So, for the past 2 summers, I have been out of the state and even country. I haven’t been in my sweet home Alabama at all. This summer is different. This summer I will be here in south Alabama. I’m excited to see what God does here as I reflect over my past 2 years of AMAZING-NESS. God has showed up. God has changed lives. God has used ME! These past 2 summers have been about surrendering to His will, His wants, and His ways. I plan to do that this summer as well. It may look different in pictures. My heart may sometimes ache for Africa and our orphans, but my God is the same here that He is in Kisii, Kenya, Pine Cove, and Illinois. I am not who I was 3 years ago, and that has a lot to do with the things God has done in my life in… the past 3 summers!! Here is my heart:
The summer that started it all was 2008. I worked as a counselor at Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas at the Timbers. Pine Cove is divided into different “camps” within the big CAMP based on age/grade. The Timbers is comprised of upcoming 8th and 9th graders. Total I was there 8 weeks, 2 weeks for training (I worked as a lifeguard! haha!!) and 6 weeks for camp. This summer, God completely and radically changed me at my very core!!! Being used by Him daily, WOW! We played, worshipped and worked ALL day EVERYday, even on the “off” days. It was a 24 hour “job.” It was exhausting, but I was never tired. Physically… yes! But my God is stronger and He supplied every once of energy I needed for each day. I got up each morning and spent an hour with Him. I rested in Him. With no distraction, only His kingdom work to do each day! Tiring and Refreshing at the same time. I had some incredible God moments each day. I meet some amazing people who are pictured below, but the most amazing thing was to see God change the lives of my campers. To worship with my girls. To hear and see their hearts. And to still talk to them today. What blessings these girls were! I worked at the lake as the lifeguard. God used that too! I could talk about Pine Cove for hours and how God used that land in Tyler, Texas to rock lives, but for know I will rest in Him for He is good and He completes what He starts in every camper’s life.
We aren’t allowed to put campers’ photos on-line so here are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, other Pine Cove workers.
Last year was crazy. I had already signed to go to Pine Cove in September! Mistake! Anna was going on her wishes and desires and didn’t stop to ask God… oops! But he caught me. In December of 2008 I started feeling God stirring in my heart to a different camp and to go on a mission trip… a camp and trip focused on the Deaf. So… I started looking. I e-mailed people and searched on different websites. Things fell through, but I told myself that I was going to keep going until God said STOP really big and loud! So… finally, I was hired at the Illinois Lions Camp for the Deaf and Blind AND God found me a mission trip to Kisii, Kenya to minister to Deaf orphans at Lance’s Deaf Orphans. I was pumped. There’s so much to say.
First, the camp. This was not a Christian camp, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was TERRIFIED when the plane landed in Chicago. I really contemplated not getting off. Satan attacked me from start to finish at the camp because God was using me. AHA! The camp was not Pine Cove. There were no worship services, Bible studies, or prayerful considerations when making decisions. There were 17 staff, 2 leaders, and one mission: to make the kids enjoy the summer! I liked the mission. I loved the kids. But I missed my work being saturated with Jesus and Jesus only. My heart was constantly reminded of Psalm 63; it starts with “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Camp felt dry, but my God was big. I still saw Him move and touch my campers lives and my life. I had campers from the ages of 9-91!! Yes, 91! The first week I had 3 Deaf/Blind campers!! INCREDIBLE!! Again, I could talk for days about this camp, but know that God gets the glory for it all!
This was my God-send, Heather. My Christian AMAZING sister who battled Satan with me all summer! I love her!
And last but not least, AFRICA!! My heart longs for it. I miss the sulfur smells, the softball sized holes for bathrooms, running out of gas 3 times, and throwing up because of bad butter! I miss it all, but it doesn’t compare to the yearning in my heart to return to the orphans. Me and 3 of my best friends went to Africa. The storyof getting there will have to wait for another day. We ministered at Lance’s Deaf Orphans, an orphanage in Kisii, Kenya. There are 45 Deaf orphans there, ranging in age from 3-18. They are the MOST beautiful children you could imagine. They lived at the orphange, went to school there, ate there, played there, and worshipped there. There were two bedrooms (rooms with a few cots), one for boys and one for girls. It broke my heart to see true poverty and to live in such ignorance and wealth!! FRUSTRATING! But I will have to write a whole blog about Africa. I just ache for my orphans today. Some are sick right now. Pray. Pray. Pray. But, in my heart I know their smiles are there. They are joyful. They are loving (for the most part. haha.). I miss them. Here are a few of their wonderful faces:
I am Satisfied!