Right now, I'm sitting on the couch in my basement with Sportscenter on the TV in front of me as I type away on my laptop. But I feel like I should be wrapped up in a sleeping bag on a bunk in a room of high schoolers. My summer as a camp teamer for Ozark Christian College has finally come to an end. It's a very odd feeling. For the last seven months, camp teams has been a major part of my life, and I just finished my eighth week of camp. And now I am thrown back into somewhat of a normal existence.
I've had an absolutely incredible summer. I've gone through so many crazy experiences and have laughed so much. I've been buried in a pile of sticks while covered with Sharpie-dots. I've been surrounded by 100 high schoolers speaking in tongues, and I underwent a miraculous healing of head lice. I went to some sort of Christian rave that featured strobe lights, music, and milk and cookies. And now...I'm back in my basement.
This summer has likely been the most intense period of personal and spiritual growth that I've had since my freshman summer of high school. I've learned a ton about how God works in people. I've learned a ton about ministry. I've learned a ton about relating to others. I think it's going to take me a couple days of just laying around to sort out all the thoughts that have been banging around in my head for the past two months.
Being done is bittersweet. The way that I said to a few people is that I'm glad to leave, but sad to go. I'm happy to be home and to see my family and friends here, and I'm getting excited to get back to school and see everyone and get back into the flow of the semester. But on the flip side, I've met so many awesome people across the country that I'm going to miss a lot. Some of them I'll see again; some of them I probably won't. It's weird to think about how I spend a period of time working closely with people and getting to know them pretty well, only to go our separate ways at the end of the week.
I guess what I want to do is give out some thank yous to people who helped make the summer what it was. I think this might get long. But that's okay. So thank you to all these people:
Joni: Joni lives on a farm. Thus, she lives a life that gives me constant fodder for my sarcasm and ridicule. And she takes it and laughs, which I love. I learned a great deal from being around Joni this summer. Joni recognizes the power in prayer and prays for things very specifically. She also has a great sense for sensing opportunities for ministry and the courage to follow through on them. She has a heart the size of Wyoming, but near as desolate.
Kaylene: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says simply "Pray continually." When I think of this verse, I think of Kaylene. I have met very few people that are such persistent pray-ers as she is. In general, my prayer life sucks pretty bad, so I learned a ton from her. Also, Kaylene has a life where her spirituality is completely ingrained with the rest of her life. There's no compartments in her life, and I respect her for that a whole, whole lot.
Sy: If it weren't for Sy, I probably would've had a mental breakdown by Week 3. Throughout the course of the summer, Sy has become a great friend, and we had a whole lot of awesome moments together (which we catalogued in a list in my spiral notebook). It was a gigantic privilege to get to work with this guy. I've learned a ton about how to begin and maintain solid relationships with people from Sy. He's also twice the preacher/teacher that I am. I'm looking forward to our cooperation in the future: making movies, playing frisbee. Maybe we'll throw some ministry-stuff in there somewhere too.
Cliff: Our training for camp teams was intense. It often made me want to cut off my own arms. And I still have no idea how standing on a wooden plank for three hours helped me lead a small group or organize recreation. But somehow or another, Cliff definitely prepared us for the summer. Also, I've never had a boss that cares so much about his employees and is invested in his life, and I appreciated that a ton. Definitely a far cry from my managers at Wal-Mart last summer.
I'm grateful to the Quad City DJ's for recording the Space Jam theme.
Maybe my favorite part of the summer was meeting all the camp teams from other schools, and there's a few that I am especially happy to have gotten know. First, St. Louis Christian College (Matt, Michael, Julie, Katie). We went to the 'ship. We won the 'ship. And we partied it up in a flooded St. Louis until the wee hours of the morning. This kids are so Penny Hardaway.
Kentucky Christian University (Erich, Arthur, Michelle, J-Fuzz): Getting a group rate at Six Flags by recruiting random people at the gate was the most unethical thing I've done in a long time. But also one of the best memories. I had never before been accused of being Chinese until I met these guys. But regardless, those two weeks in Indiana were awesome, and I miss them a lot.
Boise Bible College (Todd and Sam): I wasn't expecting to be part of a worship band at the beginning of the summer. And yet there I sat, banging on my djimbe while Todd and Sam did the real musical stuff. These are the best fellow cabin-checkers that I've ever had, and they were part of my first and only Dutch Bros. experience.
Hope International University (David and Wendi): I was with these two for three weeks. They've promised me a free trip to Disneyland if ever find myself in California. so that's solid. David has an great heart for ministry and an incredibly genuine spirit. I'm especially thankful for Wendi. She was my Dark Knight buddy.....twice, suffered from bubonic plague with me, and has become an awesome friend that I value immensely.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who was especially encouraging to me during the summer and that were praying for me. (At least they said they were. Maybe they lied.) Anyways, those people would be: my parents, Jackie, Kelsie, Becky, Jayne, and Charlie. They're all awesome and helped keep me going when I was wearing down.
Now I'm home for a week and a half before I head back to Joplin. I'm getting really excited to get back to Ozark, and I miss everyone there a lot and look forward to hearing about everyone's summer. The Olympics start in a couple days. Look for me on the water polo team. I'll be the one treading water.