This past weekend was the second of our two winter camps, but this time it was the Jr High variety. For our Jr High winter camps, we go to a camp that is run by the camp and we join a few other churches there. The camp that we had been going to for as long as I have been doing Jr High winter camps had been going down hill the last few years. Administrationally, it had been slipping and too many things were spontaneous or last minute. As far as teachers go, it was usually more miss than hit. Last year was a good year, but it wasn’t necessarily appropriate for a winter camp environment and audience.
This fall I got a calendar of speakers from the normal camps in the mail, and one in particular jumped out at me. Pondorosa Pines Christian Camp had Darin McWatters speaking to at a Jr High/High School combo weekend. Darin works up at Hume Lake overseeing the high school camp and Joshua, the college program up there, among other things. He was the singer/songwriter in the band formerly known as Everybodyduck, and generally a cool guy who appreciates jeans and a t-shirt. He’s a very effective camp speaker, communicates well with students, and remains faithful to the Word of God. So just like that, we decided to change camps for an opportunity to guarantee a good speaker.
Unlike the last camp we had, this one got off without any problems. Everyone showed up on time, and we didn’t have any problems with paper work or payments. We got going the earliest we ever have and we off to camp. Since Leah and Micah weren’t coming, I was able to ride on the bus for the first time in a long time. We played “Outburst!” on the way up, and before we knew it, we were ascending the mountains!
Upon arriving everyone unloaded, I checked everyone in, and we found our way to our cabins. When I walked in the Registration building, I was surprised to see Danny Lee checking his church in. For those of you who don’t know Danny, he was the recruiter from Master’s that stayed at my house when I was in high school. He interviewed me and helped convince me to go to Master’s. Then we went to Seminary together, where is still taking the 12 year plan, while working at his church. It was nice being there and getting to catch up with him throughout the weekend.
There is nothing like being at a camp for the first time, trying to find where in the world your cabin is in the dark. Thankfully, I was able to find the path and made it safe and sound through the woods. Upon arriving at the cabin, I couldn’t find my stuff. My first thought was that Russ, one of our leaders, had left it on the bus on purpose. This all traces back to the year when he left his bags on the bus and was left without baggage and a sleeping bag for three days. To this day, he thinks I hid his bags on the bus. I keep telling him I wish I had thought of it, because it would be hillarious, but alas, it wasn’t me.
Then I found out from another person that they had announced they had my bags and Russ volunteered to take them. When I heard this, I thought I was a goner. He played stupid, like he didn’t know what happened. After a little while, I found my sleeping bag and pillow in the snow between two cabins, and a straggling Jr Higher had my backpack of clothes. I usually know where my stuff is when we’re unloading at camp, because Russ keeps threatening for payback for something I didn’t do, but failed to do that this year.
When we came together for our first chapel, Darin spoke on John 3:25-30. It is the passage about John the Baptist deferring to Christ. He spoke on how part of elevating our faith is subjecting ourselves to Christ and decreasing so He must increase. It isn’t that he needs that which we can give to him, but that everything in John’s ministry was Christ’s. He used the illustration of the Best Man and that his responsibility is to rejoice and support the Bridegroom. The Best Man serves no other role other than to be happy for the groom. It would be insane for the Best Man to take the attention at the service or to even kiss the bride. That isn’t his role or his place.
The whole weekend was a great message of telling the Jr Highers that they aren’t the center of the universe. They aren’t the most important thing since sliced bread, and that they must submit themselves to a holy and righteous God. Their value is not in who they are in and of themselves, but in the God who has redeemed them.
After chapel, we had church time, where we spoke about how we need to defer in our lives. Then we had free time where a bunch of us went to the tubing hill and had some fun there until 11pm. It was nice and icy, so we were cruising down pretty quickly. After a late night corn dog snack, we headed to our cabins for the night, which is always half the battle with Jr Highers. I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Ian Graves, Matt Graves, Roger Morby, Dave Scott, Bob Hastings, and whoever else was a leader who had the misfortune of being my leader in the cabin at camps. I guess this is cosmic payback.
Day 2 and 3 to come!