The family that camps together . . .

Jim, Sue, and Matthew Martis make sure the Memorial Day Weekend Family Tenting Camp happens each year. They cover all the bases, including feeding Paul and Virginia. :)

Well, we’re not in Uganda anymore. :) Not long after our noon return from Uganda at Logan on Friday, May 22, we packed up our gear and headed to Myles Standish State Park in Plymouth for our annual Memorial Day Weekend Family Tenting Camp. Stating the obvious, the weekend wouldn’t have been were it not for Jim and Sue Martis, who in spite of many challenges leading up to the weekend, once again pulled it off beautifully. We are so thankful for their partnership!

Pastor Paul leads the family devotions in his inimitable style. :)

Twenty-eight families pitched their tents and disconnected from the busyness and distractions of life for three wonderful days of true “communal” living. Throughout the days, families connected with each other at the lake’s edge, over fishing poles, on the “speedway” supervising dozens of children-driven bikes, or around an unlit campfire ring. Everyone watched out for each other’s kids with a kind of “this is the way it used to be” nostalgia . . . and children played with reckless abandon and without the fears which seem to inhibit such freedom in our neighborhoods. It’s amazing how few “props” (electronic or material) kids need when the great outdoors becomes their playground. Sticks, dirt, rocks, and water, when added to imagination, are all it takes to “while away the hours.” We loved watching the children play together.

Mike and Ann-Marie Allen and family served as worship leaders for the weekend and did a fabulous job.

Wai-Chin and Fannie Ng, with children Gracie and Evan, enjoy the evening worship.

Each evening, we all gathered at the common site for dinner together, followed by worship and devotions. Mike and Ann-Marie Allen and family led the worship and did a great job. Paul led interactive family devotions, with eager participation from all ages. S’mores closed out each evening’s activities.

Each night, devotions were followed by smores at the community fire.

Nathaniel thoroughly enjoys a s'more.

Though the weather wasn’t ideal, it was certainly manageable. Some rain visited both Saturday and Sunday, but the Lord protected us from the powerful thunderstorms and hailstorms which hit the town of Plymouth, just miles away.

John Barker once again thrills the children with a catch and release fish. It looks so much like previous catches, we’re wondering if its a plant...

Families pitch in with dinner preparation and many hands make light work.

Monday was beautiful and warm, so lake-front activities were enjoyed by all - but not until after the first annual Memorial Day Weekend Family Tenting Camp Parade made its way through the campground. Led by the Barker family, dozens of bicycle “floats” accompanied by a medley of patriotic songs commemorated this national holiday. Plans are already underway for next year’s parade.

Monday morning, Ted and Lauren Hall hosted a community breakfast at their campsite.

The Barkers spear-headed the first annual Memorial Day Family Tenting Camp Parade. The bike “floats” were accompanied by a medley of patriotic tunes and the holiday was duly celebrated.

Faith Metaxotos sums up the weekend with her cherubic smile.

All too quickly, the weekend came to an close. To soften the disappointment, all remaining campers caravanned to Ericson’s Ice Cream stand in nearby Carver. That was a sweet way to end a great weekend.

Our final stop: Duxbury, for dinner with our dear friend, Thora Eames. It was too cold and wet to bring her to the campsite this year, sadly, so we brought a little of camp to her.

Paul and I traveled home via Duxbury to have dinner with our dear 91-year-old friend, Thora. We had wanted to bring her to dinner at camp one night, but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was such a joy to see her! We always leave encouraged and inspired by her life.

Finally, our own bed . . . for the second time in five weeks. It’s good to be home for a bit before leaving for Campus by the Sea on June 13.

We are so thankful for the incredible experiences we’ve had between Louisiana, California, and Uganda over these past weeks. Through it all, we’ve seen the hand of God directing His work in each context. What a privilege to be on His team.