Sunday, July 13, 2008

a serving full of purpose (part 1)

Camp 2008 is over...but man, what a great week!
Camp started on Tuesday and ended yesterday (Saturday) morning. The week was intense.
I gathered my group of 28 to make the two hour drive to Hawkins, Texas on Tuesday morning. We stopped at Sonic which really was a bad start considering the bathroom facilities at the campground.
We pulled onto the campground at 1pm and the 10 months of planning officially kicked off.
Being a camper, i always hated the first and last day of camp. The first day usually consisted of administration, rules and getting yourself acclimated...and the last day was always packing up, cleaning up, eating breakfast and then of course, the dreaded all-camp picture.
Being on other side of the spectrum, the camp leadership side, the first and last day of camp weren't so bad. Our check-in and check-out process' went smooth. The rules weren't so bad (in my opinion). There wasn't much trash to pick up and we had our stuff packed up quick! It was great. We had a great team of leadership in order, so it made it all go so smooth.

Being on the directing team for camp made it so much more intense. We were literally up from 6am until 1am. Everyday!
The days started off with a counselor/leadership prayer time. And what a way to begin each day! Waking up at 5:40am to get to a 6am prayer time after 4 hours of sleep does something to you. And plus, you have to fully rely on the grace of God to not rip out every campers right-lung when you are that tired.
This year, my arena was games and teams. I sit on a team of 5 that really don't have much creativity on the game aspect, so it fell into my hands. Not that i have any problem with this. I like games. Plus, i have an excuse to not play the nasty games because i was in charge of points and that would make it unfair.
Regardless, the games were a success. How do i know, you ask? Well, we had at least 3 visits to the nurse (some we're just the hypochondriacs, of course) during every game! They were tired, beat up and on the last night cheered because we didn't have a night game. Most might be offended at this. Not me. One, i don't get offended too easily, and two...i didn't want to play a game either. Everyone was exhausted. It was the last night of camp!
I used some of the time during the night rallies and morning seminars to prepare the game for the day. This put me in the back of the room during most of the sessions. And i have to say that this is the place i wouldn't have given up for anything.
I was able to watch each and every one of my students engaging in worship. Engaging with the words of the speaker. Engaging with the Creator.
I sat back and watched. Watched them raise their hands. Sing. Smile. Hug. Cry. Laugh. Talk. Sleep :). I sat in the back with tears in my eyes as i saw students experience God for the first time in months! I had conversations that i thought would never happen. I watched as 7 of my students from Collin Creek walked out of the back of the room to accept a call into some kind of full time ministry. I watched students give their life to Christ for the first time. I saw them fall to their knee's and say "i am no where close to where i need to be, but i want to be there. And i will work with everything in me and with the help of God i will get there." I felt a change in me to better myself for this amazing group that God has blessed me with.
How many of those are real and not just emotion? I don't know. How many of those will actually follow through with that? i don't know. But if one out of the hundreds of commitments made changes someone's world...than the months of planning, the lack of sleep, the time away from family...was all worth it. A purpose will have been served.

Camp is a mountaintop experience. It's so easy to raise your hands when everyone else is. It's so easy to say i believe, when you know you're being backed up. It's so easy to say this is going to be changed when they have access to nothing but trees, water and 150 other Christian teenagers. But when these students drop themselves back into the grind of friends, family, school, work...LIFE. When it comes down to actually following through with these camp commitments in their personal world...i pray they stand firm in the truth they know in their hearts.

This camp took so much out of me. I have never felt this kind of exhaustion. I have never felt this kind of physical ache. I am 300% beat. But i can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it came down to it...i would do it again tomorrow for any of those students.
The Spirit was there. Barriers were broken. Lives were changed. And God was glorified. The planning process for Camp 2009 has already started. And i can't wait. But until then, i have my work cut out for me.
I don't want Camp 2008 to stay at Brookhaven Retreat Center. I want it to be fleshed out in everything we do.

This is all i have for now...i'll be back for more later.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Not sure...

July is here...but also, pretty much done with.
I figured out that i will be home a total of 9 nights in the entire month of July. Not that the things that i will be gone for are a bummer by any means, i just know how fast August is going to come.
Let's see...This past weekend we hit the road and went down to Galveston, Texas. It was an easy 5 hour drive! We met up with some good friends from college and really had a good time. We brought both dogs and they had a good time barking and being annoying along with the two dogs already in Galveston. But it was a good time watching them play and have fun.
Leo is a water dog. He swims every chance he gets. Mia is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum.
For those of you who don't know much about Galveston, let me fill you in. It's an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Not sure how many people live there, or how big the island itself is. The only thing i do know is that the humidity is about 437% everyday of the year. So it's hot...and it was a holiday weekend so i think it is safe to say that about 90% of Texas was also in Galveston during that time.
We tried to hit McDonald's, but they actually stopped taking orders (all-together) in order to catch up with all the other orders taken before. There was a family that literally had 30 hashbrowns to go along with their 25 pancake breakfast's. Surely, once that order was filled they were bound to take orders. Nope....not a one. We left. That was strike two in my McDonald's book. The first one was getting rid of Wednesday night "Buy a Big Mac Meal and get another Big Mac for a penny." People are dumb sometimes.
Needless to say, we had a great time in Galveston. We surfed, we swam, we ate, we talked, we played games and we got to catch up with good friends. It was an awesome weekend.

Today is Monday. Tomorrow, i head to youth camp. I seriously have been counting down the days for this to finally be here, and it almost is. I have a list of about 35 things that i need to get done in the next 3 hours before i pick up the camp speaker, but i felt that if i wrote a bit, that would help clear my mind and get it organized a bit. Hasn't happened yet. Non-stop phone calls, reminders, emails, text messages and people make that hard, but is life.
I am excited about camp! I really am. We have been planning these next 5 days since November 1. And finally, the test of our preparation. Are we really as prepared as we think we are? Probably not. But hey, we won't know until we're in the middle of it. That's all part of the excitement, isn't it?

So i get back from camp for 4 days, and then jump on a plane to head to Seattle for the Stevenson Family Cruise. This, i cannot wait for! Family, fun and food. What else can there be? The big soda cup! More to come on this one....

Well...i need to jump back into reality and get some things done.

That's all i got for now...until next time--
You may now return to the edge of your seats.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Diet Coke, Oil & WiFi

I am sitting in the lobby of the McKinney Toyota Dealership waiting on my oil change. Although i don't feel great about spending $60 on an oil change and tire rotation...i do get to enjoy unlimited Diet Coke and free internet. So i guess i will be okay.

We're starting a blog. We're not the first, and i know we're not the last...but we both thought it would be a good idea to be able to keep in touch this way too.

So...welcome to our blog...a glimpse into the lives of the Scott and Ashley Stevenson...enjoy the ride.

You may now return to the edge of your seat.