Monday, August 22, 2011

How was the last week of camp?

This blog was written Sat. 8/13/11, I didn't have time to post it so when I say "this week" or "today" keep the date in mind. I will be posting about this last week soon. Sorry guys!

This week was filled with trials and struggles and, blessings and learning. At the beginning of the week I was SUPER distracted by a few things that had happened over the weekend and in the first day or so of camp. It wasn’t anything that would normally be as large of an issue for me but I think Satan saw an opportunity in my weakness and jumped on it. I was having trouble focusing in quiet times, having trouble paying attention in meetings and during devotions, lost my appetite… for something normally so small I was having a really hard time. It became such a struggle that one night I talked for a very long time with Bruna about it. After asking a few more people to pray for me that night I went to bed still struggling with it. For the rest of the week the power of prayer was evident, as things progressively got better. As I am writing this I am still struggling, and there have been A LOT of prayers of mine asking for focus when I would start battling against it again but it became a manageable struggle. God also blessed me with a lot friends here to help give me wise counsel and keep me focused on Him. After I was able to start focusing on the camp and campers again I realized that there was a difference this week… the campers very quickly became very open with the all the counselors and from day one/two and a lot of us had a lot of counseling on our hands.This week I had the opportunity to work with Lidia, who happens to be Lancy’s partner in crime working with the kids in Miratejo (and I had the wonderful gift of having Mário and Lancy here this week as fellow counselors). Lidia and I turned out to be a really good team and God used her a lot to really pull the counselor out of me. I was kind of sad towards mid-week when I realized that I had finally gotten the hang of this whole counselor-in-another-language thing during my last week as a counselor.But then after thinking about it, it was amazing to see the work that God did through me and in me here at camp. Every Saturday before lunch the campers were given a chance to share with the rest of camp what God had done in their live here at camp. At times counselors or workers would share but I never really felt called to share. This morning was different, I was being called so fiercely that there was no mistaking that I needed to share. Me being who I am, decided that I was not going to share… I was nervous... I kept saying “well… if they say specifically that counselors can share then I’ll share… if someone looks at me specifically and motions for me to go I’ll go… if such and such a person goes I’ll go…” I even, being the hypocrite we all are sometimes, encouraged one of my friends who said, “I’m not brave enough to do that” (after someone else finished sharing) to go and share… which he ended up doing. One by one the things I listed as the “requirements” were fulfilled… the friend I encouraged even encouraged me to go after he sat back down. Finally I stood up and waited for my turn… When it came to my turn and Miguel said “ok Heather” I walked up slowly and with fear but I walked up. I shared about the impact my time at camp had had on me, the things that God used to teach my heart and the work He has start in my life.I shared Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (… well at least I shared the general idea of the verse since I was speaking Portuguese and verses are always hard to translate…), after sharing the verse I shared that even though I didn’t fully relay on God during every minute of my time here, it was only through Him that the things I did do were done. It was only through Him that I was able to share in Portuguese the effect my time here had, it was only through Him that I had built relationships and it was only through Him that I had had energy to continue. I shared that living by faith is never been a gift of mine, but that the time here was about living by faith. Camp has turned out to be a real blessing in my life, from friendships, to Portuguese, to my faith, God has blessed me here. I am sad it has ended but I am super excited that I was invited to stay here with the PV missionaries for another week!I know God will continue to use this extra time here not only here at camp but also in me.

Phil. 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Me giving my testimony on the last day of the last week

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do you ever do anything fun?

So yesterday, Sunday, was our day off. It’s the only full day in which we have no campers and basically no work. So since the weather was AMAZING they decided to treat us to a special day out at a beach called Coxos (meaning “crippled”) in the near by city of Ribamar. It was A LOT of fun and very beautiful!!! We walked there from camp, about a 30 min walk, and than we had a long time to just hang out and have fun. I personally decided to explore the rocky area with a friend, played volleyball, played a super fun game called cat and mouse (not the same from as the one I played with Lancy), Ninja, Pi-Hey-Hono, took LOTS of photos, helped to served dinner, and then walked back home with the group and watched the sunset (again taking lots of pictures which I will post when I get back to Mário and Lancy’s). Most of the group didn’t walk the entire way back since the few cars that we have here where making runs back and forth to pick us up, but about 6 or 7 of us decided we wanted to walk. It was a really fun walk and I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the workers here better (which was actually one of the biggest reasons I wanted to walk). It was a great day, full of fellowship through laughing, singing, relationship building, games, walking and of course videos and pictures J It made me realize that I am really going to miss the little community we have built here, I am super grateful for the relationships I have been blessed with and the things I have been learning. This is going to be the last week before most people here go home and I am going to cherish every second I have left with each of them.



How was the second week as a counselor?

So this week we had WAY less kids, so I didn’t know for a long time what I was going to do. I was eventually told that plan A was to put two counselors in one room and three in the other and the two rooms would each have 8 campers. Then on Monday we changed to plan B (like normal) and we were going to have the girls who are working here at camp move into our rooms with the campers and have 4 campers and 4 workers with one to two counselors in each room. I was told I would be with another counselor, Carolina. The reasoning behind all this was that we didn’t want the campers to think that camp was dead because there were so few youth that came. It was hard for the workers to move and hard for us to find a system that worked since they had a very different scheduled for campers. But we soon figured out a good rhythm and it actually ended, I think, being really good for everyone. Like I said I had four campers; Luana, Tirza, Aline, and Camila, and it was hard to get started but eventually we ended figuring how to communicate and I think the week ended well. I actually ended up getting to know Tirza pretty well in the last few days which was nice because of the struggle I was having and at times still have communicating, it was nice to know that I could and was still building relationships. This week was also a huge blessing for me because I was able to use my Portuguese more and gave devotions and added my “two sense” on most of the other devotions I didn’t give. I was also blessed with the opportunity to talk to one of my girls because she was having a hard time with the fact that her family is moving back to Brazil. I had the chance to share with her the importance and power of the Scriptures and that even though this was going to be hard that God has a plan and will work everything for her good. I didn’t solve any problems or make her totally excited to go but I hope that what we talked about will at least be a comfort to her in this difficult transition. I this week we are going to have A LOT of campers and I am super excited to be a counselor again. In our quiet times we finished Hebrews and are now going through 1 Corinthians, and God has been teaching me that I need to give everything to Him. This is something I have struggled with my whole life, I like to take credit for the things I do, but I am not and cannot do this work. It’s not my work. This is both hard to realize and at the same time the biggest blessing. It is not up to me to change the lives of my campers or fellow workers, it is my job to be obedient and let God work through me. At the beginning of the week I was having a huge struggle with that because I could get anything through to my girls but then Bruna and I talked for a while (since she was having a similar struggle) and she reminded and encouraged me that I needed to give it up to God and let Him do it. I still struggle with it, but I’m learning… slowly…

1 Corinthian 3:5-9

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.