Summer '09 begins

These last weeks have not fit a mold. I attended People of Praise South Bend's summer camp for a week. It was my 2nd year of camp as an adult, and it was similar yet very different from last year. See my photos for a glimpse of the week. I won't provide an exhaustive rundown of the week, apart from my excitement that my team of unlikely winners WON tournament tuesday and I don't think I've ever won so much! I'll post the list of all the people that were on my team soon. Here is a little sharing that I read at our last branch meeting:

I had a blast with the 15 5th graders. I had the same boys last year, so it was a great chance to see what a year had done to each of them. For the most part they had become stronger and more confident. Helping me out was Mike Wacker from the brotherhood, as well as Dominic Raciti, John Feeks, and Patrick Couch.

There are plenty of stories about each of the boys stepping up and becoming even stronger this week, and about my counselors responding to our needs without hesitation. But I wanted to share about our evening prayertime on Wednesday night.

Each night of the week, we gathered together in one end of the cabin, and reflected on the day. As you can imagine, it was often hard to have only one person speaking at a time, as eager as they all were to qualify the events of the day; every day at camp is totally different from every other day! Then we would try to discuss struggles of the day, and lay hands on guys who wanted to be healed of specific things.

On Wednesday night, Mike told the boys that everything we do is a decision to be in Jesus' camp, or to not be. If you want to be in Jesus' camp, we can pray with you right now for that to happen. Who wants to do that? Immediately a couple boys said, "I do.". Then we all layed hands on and prayed over each boy individually. Ultimately about eight boys asked for that. The five counselors, all present despite it being late enough to be staff social time, took turns in leading the prayer for each boy.

I just wanted to honor and thank the 4 other guys for their courage and strength in loving our group of boys! It was a huge blessing for me to get to be a part of it, and the 5th graders have had a new opportunity to respond to God's love! Praise God!

Immediately after camp, I trekked down to Charlotte via the south shore train, CTA blue line, and O'Hare, to witness my niece Ella Grace's baptism! It was my first chance to meet her and I'm so excited to know her! Took some pictures there too.

Then these last couple weeks it has been really the first hit of summerish weather, and I have been eating it up. Increased running, slalom skied with my mom, and lots of time with friends including visitors Mike & Jess, and Josh, in town from Cali & Shreveport. I'm just now getting over some burn from a long sunny afternoon on a Lake Michigan beach on Sunday. The day before, I went on a Pentecost Seminar in the branch here, and am so grateful that I was able to share in the experience with many friends, both in the PoP and otherwise! Summer camp's slogan was, "Led by the Spirit", and this verse was also at the heart of the seminar:

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:14-17