As of today our church officially kicked off Vacation Bible School and Camp Agape. This is probably the most crazy and hectic week on our yearly calendar, but it truly is one of the foundations of our congregation. We have VBS every morning until lunch when the kids go home - then the Agape campers spend the afternoons and evenings swimming, hiking, gaming, and worshipping the Lord! This year at Camp Agape we have about sixty kids on our roster - roughly thirty boys and thirty girls. The camp services underprivileged kids from almost all the surrounding counties. Today was check in day for the Agape kids, and one of my tasks was to check all the girls luggage for required items and banned items. Thankfully I found no weapons, obscene material, or even food so my job was pretty easy.
As I had each of the girls unpack their suitcases, duffle bags, and even the occasional garbage bag I was overcome with emotion. It's hard to define what emotions I was experiencing - sadness, worry, gratitude, thankfulness. After student teaching in Athens I am no stranger to underprivileged kids - but this was a little different. Unpacking their bags gave me a teensy glimpse into their lives that I never had with my kids. My senses were working overtime: hearings the giggling of girls making new friends, seeing the nervous faces of many "first time campers," feeling raggedy towels and worn out shoes, and smelling their homes as they hesitantly unpacked their bags for me to inspect... It's amazing how the simplest things can send the strongest messages sometimes, isn't it? Unpacking those bags brought back childhood memories of week long basketball camps with my best friend, silly school plays my parents never missed, and singing (badly) in kids choir just up the hall with Ms. Marlene. I was reminded of just how lucky I was to grow up surrounded by so much love. God gave me parents who were always there for me, teachers who taught me the love of learning, and a warm church family that I am still blessed by daily. It's easy to get wrapped up in your own safe world and forget that there are so many kids who aren't as lucky. So this week, here's to those kids. This week I can do my part to love them, lift them up, and let them be kids without a worry in the world.
My favorite scripture:
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away... All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:2-5
Now, bed. It's been a while since I've had to get up this early and teach :)