I drive the roads that connect our two destinations, coffee in hand, while their voices fill the space behind my head.
Two properties wait for us, filled with animal-life that my girls get to care for while the younger two and I sit in the shade with panting dogs and tumbling kittens.
Here, there are no sirens filling the air.
Here, I can close my eyes and breathe deep.
Here, I take advantage of these quiet spaces while my girls walk with purpose to carry out their responsibilities.
Here, I cling to Peace.
I glance over and watch his profile. He is telling me some story while his eyes are on the road.
His hand reaches over occasionally to brush my own, his eyes beckoning me to run my fingers across his sun-kissed neck.
We leave the crush, the heat, of the inner city and wind through mountain roads to beat the bus behind us.
It is filled with children.
I imagine their loud voices filling the air behind the one driving. After meeting him briefly, I can only imagine he is smiling.
There are no sirens out here.
There is Peace.
And we become surrounded by the grins of our campers as they come tumbling out of the bus.
The inner city has the tendency to harden the old, yes, but also the young.
I watch that hardness begin to fall away from some…
The nurse leaves Thursday night, and I take over, her phone number in hand.
I didn’t think I would need it,
but I did.
Two girls, so quiet, come to me with their troubles, and I place the call asking what I should do.
I step back into the room and as I kneel down, tears begin to fall down the face of the older one.
We leave for home the next morning and all day the symptoms have been flaring.
They are preparing for the environments they have left and any hardness that was stripped away is being flung back on.
It turns into rebellion, talking back,
sore tummies and hurting heads.
This gift of time is running out and they begin to fight against it.
A counselor comes down and whispers to us:
A small boy in his cabin refuses to come in, curled up on a couch and grabbed onto the arm rest, burying his face in the cushions. He won’t let go.
“He’s safe where he is”, Tony says, after a moment, “Let him fall asleep there. Let him grieve.”
Sometime during the long night, he is covered with a blanket and he rests.
Working here, alongside staff and counselors, has stripped away preconceived notions and ideas of what camp “should” be.
We are a small group, desperately asking for help from those outside of us, praying for each volunteer who would say *yes* to giving of their time to serve those in our community.
The mountains gave way to hills, the forests to sage brush as we turned the van back towards home just before lunch last Friday. I voiced the question I had been mulling over all week,
How are we going to do this?
And Tony, the one who wrestles with God and who has been wounded. Who voices the hard questions and trusts that God will supply every answer, reached over and took my hand.
This morning, I kept thinking of Gideon.
And then he smiled at me.
He knows, I know.
Jesus, He is gracious. He speaks the words we most need to hear, because He is the Word.
He knows that we are in need to order to make the Senior Kids Camp run.
He knows that we are understaffed and tempted to be overwhelmed.
He knows that nearly every phone call has been met with an apologetic, “I’m sorry. We can’t”.
Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many troops…”
Taking Gideon from twenty-two thousand men, to just three hundred, God defeated the enemy hell-bent on destroying His people.
The enemy looks different here, but it is just as real. There is a war going on around us, our eyes just don’t always see it. Drugs, gangs, prostitution, trafficking – these are the weapons that Satan is using to destroy the children we are here to serve.
At times, it all feels too big and we feel too small.
And we are.
However, our God is unfathomably large.
Our last camp of the summer is happening July 31st-August 4th. The group of us feel our smallness. We are praying that the Lord supplies just a few more. Our greatest need is for female counselors, aged 16 & up with a relationship with Jesus, who are fully aware that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces of heaven, willing to stand with us, pray with us, fight along with us knowing that our Jesus will strengthen and equip us for every good work.
Our prayer is that God would be glorified in this camp. That He would move and that these days away from broken environments would cause His Light to be brought back into our communities – both in the areas viewed as good and in the ones that are viewed as beyond repair.
That our eyes would be opened to the truth that we all are in desperate need of Jesus and only He can bring the peace we long for.
Please call Bob Whitney at 509.594.9185 or Tony Baker at 509.480.2102 for more information.