………..and now some Stories ” From the Fields”
Co-Leaders of Team 3………..
The first week in Slave Lake was a success. Our theme has been “Rising from the Ashes” and it went over well there are posters up all around town & even adds on the local TV channel. It seems 7 or 8 of the local churches have pooled funds, ministers volunteers, buildings & food for the Slave Lake Day Camps. The first week we had I believe a total of 74 registered children. It was definitely a unique experience. & we’re very grateful to have Edmonton’s support! Last week going into the week you could tell it was not a regular day camp, like during the main presentation a lot of children just zoned out and weren’t as engaged when it came to singing, though they seemed to really enjoy the quiz & lamb last week (personally I’ve never seen lamb so well received!) and it’d been cool to see them all full of energy. Though the church we’ve been doing the day camp at doesn’t have an overhead projector they have the more modern ones, so I’ve had to scan every song to the computer the first week which took quite a bit of time, but now that they’ve been scanned & we have them saved in power points it’s just a matter of clicking a button.
This last week was the first time I actually planned & directed the closing, in the past the parish always sort of took over that role when I was on team, so it was a really cool feeling to do that & have it all come together! Oh our closing was on Friday, we did liturgical dance, while wearing kufi hats & bracelets! We also had a promise tree full of prayers & verses!
Week 2 Day 1 at Slave Lake was a success I think we had 53 campers registered. The Edmonton team 2 is here, alive & well! We had a great smooth running day today, we are already talking about fires & Jesus which is really cool because we’re not even at special friend day yet! We have a couple of the same children so we decided to do all different creative connections, switched the devotion leaders & altered some of the games. Emma & I have both moved from our billets from last week to new ones, just to take the strain off so that it’s not all just one family, our new billets were helpers last week & live next door to each other so it makes communication & planning easier!
Week 2…I think it’s just because it’s the first day back and we had way more children than we thought. There were 52; 56 signed up and we were expecting around 20. I don’t know if I can say but I think today went fairly well. There was a little bit of boredom for some kids in the special event. And I completely forgot to call lamb when lamb was supposed to come out the second time. So in stead lamb came out to announce This Little Light of Mine tying it to the story of the day – so it worked out well. When we were done at the church all the parish help and the Edmonton team and us, we all went to the beach for a picnic. It is so incredibly beautiful there! We had blue blue skies, except for rainy thunder storm clouds in one corner. They passed quickly leaving us with just a little bit of rain and a rainbow. It is amazing….and the Saskatoons are ripening. I’ve been eating so many of them – they’re soooo good!
And this story from our Team 6 leader…..
Team 6 is currently battling massive clouds of mosquitos in Northern Saskatchewan in the community of Cumberland House. Our most remote destination, the ride up yesterday involved a rather lengthy stretch of dirt road, however it was in surprisingly good condition after having been flooded earlier this year. We saw several deer and a wolf, however we managed to keep Lamb, an integral member of our team, a safe distance away.
We’re staying on reserve, in what’s known as a “teacherage” – a home for teachers not from the community. It’s unfurnished, but fortunately “Pig”, our van for the month, was able to carry all necessary supplies. We’ve been doing some of our shopping at the local “Northern Store” – they carry everything from lettuce to flat screen TVs…it reminds me of the Co-op back in Fredericton. On the lettuce front, though, things were a little thin. We’re hoping, for the sake of warding off scurvy, that the food truck is due in again, soon! Otherwise Jill might be forced to eat the frozen peas we bought, much to her chagrin!
Speaking of Jill, she and Everett are both doing well. They’ve been great teammates thus far – Everett is exceptional in his oft-reprieved role as Lamb, and Jill is the queen of organisation, especially when it comes to our supplies. I think this week will prove to be the greatest challenge – the end is still relatively far off, the kids are loud (enthusiastic, and, for the most part, good, but loud and busy), and we’re starting to get tired, and homesickness is on the doorstep for them, I think. We’re praying for continued energy and extra measures of love, patience and joy.
Our coordinator, Tracy, has been a huge asset (as well as the driver of “Pig”). She has done everything from buying us extra glue sticks to researching Harry Potter showtimes in Prince Albert (our nearest “big city”). She and her husband Fr. Chris (along with their dog Casey) have also provided us with our home away from home in Birch Hills on the weekends where entertainment has been everything from laundry to movies to watching a nail-bitingly-intense vote at the Lutheran National Conference through online streaming!
The kids this week, as I’ve already said, are very energetic. There are more of them than we’ve had in past weeks, and we have only the three of us and Tracy (as opposed to the parish help we’ve had at other churches). That being said, though, we feel as though today went really well, and I think we’re all excited for tomorrow.
Overall the summer has gone very well so far. It’s had its challenges (especially feigning enthusiasm when faced with yet another meal of hot dogs!), but the team has done a great job of sticking together, and maintaining open communication. We’re praying that as we go into the next two weeks, and continue to be stretched, we will “grow in the grace and knowledge and love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.
PS – from Jill and Everett. Please pray that Everett manages not to fall out of bed tonight while balancing on his air mattress, and that Jill discovers a new mosquito elimination technique. Suggestions are welcome.
We’re back in Birch Hills (our home base for the month) after our closing service today in Cumberland House. What a week it has been – I can’t believe it’s only been a couple of days since last I was writing!
After writing in Monday, I think Tuesday was the hardest day we’ve had so far. We had 38 kids, who seemed to be going everywhere at once, and all of whom seemed to need individual attention at the same moment. On top of that, we tried to run some outdoor games, but the kids (and the leaders…) were just getting eaten alive by the sheer number of mosquitos, and the craft we’d chosen was a huge flop. Needless to say, we were looking at the clock every couple of minutes, and fell into the van in a stupor at the end of the afternoon. After dinner, and time in prayer as a group, we headed to bed, exhausted, and unsure of what Wednesday would bring.
Wednesday was, however, a completely different day, thanks be to God. Prayers were answered, and our eyes were opened to what He was doing in our midst. We worked together as a team better than we had up to that point, and we stopped to see the effects of God’s love being poured out on the campers. I don’t think that it was any less hard a day (we still had the same number of kids, with the same challenges and the same number of leaders), but the difference that our perspective shift had on our overall perception of the day and our reactions to its events was astounding. Instead of being focused on the kids who weren’t participating, we rejoiced in our first camp of kids who SING. And sing loudly and enthusiastically. Instead of being focused on who was running around tackling people during the craft, we revelled in the creativity of those who were working so painstakingly. Instead of seeing the kids who were “too cool” for the story hanging around at the back, we saw those who were hanging on to our every word as we told them the good news about Jesus. Pretty amazing, I’d say! And there all along…we only had to look.
Thursday was our last full day of camp, and had a much lower attendance due to the torrential rain (only 23 kids, instead of the 38 of the two previous days), but it too was full of God hard at work in us, and in the lives of our campers. It was also full of hilarity, as are all days working with kids. I think my favourite laugh came from a camper during our “quiz” on the previous day’s story. When I asked him what type of vehicle the Ethiopian man was travelling in when he met Philip, he responded, “a Dodge?”
Thursday night we had another amazing reminder of God’s faithfulness. When going for what had become our customary evening drive around Cumberland House (preceded, of course, by the sprint from the front door to the van, and then the five minutes spent furiously hunting and killing all the mosquitos who’d followed us before finally getting underway), we witnessed the most beautiful rainbow. It is, of course, reassuring to know that God will never again flood the whole earth…especially given how seasick I’ve been known to get! What a glorious way to cap off our full afternoons of camp.
This afternoon we had our closing service. Yet another reminder of God’s work our midst. We had a much smaller group of kids, but what a joy to see one of our most challenging campers furiously waving his hand with the answer to every question about the stories he’d heard about the week. I think it’s telling that as we were driving away, we would’ve taken all of these campers for another week. We contemplated shoving them all into the back of “Pig”, but realised that we might regret leaving all our air mattresses behind when we arrived with 57 kids, but nothing to sleep on in La Ronge.
Everyone Back together!
Tomorrow we meet up with Team Four, with whom we’ll be sharing accommodations for the next week. I think we’re all looking forward to seeing them – especially Jill, as her sister Janice is Team Four’s leader. We’re off to La Ronge and more adventures on Sunday.
Thanks for all your prayers!
|Janice & Lamb in the Fields!|
|Lamb and a Banner!|
|Day Star First Nation!|
|Michael and Lamb|