On Wednesday, July 23, over 25 women gathered at Stephanie Erdt’s home to welcome three new babies that have joined our church family over the past year. We were excited to hang out with Malaya Harrington, Levi Van Bergeyk and Ruby Harrington and some of us were pretty surprised how big the babies already are and how quickly they are changing.
We were asked to write a note to each baby, filling in the blanks of the following:
I hope you learn ______________
I hope you love _______________
I hope you never forget ____________
I hope you always _________________
Tami Harrington posted on the church’s Facebook page: "Had such a wonderful evening!! A big thank you to all the wonderful and fantastic women that came out! BIG HUGE thank you to Stephanie for hosting such a great night."
Eugene Peterson in the Message writes in Psalm 127:3-5:
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
New lives born into our church family are a great blessing. We have high hopes and dreams for each of them and want to support the families of these children and look for ways in which we can invest in and bless these little ones.
Camp Tulahead has been a part of my life for nine years now and I know that Tulahead has played a huge role in helping me grow into the woman that I am today. I started going to the camp as a camper when I was thirteen years old, and it was there that I recommitted myself to the Lord and my faith became my own. I then continued attending the camp every summer as a camper and also completed all three levels of the leadership in training program that they offer youth. Since graduating high school, this is my fourth summer on staff at Tulahead.
This year I am the Activities Coordinator as well as the Assistant Program Director. My job entails organizing the daytime activities, supporting and prepping supplies for the activity instructors, and assisting in the planning and set up of the evening activities.
Camp Tulahead provides kids with the opportunity to try new things and learn skills such as canoeing and kayaking, archery, rock climbing, skateboarding and more. I am so thankful to be a part of the leadership team this year and to be serving in a ministry that I know has an impact on so many kids’ lives every summer, as it impacted mine many years ago. The thing that I love about Tulahead is that over half of the kids that come to camp do not come from Christian homes and do not attend church regularly. This gives us, as a staff, the opportunity to show God’s love to them for the first time. I am humbled to be part of something that brings kids to Christ, kids that would never otherwise hear about the Gospel.
This summer, God has really been teaching me the importance of unity and diversity in the body of Christ, as discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. As a staff, we all have different positions and although some seem more important than others, each part of the body is significant and cannot function without the other. The unity amongst our staff this summer has been incredibly encouraging and has shown me the importance of having one unified team all working together for the same goal, which is to further God’s Kingdom.
Although camp ministry can be incredibly exhausting, stressful, and frustrating, it is always worth it to know that these kids have a place that they can come to and feel completely accepted and loved no matter what their backstory is.
Finally, I just want to extend a huge thank you to all who have supported me financially and in prayer for my work at Camp Tulahead this summer, it is greatly appreciated!
Sitting Down to Move Forward
Action is awesome. It feels great to be doing something instead of just talking about it.
On the other hand, if there's no analyzing of the past or planning for the future, then the present can easily fill up with frenetic activity - we look busy, but are we really accomplishing anything?
Sometimes you just need to be still for a while.
I like this quote from Warren Buffet: "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
Recently, the Mercy Tech Mission board of trustees and their spouses took some time out to 'plant a few trees'. We looked at what's happened over the past three years of mission trips to Africa, and through reconfirming what Mercy Tech is all about, we began planning for what might come in the years ahead.
Our thanks to Bob and Connie Denesiuk for sharing their amazing cabin at Paradise Lake with us, and to Maged Said for facilitating our discussions. Because of this important time of planning, we are confident that even more lives will be changed, one skill at a time.
NEXT MOVES: Mercy Tech is currently looking at some volunteer opportunities in the Mexican state of Baja California. I will be checking out the location in early August, and if plans go well, we could soon be "planting a few shade trees" for those who could really use our help in this new location.
This blog post has been reproduced with permission from Rick's personal blog, Dust on my Shoes.
In October 2000, Pam Borchert and I started teaching together at Summerland Christian Playschool. Mrs. B, Mrs. E and nine precious little ones. It was our very first class. The years flew by and now five of those children (the ones that were 4 years old at the time) just graduated from High School! How does fourteen years go by so fast? I can remember each of them at four years old. I recall their cute little faces, their 4 year old personalities. Something about each one of those children has stuck with me through the years. The way their little voice sounded or something they said or did. Who they were at 4 years old is very much who they are now. Quiet... outgoing... thoughtful... scientifically inclined... adventurous... We saw a glimpse of who God created them to be; their identity in Christ.
This year, playschool again flew by. The precious class of 2013-14 will graduate in 2027! That is thirteen years from now. I know it will pass all too quickly. I can't help but wonder how these kids will be impacted as they grow. Will they remember that God created them for a purpose? That God has a plan for them? Will peer pressure change how they see themselves? Will they continue to see the gifts that were evident in them as a preschooler and grow to discover more of who God made them to be? Will they remember that God made them, loves them and wants to be connected with them forever?
During circle time during the last week of playschool this year, I had a very serious chat with the kids. I told them that I needed them to never, ever forget something VERY important. I almost cried as I looked into their precious little faces knowing I wouldn’t be with them much longer… “Please, always remember that God loves you!” “Oh Mrs. E! Of course we will remember!”
Thirteen years from now, before they head out into the big world after their grade 12 graduation, they will receive a note from their playschool teachers reminding them of God's unconditional, eternal love. That He was with them in a big way from the beginning. A reminder that we saw a glimpse in their four year old selves of who God made them to be and encourage them to follow that fearlessly and passionately.