This is officially the last week of summer camp here at Hidden Lake, very soon a cool breeze will begin to gently kiss our cheeks, the leaves will change from green to radiant shades of reds + oranges and a new season will be unveiled in all its splendor. Of corse we have an entire new summer to look forward to + plan for, but the end is bitter sweet.
I have not written much on what we do here during the summer because, to be honest, this was all new to us. I was not entirely sure what God had instore. I needed to live the adventure and walk the journey before I could share. But now that this summer is coming to a close I can share some of the amazing new challenges God is calling us to.
What is Summer Camp?
Summer Camp here at Life Teen Hidden Lake is a time for teens to draw closer to God. Groups of teens arrive every Monday with their youth minister, core team (adults who volunteer to work with the kids at their church) and their priests to experience a week full of new challenges. These challenges include obstacle courses, low and high ropes courses, a climbing wall, messy games, mud pit, a huge lake, paddle boarding, kayaking, the blob… but most of all PRAYER. Their day is fully wrapped in prayer + breaking open the word of God. Each morning begins with personal prayer followed by community morning prayer. Then its off to one of the amazing adventures listed above. Lunch renews us with a little relaxing lake time giving our food time to digest. Evening is ushered in by a beautiful talk or witness to Gods love for us and is followed by a time of prayer which could include adoration, mass, journaling, scripture and much more. Through out this entire week each day is wrapped in prayer and filled with fun, adventure and the beautiful surroundings of nature.
What does Brandon Do?
Brandon is the Camp Director and oversees all that takes place in this faith filled camp gently nestled in the Georgia mountains. He has an amazing full time staff who is here all year round, a service crew staff who is here for all 12 weeks of camp and a group of summer staff that changes out for two sessions of 6 weeks each. This gives us a total of about 50 inspiring young adults who have dedicated their summer to missionary life and to help ignite a Glory filled summer camp that host between 200-300 teens each week for 12 amazing weeks. Brandon has always wanted to be a father and as many of you know we have not been able to achieve a pregnancy in the last 6 years. But here at Camp I can see him following his calling to be an amazing father. Working with the young adults (mostly college age) is a beautiful and inspiring challenge that keeps his heart ablaze for Christ. He also has the opportunity to walk and journey with youth ministers as each week unfolds. He is there to be a leader, a support, a shoulder to lean on and an open heart when anyone is struggling.
Along with the emotional investment into the missionaries, staff and guests Brandon comes home most days covered in dirt and sweat. Daily he is clearing new paths for campers, working on manual labor projects, securing safety at the lake, partaking in messy games… basically jumping in wherever a need arises.
What do I do here?
For the first 5 weeks I asked myself this question over and over, what do I do here?. We are a husband and wife team in all that we do and I was struggling with how I honor my end of the team partnership. I have come to realize that I am called to do small things with great love (thank you Mother Teresa;). A few of these things include:
• Loving and supporting my husband through a very busy summer + a blessed retreat season.
• Being available for our young adult missionaries and staff when they need support, relaxing time, or just someone to take care of them when they are sick.
• Cooking meals for wonderful house guests and welcoming them in.
• Providing a home full of Love + the Invitation to just be present.
• And of corse, since we now live in a huge national forest in the mountains, my hippy side is coming out in full! So I am all about teaching others to live an organic life that gives back to the earth just as much as it consumes, i.e. gardening, composting, recycling, zero waist, and self sustaining. My dream come true! I am loving Pope Francis’s encyclical – Laudato si’.
OK, so this post is uber long and if you hung in till the end, I thank you! Thank you for your time, support and love. I would like to thank you by extending a sincer offer to pray for you, please leave prayer requests in the comments below. I would be honored to pray for you with my whole heart. I also ask you for your prayers that we can continue to serve God and others on our Journey.