God is good!!!
After sleeping a full 8 hours last night I can finally keep my eyes open long enough and my brain active enough to process what happened over Boot Camp weekend… boy oh boy was it a lot!!
Friday evening at 5pm I arrived at NPCC, received my leader bag, shirt, room assignment and loaded up on pizza and Coke. I knew I had to fill up on caffeine if I wanted to keep up with all TWENTY of my girls that were going to Boot Camp. Shortly after the girls started to arrive, my energy started to climb as I saw so many smiling, excited faces. We all put on our company shirts which were bright orange and said “TANGO” as that was our company name for the weekend. We soon find out that we were paired with a group of boys from the Browns Bridge campus. Our orange shirts combined with ‘TANGO’ were very fitting. We would also call ourselves ‘Tang’, ‘Tangerine’ and my favorite ‘you can do it, we can help.’ We loaded the bus around 7pm and were on our way shortly after that. Oh…AND I involuntarily volunteered to be a bus captain! My first thought was, ‘AWESOME! Do I get to play with the walky-talky thing?!’ Yes, I did. I took role call and thought about singing a song or two but our driver didn’t look like he would enjoy that too much. 😉
Once we arrived we headed straight to a worship session and then headed back to our cabins for a good night’s rest. YEAH, RIGHT!! My girls were so pumped up and could not sleep. I finally had to give in to my heavy eyelids around 1am and I think the girls were shortly behind me. I think….
Saturday was UH.MAZ.ING. (Phonetics is my specialty) We had a Saturday morning session (worship and a message) followed by small group time and after lunch we began our group challenges! The staff did an amazing job setting up stations of activities for us to compete with other companies. We unfortunately didn’t win at any of these events EXCEPT for the tug of war… Let me clarify… we won at the ALL GIRL tug of war. My Tango girls were undefeated and I will take that with me where ever we go. Some of the events included holding hands and passing 20 hula hoops down the line by stepping through them, eating donuts hanging from a string, dodge ball and a relay race to see what team could slide down a tarp covered hill that was coated with soap, water and I think I even saw gallons of canola
oil. It was awesome!!
All of our companies were given team flags to hold and during one of the events the male small group
leader who shall remain nameless, or we can just call him Shane for all other purposes, had an idea to steal a company’s flag if they left it unattended. He would pull the flag down the pole and put it into
a bag we were carrying. By the end of the day we had gathered 5 other company flags! We really do
all think like middle school students and that’s what makes being a small group leader so awesome!!
Ok…now it’s time for me to talk about (drum roll please……) Saturday night’s message where YOUR
daughter heard the gospel. It was presented by Justin Grunewald in a way that even spoke to my
heart. From the moment he started speaking you could just feel and see the love he had for Christ and how passionate he was about sharing God’s grace to these 6th graders. At the end of the amazing communication he invited all of the kids to pray either out loud or quietly to accept God’s ‘no sin’ and eternal life through Him. As I heard the sweet voices of my girls start to speak out loud I couldn’t help but start crying. All I could think about is how amazing this weekend was and how humbled I am to be a very small part of God’s plan for the lives of these kids.
After the message we had the opportunity to meet as a small group and talk about what they had just heard. It rained earlier that evening so all of the meeting places were probably wet and the bugs were probably out. Bugs had been a HUGE issue for my girls and they seemed so distracted during each of our small group sessions previously that we could hardly focus. I even prayed the afternoon before to please take care of the bug “sitch.” As we walked out of the chapel we walked towards an empty, well lit parking lot and sat. The ground was wet, muddy and full of tiny pebbles, but you know what? My girls didn’t say a word and they sat and got comfortable. I knew that this was going to be a night to remember. We started by handing them cards to rate their relationship with God and rejoined to discuss them. Brynn lit a candle and we asked the girls to sit as close or as far from the flame as they felt their relationship with God was. My girls sat so close I was afraid I would start to smell burning hair at any moment! For the next hour the girls poured open their hearts about family, friends, school, and personal struggle, and how Justin’s message made them feel. The majority of the girls said they KNEW God’s love but that this was the first time they had ever FELT His presence and love. The wax from the candle began to drip own the muddy, wet parking lot and the girls noticed it was forming a heart. Soon the flame and wax became our focus point. They felt as though God was forming the wax and showing His love for them and the flame was His flame burning in their hearts. I mean….WOW!! Do not underestimate sixth graders!!
As I sat back and watched these girls grow I was humbled. I had been fighting off God’s calling to be involved with student ministry for 2-3 years and submitted to God’s will this year. In our small group time he was reminding me that He is only using me as a tool to work in the hearts of these girls and that it has NOTHING to do with me. I am simply a vessel to reach His children.
This weekend was life changing, and when the weekend came to an end the girls were sad to leave but I reminded them that this is only the beginning and that we had set the stage for amazing things to come over the next three years.
Enjoy the photos, (click to enloarge) and video below: