Every year, our high school youth group goes on a winter retreat, and I as an old person, get to join in with them and see how God is working in their lives.
Already before camp started, I was able to see God’s faithfulness in my own life. Before going to camp, I was not that enthused sacrificing my vacation days to spend time with crazy non-sleeping high schoolers. God had to do some stuff with my heart to remind me 1) of all the past counselors I had who sacrificed their vacation for me and 2) that God calls us to sacrifice our desires for His kingdom. I was reminded of a quote from a sermon I heard long ago – “it’s not a sacrifice unless it hurts”. The widow who gave her last two cents to God sacrificed everything because God was worth it. I still have so much to learn about what sacrifice is.
As I was working through all this, God showed me how faithful He is. Out of the blue, I won one whole day’s worth of vacation at a raffle at work that I didn’t know I had been entered into! I was BLOWN away by God’s faithfulness and kindness because Lord knows, my attitude toward serving was pretty lame. But praise God for working on my heart, despite how selfish it can be (like all the time).
Camp Is Here
JW, Stephen, Stephanie, and I left Mammoth at ~5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning so that I could get to church by 2:00 p.m. for part 2 of my winter vacation. So thankful JW basically drove the whole way down from Mammoth without a complaint so that I could be rested for high school crazies.
We met at church to being our journey to Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. Here we go!
Every year, one kid brings the biggest suitcase ever. It used to be me in high school. I’ve since become better due to all my travels with travelmaster Camel. You can’t tell from this photo, but this year’s Biggest Suitcase Ever award was granted to D.P. Granted, the suitcase held both his sleeping bag and his luggage together – but still it was at least three and half feet tall. See Exhibit A.
Twice a day we had messages by Pastor Justin Chan about being disciples of Christ. I was most challenged about his message on choosing to be Mary (focused on Christ and who she’s with) rather than Martha (focused on everything she’s got to do). I have come to finally admit fully-heartedly that I am, without a doubt, a Martha. I tried to lie to myself for twenty-nine years thinking I’m not like her, except that I’M EXACTLY LIKE HER.
This message coincided with my one new year’s resolution: Learning to rest.
During free time, the kids did archery, team-building activities, paint-balling, camp fire s’mores, and games/coloring. Feelin’ my age bc I ended up just watching a lot of the activities and laughing at our kids being kids.
We also ate very well. While driving up to Pine Valley, I adamantly told the girls there would be no Chinese or Asian food. Then the first dinner we ate – there was chow mein and orange chicken.
My favorite time was ladies time – which was all the time, haha. We had three super awesome and super sweet high school girls. My favorite was spending one on one time with them and learning how God is working in their lives. (fyi – one of my favorite things is just to see God working in people’s lives. it reminds me how good, big, powerful, and real He is)
Joining us this year were an additional three awesome ladies – wife + cute daughters of Steven and Scott. Ahhh it was so much fun to have them. We look so cute in the photos below.
More girl time = cabin time fun = sleeping time + Sara brushing her teeth
Every night, the kids loved their game time. The games of 2017 were: Exploding Kittens, dice guessing, and Mafia.
MVP of the year = Tony Nguyen. This guy is one of the best high school counselors ever. He really took one for the team this year. He went out of his way to pick up one high school kid bc the kid forgot camp was happening. One of his kids flooded the room after clogging the toilet. Another of his kids broke the room lamp after jumping around. Tony was shot point-blank numerous times during paintball by kids not following directions. And a kid threw up out of his car and got gum all over the car interior on the way home. SERIOUSLY, can you give this guy a best counselor award? I was so encouraged by how he handled it all with so much grace.
After all is said and done, we are one big happy high school family.
JW came over after I got back from camp to hang out. I fell asleep on him for a couple hours.
It was a crazy jam-packed week, but after I went back to work, all my co-workers noted that I looked really refreshed. I guess spending time with God and His family has that effect on you…