I'm in Camus, Washington right now. I just finished up my first week of camp in the Northwest, which I will talk about in a bit. But first, some thoughts about the trip up here.
Oregon is a long, long way from Joplin, Missouri. It took us three full days to drive in our sweet 15-passenger van with the Ozark logo emblazoned on the side. And the greatest lesson I learned on the trip is this: Wyoming is not a very exciting state. People complain a lot about the drive through Western Kansas. Granted, it's not very fun either. Yeah, it's flat, but at least there are signs of civilization. Like, some gas stations and stuff. But there is nothing in Wyoming. Just....space. If I hated people and loved tumbleweeds, I guess it would be the place to be. But I generally like people. And Wendy's. And indoor plumbing. And I have a hunch that none of these things exists in Wyoming.
Utah was cool. There were mountains. Idaho was iffy. Some of it was a lot like Wyoming, and some of it was a little better. But they have potatoes, so they're A-OK with me. Most of Oregon is pretty awesome. There's not much going on in the eastern part of the state, but we were going through these mountains for a long time and then drove in the gorge right along the Columbia River to Portland. It was a fun drive. And the western part of the state has more mountains and some volcanoes and really tall trees. And some cities, too. So I like it a lot.
Now about camp. Our team was split this week. Sy and Joni went to one camp, and Kaylene and I went to Little River Christian Camp. It was a lot different from the other camps we've been to. Most noticably, it was much smaller, about 45 kids from 7th-12th grades. All the rest of our camps have had at least 80. Also, it was just structured much more loosely.
So after the first day or two of camp, I was a little skeptical of it. It just seemed like these kids wouldn't get much out of the week. It felt like these kids weren't near as spiritually mature as at our other camps, and the programming didn't have the same kind of punch as at our midwestern camps. However, the staff was very genuine and loved God a whole lot, and by the end of the week, everything was awesome. The camp hit a lot of kids hard in a good way, and there were some decisions made and cogs turning in students' minds.
All of this made me think about how incredible it is how God steps in and takes control of a situation. I love the book of Jonah, and here's what I love about it most: After Jonah gets swallowed by the fish and heaved back on shore, he finally heads to Ninevah and gives this masterpiece of a sermon: "Forty more days and Ninevah will be overturned." I'm sure Jonah said more than this, but this is all that's recorded. I has no gripping introduction. No three well-crafted, alliterative main points. No tear-jerking conclusion. If I gave this sermon in a preaching class, I would probably fail. But the entire city of Ninevah repents as a result.
Here's the point. Ultimately, God is in control. Just because we might not write phenomonal lessons or preach award-winning sermons should not keep us from ministring to others. All God asks for is for us to obediently step out and tell people about Him. I might not preach like the guys you see at the NACC, but that's okay. God can take a simple message and use it to change people. Little River didn't have all the awesome video, worship, and other things that I've seen at other camp. But it was honest and God-driven, and it made a change. And I think we can all learn from Jonah and Little River.
Dang Keesha, this is lengthy. I feel like Jayne Long. And that's not a good thing at all.