It is really
hard to believe that it was only one week ago today we hauled all those
groceries into Isaiah 40 and now the Retreat is over. Three hours ago  we
waved off the last four Teams, the first two having departed yesterday morning since
they were both flying out West.
in an hour or so I do need to walk back to Isaiah 40 because two Teams
are currently being entertained at the home of one of the Team Members since the
church people picking them up were unable to arrive until 430pm.
    There is also a large basket of table napkins
which I could not fit into my pack basket on the first trip home and which I
will collect this time round to bring home and launder. We use fabric napkins, which I
bring, from home since I cannot abide paper ones and consider them to be
most unfriendly from an environmental perspective. (Not keen on all the laundry,
but that is the price one pays for saving trees!)
   What has the week been like? Joyful, sad,
exciting, stressful, exhausting, uplifting, I could go on but it was all those
adjectives and much more.
    The Retreat Week is really the pinnacle of
the whole Day Camp year and the Commissioning Services the defining moment
when I can sit there and wonder at how the Lord has brought about yet another
   On Thursday evening as I sat watching 14 young
people present this year’s Liturgical Dance, I was moved to tears,
and as I placed a Team Cross around each neck during the Commissioning I was so
proud of each one of them. They have all given up a lot to spend six weeks on
Team. Some could have had paying jobs, others could have joined in family
vacations, played in concerts, goofed around with friends, or stayed up late every
night and slept in every morning.
    Instead they have chosen what can sometimes be
a very hard and challenging road, but also an exciting adventure and one on
which, by God’s Grace, that will be shaped and changed and will grow in faith
even as they share that faith with the Campers, helpers, billets and all the
hundreds of people they will encounter on the journey.
  So now I am home again, exhausted but truly
thankful. There is a briefcase bulging with paperwork to deal with, laundry to do,
and a gazillion emails to answer but tucked in one pocket of my briefcase is a
sheaf of thank you notes, written to me by the Team Members. I will wait to
open them, savouring the treat ahead, after completing some of the chores at
hand and after returning to Isaiah 40 to pray with and see off those last two Teams.
  Another Training Retreat is over, six Teams
are now enroute to five provinces and over the next four weeks the phone will be
buzzing and ringing with texts and calls day and night. Now comes the harvest.
We have prepared the workers and it is their turn to head out into the
fields. A part of me goes with them as I pray for each of them every day and  connect with the Teams and local Coordinators.
  There are very few leftovers for me to consume,
as at the end of most meals there was nothing left but empty pots and platters.
   One dinner they particularly enjoyed was a Panzanella, so here is the recipe: –
                                                   Summer Panzanella
1 loaf
ciabatta, cubed
organic bacon, cut into 1”pieces
tomatoes, diced
romaine lettuce, torn into rough pieces
lemon juice
lemon zest
1 tsp.
Dijon mustard
½ tsp.
ground pepper
Tbsps. olive oil
2 tsps.
the bacon over medium heat until well coked but not too crisp. Transfer to pare
towels to drain, reserving the fat.
the bread cubed either in a dry frying pan or a 350ºoven for approx. 10
minutes, or until golden and crisp.
bread cubes, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce in a large serving bowl.
dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Whisk in the reserved
bacon fat. Pour dressing over the panzanella and toss gently until well
combined. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.