Monday, January 12, 2009

SUMMER CAMP...Paraguayan Style

January 11, 2009

SIM organizes two youth camps a year. Jeff and Tony, as they have done before, were planning to take kids from San Francisco to summer camp in Iturbe January 8-10. The day before, we realized that 8 of the 9 youth who were going were girls that I have been spending time with on Saturdays. We decided that Jean and I should be the ones to take them to camp instead of the guys.

Thursday we packed 2 cars full of kids (we also took some kids from Yuty), mattresses and luggage, and headed 2 hours down the bumpy dirt road. We arrived just before lunch to a camp full of teens…..100 campers to be exact, plus 30 staff. This was the biggest SIM camp to date. It exceeded the expectations of the directors who expected/planned on 90 people maximum.

As one of the campers put it, “This camp was the most rustic but we had the best time.” The girls crammed into two small 14x14ft cabins (thatched roof, concrete floor, walls which didn’t go to the top). There wasn’t enough room for all the mattresses so we just shared. I thought to myself I don’t what to share my mattress, I don’t even let my kids share with me! But I too had a camper each night snuggled next to me. And the bathroom situation….one toilet and one working shower (all in the same small room) for ALL of the girls! The girls literally waited in line for two hours for the shower which only let out only a trickle of cold water. The first night, we didn’t even have a light in the bathroom (it got gross pretty quickly). There were five 8 foot tables for everyone to cram around at meal times. We ran out of food the first meal (because we had so many more than expected) and the last breakfast. During all this the kids didn’t complain at all. They all were so happy to be with each other.

It was a wonderful three days. The kids were divided into 5 groups and competed in various games and challenges, including an obstacle course called Rambo. They played in the river and fellowshipped over terere in the late afternoons. George, a Paraguayan from Yuty and Dan, an SIM missionary spoke on the theme was No Avergonzado (not ashamed) from Romans 1:16. . They were very well received and said some very challenging things to the teens. A youth band from Asuncion lead worship and the kids really enjoyed it. I even got all our girls, minus one, to jump around and get excited about worshipping the Lord.
On Saturday the kids were sadly exchanging good-byes and cell phone numbers as we left. Our kids rarely leave San Francisco (I wouldn’t have been surprised if a couple of them had never left), so I was especially thankful that they were able to meet other Christian teens who were excited about their faith. They are already looking forward to the winter camp in July. I was very thankful for the opportunity to be involved (Jean and I didn’t have a specific job – we ran the cantina, helped serve food, did other various odd jobs, and were mainly a support for our group) and a chance to bond more with the girls.

It was good to be back home. The little ones had done great for Jeff and they were excited to see me back. I lost so much energy when my teen years were up! I was exhausted after two nights of little sleep. First I ate (remember the food storage), the showered (remember the shower situation) and then I took a nap on a mattress by myself.

So now what? None of the girls have made a public decision to follow Christ, but I know that seeds were watered a bit more through this experience. We will keep meeting every weekend and talking about what it means to have fellowship with Jesus.

All campers

Youth from San Francisco

After the obstacle course "Rambo"

Fun at the river

the shower line


co 2009 Amy McKissick


Abbie said...

Wow Wask, that sounds great. Well, I mean, sounds like it was great for the kids. :) Good job being a good sharer! I'm praying for your group of girls.

Naomi said...

I am sure you planted many seeds. Sounds fun. I am sure Jeff appreciates you even more after you were gone.