Thursday, August 25, 2011

Camp Qwanoes Saga Concludes

This pic is from Qwanoes Family Retreat in May. Kael the eagle!

Psalm 23
O my son, give me your heart.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.

Camp Qwanoes!

What a story this is! Back in March or April, some reps from Camp Qwanoes showed up at DCS and did a presentation about their camp. As soon as the video started, Koos and I knew we were in trouble because there were kids jumping off tall structures to scream through the forest on zip lines and being launched into the ocean off massive inflatable blobs. And sure enough about two minutes into the thing, Delaena had turned around in her place with her class and was madly waving her arms and gesturing at the screen to make sure Koos and I were paying attention. Then we found out her best buddy from school and her family were going, so we were sunk! Off to Camp Qwanoes we go for Family Retreat weekend in May.

Now, we back up a bit. Just prior to the beginning of the Camp Qwanoes saga, Koos and I had had a revelation. We are in over our heads with this whole 'giving our lives to the Lord' thing. We told Him we would do whatever He asked of us and He took us at our word. Most of you know that story. We figured it would be a fun adventure, and so far it has been, but we didn't realize at first how complicated adventures could be. Neither of us come from long lines of spiritually enlightened saints or ministers or missionaries or anything like that, so basically, we have NO idea what we are getting into with all this Godly adventure stuff. So we just decided to be honest and tell God that (because He didn't already know). So our prayer went something like this, "Dear God. We have no idea what we are doing. We are 'small town kids' in this booming metropolis of Duncan and there is all this amazing spiritual stuff going on here and we don't know how much of it to get involved in. We would love to do it all, but that would probably burn both of us out and drive our children crazy, so we are leaving it up to You. We won't do any of it unless You bring it to us. If we are approached by anyone from any of these amazing places of ministry, we will look into it, otherwise we are standing still. Amen."

So, back to Family Retreat at Camp Qwanoes. The staff at the camp prepared an amazing dessert evening just for the adults, and the children were kept busy by all the other staff who have more energy in one of their thumbs than I've ever had in my entire life. The youth and young adults out there are phenomenal. I was busy doing what I do best, enjoying the desserts and Koos was off doing what he does best; I call it 'schmoozing', but he calls it 'being relational'. Anyway, he was 'being relational' with Scott and Julie Bayley, the camp directors. I am not sure what all went down in the conversation, but by the end of camp, Scott had approached Koos and mentioned that the camp was always looking for staff. Oh oh. That just fit the 'have them approach us' criteria. So, we had to keep our end of the bargain and we began to pursue the situation. And pursue the situation, and pursue the situation and pursue the situation.

It was so weird, and that is why we dubbed it the 'Qwanoes Saga'. First off we couldn't quite get sorted what 'position' Koos would fill at the camp. We would get settled on one then it would change. Then when we finally got that decided, we needed to get references sent in and the people we asked to do them couldn't get them sent via the internet. Only one of them got there and we couldn't go ahead without three. Then the staff administrator tried to get in touch with one of our Pastors figuring that would work instead of the other two references and they played telephone tag for a week. Then we finally got a week settled and realized, oh crumb, that is the week of Brooke's baptism. Now that is the short version, but seriously, this went on from the end of May until mid August. Koos and I at several points went, okay, we think we've pursued this enough and just 'gave it up' but then God would say, "Nope, keep at it," and would do something to revive the whole situation again.

Now, a little more back story. (I apologize to those of you who are like me and can't handle all those 'time travel' and 'parallel universe' movies, for bouncing back and forth here, but that is part of the oddness of this story!) There is still this whole Brazil possibility in our future. I am getting old and rickety and told Koos that we should start praying that if God really wants us to go to Brazil that He would somehow put us in contact with a young, energetic Brazilian couple who would maybe be interested in pursuing this crazy adventure with us.

So through the wormhole we go and back to Camp Qwanoes: Koos' janitorial week (yes, the final position was janitorial, which they happened to be really short on that week, so it ended up being a big blessing to them). For three years or so, Qwanoes has been involved with a 'student work exchange' program with an organization from, you guessed it, Brazil. We were aware of this way back at the beginning of the saga, but we were not aware of the fact that the directors of this program were going to be coming from Brazil and checking out Qwanoes out for the first time, the same week Koos finally wound up volunteering for. Koos met them, came home and told me I HAD to meet them. Now, by this time, I had had my share of schmoozing. Remember, Koos can schmooze until the cows come home, but it is a lot of work for me. We had gone out to camp a few nights in a row and met incredible people and experienced the fabulous sense of community Qwanoes strives for, but I was tired and the kids were cranky, so I wasn't really feeling up to any more episodes of 'being relational'. But, he persuaded me, or rather he told the kids we were going and let them harass me until I went just to shut everyone up. That's how it usually works around here.

So we get out to the camp and I see Koos head off to chat with a couple I hadn't seen before and I'm thinking, "Hurry up and introduce me to the couple from Brazil so I can go sit back in the truck and read my book." And then he brings this incredibly young and energetic couple over to introduce to me and lo and behold if they are the program directors from CESE. I wanted to smack Koos for not telling me before that they completely fit the bill for the couple we had been praying for, but I could tell he was quite amused with himself for having withheld those particular details. Considering the project they are in charge of, I had imagined a much older couple with years of experience behind them, etc., etc. Anyway, our family hit it off with them right away! And now my prayer has specifically changed to, "God it would be really cool if we could somehow connect what we would be doing in Brazil with what Marcio and Caroline are doing in Brazil. Or better yet if they got the idea into their heads to go on a crazy God adventure in the Northern part of their country." (They are from Curitiba, a city in Southern Brazil). So we are going to stay in contact with them and see if God does anything exciting with this new relationship.

So that was incredibly cool thing number one that happened at Qwanoes. Incredibly cool thing number two that happened was that out of five hundred people one of the campers could have chosen to sit down and chat with, it ended up being me as I was hanging out watching the kids running around in the forest. The camper just plunked down at the picnic table and start chatting, so I started asking questions about them and it turned out that one of their parents had worked at the same diamond mine at the same time as Koos had been up there. Go figure. Anyway, this camper was struggling with having a parent away so much of the time and we knew exactly how they were feeling because we've been through the scenario, so we were blessed with the opportunity to pray for the camper and encourage them and pass the info onto the staff at Qwanoes for follow up. Who says God isn't in the little details?

This is from Family Retreat at Qwanoes in May as well. Waiting between challenges.

And now, the icing on the cake, the reason for the whole grand plan and all the pursuing!

The last night the kids and I went out, those incredible, high energy and very talented Qwanoes staff did a skit. It was quite similar to this: awesome skit. Kael sat through it and was riveted. When it ended though and the concert started, he wanted to go back to the truck. It was about 9:00 pm and he was beat, so I said sure, he and I could leave. I figured he'd just get comfy and fall asleep. But as soon as we set foot out the door of Q-Town, the questions started.

"Mom, why were those bad guys picking on the green guy?" (The main character had a green shirt on.)

"Those were the devil's bad angels, they didn't want the green guy to get back to Jesus."

"Why's the devil so mean?"

"Well, he used to be one of God's favorite angels and then..."

And on and on and on it went for a loooong time. But then we got to this,

"Mom, I'm going to want help fighting with those bad angels and I DO NOT want to go to the stinky pit without God when this world is done."

"Well the only way that will happen is if you invite Jesus into your heart and tell Him He can be the boss of your life."

"Well den Mom, I need to do dat! Jesus, will You be de boss of my hawt?"

And then we whooped it up. We were pretty excited about this most awesome decision. And then the sisters and Dad got back to the truck from Q-Town and we had to tell them all about the amazing news. Then Kael gets all serious,

"Dad, did you ask Jesus to be de boss of your hawt?"






"Bo?" (Delaena)




"Calahn, did you ask Jesus to be de boss of your hawt?"

quietly, "No."

"Calahn!!!!! Did you know that the devil used to be a good angel and now......" And on and on and on it went for a loooooong time. The rest of us just sat in silence as the newly saved four year old evangelized (or harassed perhaps?) his sister and wrapped his summary up with this;

"You NEED to ask Him and den you can be His princess!" (We still aren't sure where that came from, but we went with it.)

And then we hear this from the back seat;

"Dear Jesus, will you please live in my heart and be the boss of my life? I want to be your princess."

And then we whooped it up some more and we knew that all the angels in heaven were whooping it up with us and despite the fact that we were all dog tired from the week, none of us went to sleep much before midnight!

A special thank you to all our friends who kept checking in on us during the whole Qwanoes saga and prayed it right through to the end- which turned out, I guess, to be an EPIC!!!

This was also from Family Retreat in May. Calahn with her 'sunset' face paint.

Psalm 45
13 The bride, a princess, looks glorious
in her golden gown.
14 In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king,
accompanied by her bridesmaids.
15 What a joyful and enthusiastic procession
as they enter the king’s palace!

1 comment:

  1. amazing.....God sure is good and knows every single situation even when we have no idea what's going on.....praise God....your family is now complete in Jesus. Nothing else is as important as exciting! Love it....see you next week! Love you, Sandy


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