, the girls admitted that they had had loads of fun.

one activity in particular proved to be exceptionally fun and memorable - Treasure Hunt. on Monday nights, clues hidden by the counselors send the kids all over Mount Hermon on an epic hunt for items needed in the theme skit. this was another girls verses boys experience that we lost, but it didn't really matter :) we ran from clue to clue until we ended up at the pool where we found a clue that read "Fire breathing above the path, be quiet or you'll wake this beast's wrath." as soon as Tiger read the word wrath, a sudden jolt of rumbling and growling sent the girls (as well as Tiger Lily and i) running and screaming for fear of losing our lives! once we were a safe distance away, we realized that the pool's water heater, which we were standing next to, had turned on and scared us witless. after we gained our composure, we ran the rest of the way finishing the hunt second only to the fifth and sixth grade boys.

the adventure continued this morning during Bible Study when my girls and i discussed God's goodness and how Esther had to trust in Him to save her life and her people from Haman's evil plot.

after our discussion, we trotted off to the slip-n-slide, one of my favorite activities at Day Camp. this week i beat my record and made it all the way past the third cones (which is a great improvement from last week when i only made it half way down the slide).

although, it's mostly been smooth sailing her at camp, the adventure has also taken a bit of a hard turn this week. aside from the fun and excitement of the kids, i have been somewhat distracted by circumstances out of my control. my GPa is pretty sick again and had to be driven down in an ambulance to the hospital in LA all the way from Fresno. it is hard for me not being able to be with GMa and GPa and let them know that i love them, but just as Esther trusted in God's omnipotence and goodness, i too must trust that He knows what is best for my family. i have been so blessed to be a part of this great community of believers who love the Lord and care enough about me to pray for my continued peace and my GPa's health.
The adventure continues tonight as we enjoy a night full of crafts and fun =]

Saturday, June 19, 2010

the start of a Mount Hermon summer =]

if anyone asked me the question, "if you could go anywhere right now, where would you go?" i would consistently answer "Mount Hermon" and often would describe specific places around the camp that i would love to find myself at the moment depending on my mood. well, now i get to spend my entire summer here! as i sit in the counselor room at Day Camp or eat in staff dinning, it feels so odd at times to think that i am finally here, i'm finally fulfilling one of my childhood dreams. i think about my previous Mount Hermon counselors Monet, Smalls, Snorts, Shorty, Clover, Doony, Kelsey, and Courtney for my family camp years then Scout at Redwood then Lindsey, Katie Flynn, Katie Wightman, Anna, and Heather at Echo...do i compare to them? can i even be good enough of a counselor to impact one child the way that they impacted me and many other kids? and what about the counselors that i am working with now? Tiger Lily, Munchkin, Kona, Parsnip, Sassy, Bunky, Sprinkles, and Chickadee for the girls and Slider, Breck, Ollie, Yuke, Capo, Riff, Spike, and Fender for the boys...can i be an encouraging part of this community? can i add anything? through God and with His help, i can do all of these things. which makes me excited to see what He has in store for me and how all of this plays out in His plan.