Walking the line between nerd and cool.

Workcamp Debrief 2009

Several days after our return, I’m back to what might be considered “normal” for my summer schedule.  As I look back at this Workcamp, here are a few of my thoughts:

  • We were able to stop in Piqua, Ohio, site of last year’s Workcamp, and remember what God did through us in that place. What a joy it was. My van didn’t figure it out until we were on the road leading to the school. Piqua is a bit of a Spiritual Memorial for us. We told some stories of God’s work in Piqua and shared things we thought the first-timers should know as they start their first Workcamp.  We can’t do it every year, but it was great to do it this time.
  • This was our longest drive for Workcamp in a while.  About 32 hours total when we were all finished. Car rides are some of the best times as people get mixed around and get to know one another better.  We drew seat assignments at random with the help of our VBS Bible Buddies, colored paper and Airheads that were sent to us as a care package.
  • These were our worst living conditions ever at a Group Workcamp. Some highlights:
    • Our girls were packed wall-to-wall with barely any room for luggage.
    • Some girls combined sleeping arrangements to save space. This meant three girls on two air mattresses.
    • There were no windows in most rooms, combined with little cooling from the air conditioning. Fans made it tolerable, but not great.
    • We had cold showers built of PVC pipe and tent material.
    • The gas to the kitchen was turned off because the church failed to pay the bill.  This meant some creative cooking, including waffles for 100 people from a single toaster, corn in a microwave then kept warm wrapped in foil and my personal favorite: spaghetti cooked in a coffee urn.
  • As you might imagine, this led to some struggles for us.  It’s hard to have a positive attitude about the living conditions, especially if you’ve been on one of these trips before but as Kelsey pointed out, we were still living better than the average person in Haiti.
  • After the initial shock, our youth did remarkably well at keeping a positive attitude and not letting the conditions ruin the trip.  If anything, we are much closer than when we started, partly because of the conditions.
  • This is by far the most emotional trip I have ever been a part of.  Without going into lots of details, it’s sufficient to say that we were (and are!) pushing through a dip (see image below), both as individuals and as a group. Satan was definitely trying to get a foot in the door, but our God is bigger than Satan, and already victorious.  And because He’s victorious, we are victorious. Satan cannot stop what God is doing. Habakkuk Dip Chart
  • I believe our group is coming out of this trip closer together than ever before.  It’s amazing how God works these things out.  I believe we are on the brink of an amazing time in youth ministry, or Satan would not be trying so hard to break it up.  I wrote about big things coming back on May 22, 2008. I feel like we’re getting closer to that new thing. God is preparing “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” It’s exciting.
  • I’m so proud of our youth for rallying together through this dip. It would have been totally understandable to let the accommodations and other issues ruin this trip, but they didn’t let that happen.  We chose to focus on God instead of our own circumstances.
  • Our after-event was one of the best ones ever.  Whitewater rafting is just plain fun, but it was even more fun with this group.  At least three people were a little anxious about this part, and all three came on the boats and loved the experience. It was a great group-building event at the end of a long week. We had purchased a waterproof camera to document the trip, but we left it at the church we were staying at.  Once again, our group kept a positive attitude. We took lots of “pictures” with our hand-camera. People would pose and someone else would snap a photo with their hands. We even did a group shot with the “timer” so everyone could be in one together.  Megan put them all in a photo-book for us. Stop by my office and I’d be happy to show it to you. 🙂

And now, I leave you with some photos.  First, we have the photo video via Animoto, then some of my pictures on PicasaWeb.

WordPress is not playing nice with the video.  Click here to see it at Animoto’s site.

Workcamp 2009

7 responses

  1. sweetsoup

    Great post! Thanks for sharing…I have that same feeling about being on the bridge of something great.
    Can’t find the photo video.

    July 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    • I switched the embedded video to a link because WordPress.com does not play nicely with Animoto embeds and the previous workaround I found no longer, well, works.

      July 31, 2009 at 6:23 pm

  2. sweetsoup

    OK, I’m feeling foolish, but the link just goes to the Animoto home page…I had clicked it the first time around, too.

    July 31, 2009 at 10:53 pm

  3. You want the “Click here to see it” link under the Animoto one. You might need to refresh the page to see the link.

    August 1, 2009 at 7:46 am

  4. Darcy F

    It really was a fantastic group of kids – and most still oin the young side – it will be great to see what the next couple years will hold!

    August 3, 2009 at 8:53 am

  5. Martha

    LOVED the video – brings you right to the spot! Great post!

    August 4, 2009 at 8:42 am

  6. Debbie

    Anna called home that first night in tears, sharing the unexpected unpleasant living conditions. In her disgust she shared that she and Kelsey explored the facilities and every time they saw some new atrocity they stopped and prayed. On hearing that I rejoiced and told her how awesome God works. I reminded her that their heartfelt pleas would probably have been nonexistent if they had arrived at some agreeable lodging. At that point my heart was full of expectations of what awesome things God has planned for these youths.

    August 8, 2009 at 7:04 am

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