Family Camp: God is Good!
By Larrisa Kuechle
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
So busy packing and getting ready... can't believe a whole year has gone by already, and we're gearing up for another Family Camp. I'm checking my list to make sure that everything is packed – although a Walmart is close by if anything major is left behind. The boys are so excited to go, they are actually volunteering to grab everything for me and put it in the truck. I can't wait to see everyone again. I wonder who will be there...and who won't be able to make it.
Trailer is set up and we're all settled in. The kids bee-line it for the playground, and not finding anyone there, take off for the skateboard ramp. There's bound to be a few familiar faces there. Wayne and I wander around and see Kevin and Shirley Bond. That's what I love about this weekend. There's never enough time in our busy schedule to actually have a decent chat about how things are and what's going on. But without the responsibility of daily activities, we can just relax and unwind and catch up with friends.
My back is killing me, but our team won. What a ton of fun in the field tonight. That last game of trying to plug all the holes in the tube while dumping water into it. It was so dark and we couldn't see what we were doing. We could just feel the water pouring down our hands and knew there was yet another unplugged hole we had to fill. Cory and those at the bottom were drenched. Such good sports. The owls on the side of the field were amazing too. All this craziness, and 3 owls decide to put on a show. God was saying "Hey, I'm all around you. You just have to look. Just like wildlife is all around you – if only you'd see it."
Now that Zack is in grade 8 he is super keen on Youth activities. Unfortunately, tonight's got a very late start and I am sitting up waiting for him to be done (because I know left on his own he will stay up past midnight, oblivious to the time). So I light the propane fire pit we bring every year and wait to see who will show up and join me. A few brave souls bare the cold wind and we laugh and reminisce. The chill sets in and I start to look for Zack and see if they're done yet. As our gang begins to dwindle, I decide to go seek out my 13 year old, as I see many other teens just wandering now. As suspected, he is by the main fire and had no intention of turning in. Grudgingly he follows me back to the trailer to rest up for tomorrow.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
I can't believe that our whole family slept in as much as they did. I was the first to check the clock and it was nearly 8 am. I woke the boys and dragged them out of bed, reminding them that breakfast would not wait. Eagerly, although sleepily, they head to the main hall and check out the good eats. Pancakes are always a hit with kids and adults alike, although most at our table were surprised, if not a bit disappointed, that the small dots were chocolate chips and not blueberries. Wayne and I have now taken our usual stroll to walk off the meal and admire all that God has created. The flowers are so beautiful at this time of year. Listening to the wind blow the waves, I marvel at how many things I take for granted that He so lovingly thought through and made just for my enjoyment.
We have spent the day at the beach, watching the kids enjoy the water. Our two boys have spent the afternoon on tubes and I have been in a boat spotting for a while. Wayne and I just went for our annual kayak trip out to the point. Everything is usually so peaceful out there, but this year the wind has been a factor pretty much the whole weekend and we head back early. I am glad to see that my mom and dad have come out for the day. It's hard for them now, and I'm so pleased when she can spend time with dear friends and watch the kids from her wheelchair. God has blessed me with a great family and we are all here this weekend. He is GOOD.
Just finished watching the highlight of the weekend – yep, the Talent Show. Always amazes me to see how the young ones come up and perform. This year's personal favorite for me was the Reimer's "jousting competition". Sometimes I want to be a fly on the wall in their home just to see what it's really like, because I think it would be awesome! They truly love life and it shows through the kids, and they have so much fun. It's infectious.
Another late night around the fire, and again not a warm one. As is the tradition, more families have joined us for the second night. The Bonanos, Bonds, Anita, Heidi, Yolanda, Dave... the list grows as the night progresses. We laugh and share stories about pets – dogs in particular. Tears in my eyes listening to some of the stories. My heart is warmed as I reconnect with friends, even if only this one time every year. I feel like I am renewed again, reconnected with God's family, and not just stuck in the whirlwind of my own life. Yet again, Zack is surprisingly (insert sarcasm) not to be found once the youth activity ends for the night. I go search, and finally drag him to bed. I am the 'mean mom' who won't let my kid stay up to any hour of the night. Sorry Zack.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
Why is it when kids are sleep deprived they tend to wake up way too early on the morning they can sleep in? Brad is wide awake at 7 and raring to go. He leaves the trailer in search of someone else to hang with. Why is no one else around he wonders? Zack is up soon after that, and also trolling for friends. It's a cold Sunday morning and breakfast isn't until 10 am, so we have a bunch of time to kill. Wayne and I are going to go on a long walk and get some exercise. Too much sitting around and chatting. Our boys are oblivious to the fact that we desert them and they are all too happy to hang out with their friends and play. Brad has attached himself to his cousin Matthew and all his teen friends (boy, there are a LOT of teens this year – so happy to see that).
How is it that we are packing up again after such an amazing weekend? I have been touched by speakers who bared their souls and shared what God had put on their hearts. To hear that others are struggling, just like me only in different ways, is reassuring. Our kids are upset we have to go, and I reluctantly close up the trailer door and jump in the truck. The sun has come out and it looks like it will be a great afternoon for those lucky enough to be able to stay. Once again God has renewed my heart and lifted my spirits. He has placed those in my path to remind me that we are all His family and here to support one another and encourage those who are having a tough time. We end the day with baptisms, which is the ultimate sign of submission. I am grateful for this weekend and look forward to next year already, and I haven't even left yet this year! God is GOOD!