Day 2: Compassion Transforms Community

This morning for worship we learned the importance of showing compassion towards our neighbors. Who are our neighbors? We continued learning and discussing through the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Acts of compassion come from seeing someone in need through the lenses of dignity, which all people have because we are made in the image of God. This awareness of all people being made in the image of God is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Initiatives today were a challenge! They had to work together to get a marble from one side to another. There campers were successful! They worked together to put together a good plan. As for crossing the Acid River, that was another story! There was someone who was blind, someone who was mute, and someone who only had one leg. Someone always had to be touching a poly dot. They made it across, but struggled with putting together a plan and working together to make sure everybody got across safely. That will be a good one to try again!

After quiet time, they went swimming, went on a nature hike, and/or playing board games and Gaga ball.

Due to the rain coming, the boys weren’t able to stay out, but they did make hobo dinners and had s’mores before heading back to their cabins.

The girls participated in the all camp game, then canteen, some good conversation/laughter and campfire worship. It was another beautiful day at Pine Lake!

Which also included a few animals and beautiful views!

Until next time…Peace!

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Day 1: Inclusion Transforms Community

The theme verse for this week is from Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

**Inclusion Transforms Community**
We started the day after breakfast with worship.

Then as a part of our Bible Study today, campers read Luke 14:7-14, had a good discussion, and made beaded necklaces. Throughout the week they will be able to trade beads to help them notice and acknowledge when they are building community with someone. They also took part in initiatives where they had to work together to find the correct path (on the blue tarp) and had the Flip Over Challenge where they all had to stay on a sheet and flip it over without anyone getting off! They worked together to successfully complete both initiatives!

This afternoon was full of activities including board games, Gaga Ball, swimming, canteen, option time (boys played ultimate frisbee and the girls got ready for their campout), and the all camp game. It was a beautiful day! God is good!

Until next time…Peace be with you!

Pine Lake Camp

What a great start to camp! We arrived and got the kids settled into their cabins, put money in canteen, and stopped by the health station.

They went back to their cabins (girls: Pinion; boys: Juniper A), had a camp tour, played name games, wrote their cabin covenant, worry through emergency procedures, and did circle songs before dinner (pizza!).

After dinner, they played an All Camp Game while I went to the confirmation leader meeting. Then they were dismissed back to their cabins to do Faith5 (highs/lows – reflect on the day, scripture, pray) and lights out at 10.

They all shared that they are having a great time and it is better than they expected! I’m looking forward to seeing God at work in their lives this week!

Until tomorrow…

Jesus Changes Everything

Many memories shared with experiences we’ll never forget. The speakers and musicians were phenomenal! We’re excited to be able to share what we learned and experienced with y’all during a ELCA Youth Gathering Share Night – date yet TBD.

Until then, if you did not get a chance to watch the live-stream during the Mass Gatherings or for the Live Bible Studies everyday, please check out the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s ELCA Youth Gathering YouTube playlist. 

 

God’s Grace Changes Everything

Friday was our Service Day and boy did we have a great experience! We had the wonderful opportunity of servicing a local church: Riverside United Methodist Church. Some painted the narthex (walls and trim) with William and Anthony and some helped throw things away and move things around in the church with Bruce. Everybody at our site worked well together and it was awesome to be a part of and witness.

The amount of hardship they encountered after Hurricane Harvey was hard to comprehend. Their church is only feet away from the bayou; because of that, their church was filled with water 12 get high. William shared about the loss of many lives and how there are people who are still affected. He explained that snakes, alligators and sharks were swimming around when the water came and went and came and went and came and went with no where to go. There were piles of cars on the interstate that it looked like a junkyard. The amount of mud that remained took many skid loaders and shoveling to remove. They have done a lot of hard work to clean up and recover. The church is beautiful and I’m glad we could be a part in the beautification process. We had lunch delivered to us from Jason’s deli and Pastor Lee invited us to stay in the their air conditioning. So we gladly accepted!

After lunch we headed over to the NRG Arena for a celebration of service filled with music, games, and activities. Since we did community life the day before, we decided to go check out Interactive Learning in the NRG Center. They were able to check out what they wanted to do for today as they had 9 AM – 1 PM as a group of 10,000 instead of everyone all together. It was a nice, relaxing environment to have their last full day of the Gathering.

The Mass Gathering touched on some have subjects, so our Final 15 (reflecting on the day) was a little longer. The amount of courage and vulnerability these speakers have to be able to share their testimony with others is absolutely amazing! I’m thankful for all their stories as they are unfortunately relevant stores for your to relate to: eating disorders, cutting, mental illness, medical illness, having a disability, being different, etc. All worth hearing and as one speaker said,”There’s grace for that.” No matter what your story holds, we are all “magnificently imperfect” as another speaker shared, so there’s grace for that.