Tonight was the midweek trip to see the Global Outreach (GO!) Team at camp. We were told up front it was optional, partly because what should have only been about a one hour bus ride was going to be nearly three hours due to a landslide. Three hours each way plus dinner and time with the GO team around camp.
On the way there we could see a castle in the distance. A team member commented to me that he had already seen enough castles for a lifetime. He was not saying he did not like castles, actually the contrary, but made the point that he came for the fellowship not the destination. The people he would connect with while going there, serving there, and coming back were his reasons for going far.
I went simply to encourage the GO team with my support by showing up. I had heard their energy was taxed, and there had been some challenges which made it tough to focus on their mission. When we arrived we were told we would have an opportunity to speak in English with the student campers… And talk they did! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and learning a bit about their lives, how much fun they were having at camp, and what their favorite parts of camp were so far.
One camper, who was standing in a group of four, was very excited and told us she had never been to a camp like this before and how much she was really enjoying it. She did not know the others before coming to camp but they were all friends now. One or two had been to the camp last year or before, and they too said they were having fun. I asked what they liked best about the camp and one said, “Erika! She is very smart, and teaches us Spanish, and line dancing, and games, and talks with us.” All of the others eagerly agreed.
For those who don’t know, Erika leads the GO team and I am sure bears a greater weight of feeling responsible. Leaders often wonder whether they are performing well, if things are working out or falling apart, get up earlier, stay up later, and do a ton of work behind the scenes with little acknowledgement or affirmation (kinda like teachers.)
God doesn’t always show me why He asks me to go far, but this evening He did. Before we departed I got to connect with Erika and told her she and the team were making quite the impression on the campers, who all said how much they were already enjoying camp, and especially her. She was touched to tears and thanked me for the encouragement, and for coming. I didn’t mean for her to cry, but at least they were happy tears.
It was worth it – to go far – just to be with and build up and encourage. I’d give up all of the castles in the world for that one moment repeated in the lives of those we were called to go far and serve. I believe the Lord has multiplied your prayers and that is already happening, and will continue to happen.
Thanks for encouraging us with your prayers!