Saturday, June 9, 2007

To Branson and Back

About 10 days ago I left Jacksonville for a trip to the Branson, Missouri with a group of 34 junior and senior high school students to a Christian sports camp for urban kids called KAA. After about 24 hours on the bus I was ready to either:

A. Stab myself in the leg with a sharpened toothbrush so I could go to a hospital
B. Get off the bus

Luckily, before any bodily harm could be inflicted we arrived at KAA. Once we got to the the camp, the kids went to their cabins to begin their program and the chaperones (such as myself) started our own program. We kept busy with various activities such as seminars, roundtables, and some very hardcore games of tetherball, while the kids played various sports, had bible studies and heard speakers. The week went extremely quickly and for me the neatest thing was getting to fellowship and learn from the other chaperones in my cabin. There were about 15 men in our cabin and I was by far the youngest and only one of two Caucasians, putting me in a situation where I was a minority in two ways (and I'm a big fan of any and all comfort zone stretching experiences). It was a great experience just to sit and learn from the other guys and to hear about their lives. It was definitely an encouragement to see how these men have lived and about what they are passionate.

Near the end of the week, the campers attended a presentation called CrossTalk, where the Gospel was presented and a clear opportunity to make a decision was offered. In all, at least 12 of our students made a first-time decision to become followers of Christ, which is awesome and makes for what should be a very busy summer of following up. This will be especially cool because many of our students have very little or no church background, meaning they are not very good at faking it or playing the "Christian" game. Instead, when they seek to learn and grow in their faith they are more likely to do so genuinely and not out of obligation.

All in all, things are going well here. The kids are fairly amazing, though at times, I am reminded all too clearly that many of them are still in junior high and have a lot of growing up to do, but don't we all?

So that's the deal.