ABP Summer Camp w/ Chestnut Mountain Pres. & Christ Community Pres.
Every year Chestnut Mtn. Presbyterian Church brings a team from Georgia to sponsor a week long camp for all the ABP kids at Rizal Re-Creation Center. This year Christ Community Pres. joined them in sponsoring the camp. The kids were sooo excited about the team returning. Since the Chestnut Mtn. team members come every year they have really formed deep relationships with the kids. About January the kids began asking about camp and when the team would arrive. So when it was finally time, the kids were ready to go! The team is always very organized, and ran the camp on their own so that the ABP staff could have a week long vacation. This year the two churches decided to team up and work together. We all watched with bated breath hoping the two teams could work well and effectively together. They worked together beautifully, it was a match made in heaven. They decided from now on they would both run the camp every summer. It was a blessing to see strangers, yet believers come together and work together for one purpose, the furthering of the Kingdom.
Every day began with exercise very very early in the morning!
After exercise the days were off and going. They were packed full with morning devotion, 2 Bible story times, followed by arts & crafts, sports, relays, swim time, and then preaching at night. The kids started out strong each morning and then were exhausted by the end of the day. They gave everything 110% percent, and played as hard and as fast as they could. Mom and I were able to teach Bible lessons, play, assist the team, and lived in the cabins with the girls. There were many opportunities to love the girls, and shine the light of God's grace on them.
The week was so much fun! The kids' favorite time was swimming, of course! They rarely have time to swim through out the year, so they love to take advantage of the freezing, natural spring fed pool. There is a slide that they waited in line 10 minutes for, and after waiting they slid down over and over and over again! The little ones slid down with a team member, and the older ones went down with their best friends. They loved the slide... before the words swim time could get out of our mouths; the kids had already changed into their bathing suits and were running across camp to be the first one in the pool! Every night Pastor Christopher Sablay preached a wonderful sermon for the kids, in Tagalog.
The ABP staff was given a week vacation, therefore church members assisted with the kids the whole week. This was a great venture to allow the supporting churches to be more involved with the kids, camp fun, and their lives. The church members were a great help, teaching lessons, translating, caring for, encouraging, and loving the kids and the team.
As the week went on the Chestnut Mtn. team picked right up where their relationships left off. Although they were sad and disappointed that some of the same kids were not still in the homes, and able to join. Some had been reconciled back to their families, and others had to be let go. Christ Community Pres. quickly fell in love with the kids, and the kids with them. Relationships were formed, hearts were bound together, love was shared, and memories were made.
As the last day came to a close hearts were heavy. The kids and teams were preparing to go their separate ways. As I scanned the pavilion I saw Robin, 13 yr. old boy from ABP2, and Megan, from Chestnut Mtn. They have been best friends for 3 years. They were hugging and weeping together, because after camp Robin was going to be reconciled back to his family. So Megan did not know if and when she would ever see him again. They both cried, and told each other how much they loved and meant to one other. It was a beautiful picture of what the camp and this ministry is all about. These teams come not only to provide fun for the kids; They invest their time, money, energy, love, and lives into these kids. They share with them the best and most wonderful gift they have, the Love of God. It's a bond that will last forever, and will never be broken. Through these churches, their willingness to serve, and their gift of this camp there were many kids who were impacted for life. Although they will be separated by distance for now, they will be reunited in heaven one day. Teams may come and go, kids may leave our homes and go back to their families, but God and His love will remain. The work that He does through teams, camps, and His ministry here will last forever. Relationships were bound, seeds were planted, hearts were won, and the Kingdom goes on....