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Training

Finding Jesus is easy, following Jesus is hard. Surely you do not grow in your comfort zone but when thrown out of it you either grow or die. I’ve worked with several people that were miserable in their job but so comfortable with the routine they have been stuck for years. Inertia is a mortal disaster. To succeed you must keep moving forward.

Godly training is good for all life to come. It’s rather simple in design but often times difficult to carry out. John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. I can only speak for myself but there are many people I know that are almost near impossible to love. They are so annoying or time demanding, or difficult that I often forget this simple commandment.

I’m trying to write this on the bus and it’s just not working. The kids are playing bingo and our new bus driver is horning people waiting till the last minute to get over in this traffic jam. The bus is egging her on to park the bus and kick butt. She’s quite the hoot and a good reminder of why the bus ride is one of my favorite parts of camp. I’ll leave you with the most profound statement from last night.

People do not abandon people they love. They abandon people they are using.

Mole Moral~ Love is hard, hate is harder. A week vacation is little to give up to show love to teenagers.

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Death

Session five is always what I refer to as the altar call in the baptist church. Every single year Stuart does it differently and beautifully and this year did not disappoint. The bottom line ~ dead things don’t breath and religion leaves you breathless. We don’t need religion as our way to Jesus because Jesus has come to us.

His visual was amazing this year. He put these words on the steps.

God

Sacrifice

Priest

Temple

Laws

People

So we attempt to follow the laws which we constantly mess up thanks to sin. Back in Jesus day people would go to the temple to meet with a priest who would make a sacrifice to get right with God. This process is repeated over and over again. Stuart had a seventh grader running up and down the stairs while he was talking until the kid was near out of breath. He then had him stop and whipped out a slide. He told the kid to go to the top and he is now God. Then said don’t get a big head cause you aren’t really God. He had him slide down to represent Jesus coming to us.

Stuart addressed the only way to God is through Jesus issue. He said one solution is not exclusive if that solution is offered to everyone without exception. Stuart was diagnosed with covid at the end of March last year when it was brand new. He was on a ventilator and ended up having a heart attack as well. He was near death on more than one occasion. His kidney doctor called his wife and said I’d like to try a plasma exchange. I’m not sure if it will help. She did not say no I want to wait for other options she said if you think it might help do it. After all what other option do I have.

The final day of camp starts in about an hour and it’s going to be awesome.

Mole moral ~ The greatest commandment is love your God with all your heart soul and spirit and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.

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Adversity

Adversity-difficulties, misfortune.

I had to look the word up so I knew exactly what it means. Look I hated English growing up, I thought it was stupid and a waste of time. I kind of still do. Please give me math any day, any time.

Stuart Hall had the audience totally engaged. At some points it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I consider this really amazing considering I’m talking about teenagers. However the repeat campers love Stuart and for kid reason. He’s real and authentic.

It seems as if the goal of life is to avoid pain at whatever the cost. Parents try to spare their children the experience of pain but this is impossible. Jesus did not say follow me and you will live pain free. No he said in this world you will have trouble (aka pain) but take heart for I have overcome the world. Perhaps if he said suck it up buttercup no one would have taken him seriously. Most certainly that expression would be crazy sounding over two thousand years ago.

My notes are terrible even though the talk was good. Today marks three weeks since my father died. Talk about pain, that’s a huge pain that could easily leave a big gaping hole in my heart. However I know my father believed Jesus was who he said he was and rose from the dead so my father is in heaven. I also know his earthly crippled polio body has been replaced with heaven perfection however that may look. So although I’m sad because there are no more Saturday nine am chats I do have some sense of peace.

Mole Moral ~ Adversity is a part of life and since neither avoiding or fixing it work, embrace it with the help of Jesus.

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The Comparison Game

Session two did not disappoint. They dove right in to a big topic that tied into my blog earlier this morning. Comparing ourselves to others is instinctual. No one even needs to be taught this. Can you imagine a class called comparison 101 identifying your perceived short comings by focusing on others. This little game can ruin friendship, marriages and lives and social media has poured gas on this behavior and set it on fire.

How many times do we compare our real life to someone’s filtered life posts on social media. How many times do you look at something and think I could never be that great. This is a direct result of real versus reel. Your real life compared to someone’s highlight reel. They post only the best parts of their life and leave the crappy stuff off. Think about this the next time you are scrolling social media.

The comparison game is as meaningless as chasing wind and trying to catch it. It leads to a lose lose situation. Either you feel inferior to others or superior to others. I’ve experienced both but I will share a superior story that came to mind. It actually started as inferior and later turned to superior. My parents divorced when I was five in 1972. My parents were told my sister and I were ruined because they chose not to stay married. I spent my early years proving these people wrong. I graduated from college with a bachelors degree in nursing, the first in my family. I got married and am still married thirty one years later. I have a job I enjoy ninety-five percent of the time. I have three girls who are doing well regardless of the fact their parents stayed married while everyone else was getting divorced. I have to watch myself not to look at those whose parents stayed together and start comparing how they turned out compared to me. In the grand scheme of things it’s irrelevant.

Their is only one of me (thank goodness for everyone’s sake) and only I can do me and no one else. If only I could remember and live this out all the time, I wouldn’t have time for comparisons.

Mole Moral ~ If I could have one wish it would be this, that every single teenager could experience Big Stuf camp at least once in their life!

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Salvation Mountain

I wish I could remember how I heard about Salvation Mountain but I don’t have a clue. I told Emily not only were we taking the Southern route home from California but we were dipping down so I could see it.

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I read up on it yesterday as we were suppose to visit it then, but yesterday’s flat tire made our plans change. Anyway the guy who created it accepted Jesus into his heart in 1967 while in Vermont. He decided he wanted to build a hot air balloon and worked on it for 14 years never getting it to fly. He then decided to stay one more week to make a monument and weeks turned into months and months into years. He started by taking things from the dump and then fill it with sand, cover it with cement and then painted it. A lot of the time he used too much sand and not enough cement. Therefore, after four years and fifty foot high, it came crashing to the ground. He however was not discouraged and started over with more smarts.
The second time he used adobe clay and straw. He would then paint it. The more coats of paint, the stronger it became. This also prevented erosion. After ten years the mountain had gained notoriety but the area was owned by the federal government. They had issues with a religious monument at the entrance to slab city so hired environmental specialists to run tests and declared it a toxic wasteland. The locals did not agree and donated money and he hired his own and there was zero toxic chemicals nor lead in paint. So the government left him alone.
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He lived on the mountain until the age of 79 in his truck.
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He lived a simple life with no electricity, running water, technology etc. He used all donated paints on the mountain using the ugly colors for the bottom coats and the pretty ones for the top coats. He went to be with the Lord in 2014 at the age of 82.
Mole Moral ~ The location may have been shaky but it was awesome. Look carefully and you can see me at the top behind the O in GOD. Emily’s idea!!
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Matthew 25:40

I pretty much either run or walk for coffee every day of the week unless its raining or snowing. At least a couple of times a week I would pass this homeless guy who could pass for my neighbors Doppelganger. Anyway I would say hi and he would say the most crazy stuff that made zero sense to me. My doorway assessment skills diagnosed him with schizophrenia and not on medication. He seemed stuck in his own mind or maybe we are stuck in our minds and he is  the one who is free. Anyway, the last couple of weeks it had dawned on me I hadn’t seen him in quite a while.

Yesterday while getting coffee I asked the gas station girls about him. They said “Oh you mean homeless Jeff,” he has been banned from most of Arnold. However, a former gas station employee has set him up in a trailer in an undisclosed location and he is doing work such as cutting trees. He is in air conditioning and safe. They said he is doing well but still not on medication. I am not going to lie, I was blown away which made me think of the title of this blog.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Whoever this person may be, they are truly living a life of Jesus. How much easier is it just to say hi and smile and continue on your way than to actually invite someone into your home and care for them. I have a friend who would do something like this but I can sadly say I don’t think I would. One day I will have to answer to my selfish behavior while I try to justify it by all the other things I have done for people. For example the Heartprint blankets. Luckily it’s not a contest or there would be no winners.

 

Mole Moral ~ Never be afraid to admit you use biblegateway.com to find the verse you are looking for when you know what they say, just not where they are located!

 

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Session 2 The Us filter

 

Gerald started off the talk with who is your squad, crew, homies, or friends depending on what you call them. My squad is made up of current and past women’s health homies.
Everyone has a filter to choose their friends and some examples are fun, hot, popular, or the same as you. This had me thinking back to my high-school days and what filter I used. I would have to say it was the same filter. Almost all of my friends were in band and everyone knows band kids are the best kids. I think a big factor in this was the group that went to South Africa in August of 1983 Who is this Gary Lindsay character?). That trip and all the fundraising really bonded us together.
Just as we can use filters to include we can also use them to exclude. This then sets up the us VS them scenario. Although this certainly runs rampant in middle school and high school it can also be seen in the adult world as well. In the world of nursing it can be nurse vs techs or management vs the employees.
If we change our view and see everyone as someone God made and someone Jesus died for, it would change the world. When Jesus met up with the Samaritan woman at the well and asked her to give him a drink she said you are a Jew why are you even talking to me. A perfect example of us VS them. By the time he was finished having a conversation with her, she saw him for who he really was, just as he saw her the way God made her.

Mole moral ~ What if we saw “them” through him? It certainly would be a game changer.

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Session one Jesus is our filter

Stuart Hall was not a speaker this year at camp and my first thought “oh no camp won’t be right.” Yes, I know that I am never going to learn God knows better than me. The first three sessions were given by Gerald Fadayomi who is with Brown church a division of North Point. He was awesome. After session last night Josh said something to the effect that he has been coming to camp for many years and he was the best speaker. After this out of my mouth flies “I agree” like really loud. This had to be God yelling through me because I am not a loud person in a crowd of people I do not know.
This years theme is Filters and the first night was called the US filter. Everyone has a filter for their life and it’s how they see the world. Gerald gave some examples.
1. The fun filter~This person is all about fun, where the party is, or the class clown.
2. The fashion filter~ This person is all about fashion and sees the world through style. They judge people on what they are wearing. This is certainly not me as I pretty much wear Big Stuf t-shirts year round. And we won’t even talk about my lack of shoe wear.
3. The achievement filter~ This person is all about making straight A’s and maintaining the 4.3 GPA and climbing the corporate ladder of success.
4. The guy humor filter~ The guy that always waits till the perfect time to make stupid guy jokes.
5. The relationship filter~ The person who sees every one of the opposite sex as relationship worthy or not.
For most of my life my filter was trust no one and don’t let anyone get too close because I never knew when they might jump ship. This stemmed from my parents getting divorced. I did not even realize I viewed life this way until I met an awesome counselor nine years ago and attended Big Stuf camp. After I changed my filter, my life became a whole lot richer. One of the main points was how you see, is how you be. That really hit home for me.
Do not copy the behaviors and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. This would be my interpretation of some verses in Romans that I forgot to write down. God wants to have input in the way you see so Gerald suggested to change your behavior, you have to change your vision. I’ve been working on stopping cursing. Some days are better than others but I started by subing in dirt bag. I decided when I see curse words different, I will be different and no longer be a sailor mouth.

Mole moral ~ Dear God, Help me to set my filters aside so you can transform my mind. Love, CR

 

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We Are Camp Nine “Made New”

This may be the first time I have actually written about every session. I usually have great intentions to do so but get home and back in the real world and out of sight out of mind. Sad but true. The last session was about being made new through what Jesus did on the cross. All of our sins are forgiven: past, present, and future. Things in the universe break down naturally over time. Just look around, except at me. God doesn’t want to improve who we are but implement a permanent new through Jesus. So because of Jesus you stay new no matter what you do.

This all lead up to what I call the “altar call”. Except at camp, people don’t come down to the front but just stand if they have decided they want to follow Jesus. After that the camp breaks into their small groups and the small group leaders talk to the kids and pray with them that they believe in Jesus and accept him into their heart. This is such a much better way than when I was a kid. Every week the church I went to had an altar call. The congregation would sing Just As I Am which the pastor would say things like “If Jesus is calling you to come down front and you don’t come and you die this week you will go to HELL.” Do you know how scary that was for a kid. I wasn’t sure if Jesus was calling me or not. (I was around the age of 10). What if he was and I didn’t go down and I died? Would I burn in Hell forever? It was scary to get out of your seat and walk down to the front but I finally did it but I have no recollection of my age or the date or even the time of the year. I do remember going to a small room and a lady praying with me. I think somewhere around 30 kids from our church stood up. Earlier in the day 14 of our kids were baptized in the ocean. They were kids who had already accepted Jesus and now were publicly identifying with him. In a couple of weeks we are having a baptism service at church and the kids that were baptized will tell their story and then the church will show the video of their baptism. Baptism services are the best.

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This was the first year I had a Fitbit tracker at camp. I set a record for total steps for the week. I was 10 weeks post surgery and for the first time in two years had two feet that weren’t on fire! I could have done without knowing how little sleep I got. I am an 8-9 hour a day person so an average of 5 did not cut it. Although I did nap and sleep on the bus, most of them did not register as sleep because my heart rate was not low enough to be considering sleeping. My heart rate is around 42-44 when I sleep. The sign of a finely tuned athlete! Hahahaha. This totally explains why it took me three days to recover! I was talking about some of the nurse stuff that happened at camp. I was busier than I realized but I enjoy every moment. I must give a huge shout out to my roommate Lynn who is so helpful. Especially when a kid would wake me up out of a nap and I wasn’t fully awake. She would make suggestions. She was talking about not coming next year because all of her kids are grown but I being selfish said who am I going to room with and who is going to keep me on track. She did get to observe me in full on nurse mode. When the girl was dehydrated and started puking and was not responding to my satisfaction, my spidey senses went in full gear and I started bossing people around to get done what I needed to get done! That usually means I am panicking but not showing it! The kids asked me why I didn’t just start an IV and run fluids in. Well folks, that would be practicing medicine without a licence. The state board of nursing puts a paper out every 3 months and it always lists what nurses get in trouble for. One time a nurse started and IV on another nurse and gave her a bag of fluids. I can’t remember if she was hung over or pregnant but the nurse that did that got her license on probation. So there will be no IV starts at Big Stuf camp!

 

Mole Moral~ It is only 362 more days until Oak Bridge leaves for Big Stuf! I will be honored to go as the nurse again next year! It’s the best busiest, exhausting week of the year! I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is nothing more awesome than watching kids understand there is a God who loves them!