|The sun sets on another summer at Campus by the Sea.|
The rhythmic sound of the tide coming and going over the rolling rocks has been replaced by early morning loons calling from the placid waters of Newfound Lake, and we know we’re not at Campus by the Sea this week. Just like that, seven weeks of living at “a little piece of heaven by the sea” is history and we’re off and running at Berea for two weeks of Family Camp.
We begin these weeks at Berea with hearts overflowing with gratitude for the incredible ways God met us and showed His faithfulness at CBS. The summer theme of “Living to the praise of His glory” taken from Ephesians 1 set the bar. That theme was woven through the curriculum, the worship, and the devotions. We challenged our staff (and ourselves) to process all decisions, thoughts, and actions through the rubric of “Will this help me live to the praise of His glory?” It showed. Consistently the staff chose to serve whole-heartedly, to embrace the opportunities unique to an “off the grid” discipleship community, and to live honorably in the community by submitting to the community standards. It was a delightfully productive, drama-free summer, marked by deep solidarity and growth. Nothing but gratitude.
We served together, learned together, grew together, played together, hiked together, laughed together, cried together. We chose to honor one another by loving well, encouraging each other, and helping each other grow. As masks came off during our 49-day community experience, we chose to accept idiosyncrasies and challenge ungodliness. We learned to love those we found hard to love. We rediscovered how good it was to have real time conversations face-to-face, and we regained oodles of hours normally eaten up by Facebook, video games, texting, etc. We helped each other “live to the praise of His glory.” It was a rich, growth-producing summer.
Since a “picture paints a thousand words,” I’m posting numerous photos representing staff life, Summer 2015.
|The entire staff team: facilities, program, and year-round staff.|
|The program staff.|
|The “staff only” annual shore hike . . . pausing at Frog Rock.|
|For the first time in a long while, the 4th of July fell on Saturday,|
so we rented the "Blanche W” and took the staff in to watch the fireworks in Avalon Harbor, followed by a flying fish tour. Such a fun night!
|Every Saturday night the staff enjoyed Paul’s freshly baked|
chocolate chip cookies—much to their delight.
|The annual tea party for staff women was delightful.|
|In a most unusual twist, Family Camp 5 arrived in RAIN, and in order to keep our campers as dry as possible, the our staff cheerfully got drenched.|
|The annual staff-only hike to Lone Tree took place during Family Camp 5,|
and though it didn’t draw a large crowd, those who went had a great time.
|The “Staff Coffeehouse” was resurrected this summer, featuring some great acts as well as some great desserts. “Pavlova” a la Vonny was the biggest hit.|
|Into town for our “staff appreciation dinner” to celebrate our seven weeks of serving together.|
|Dave and Vonny were our “right hand people” serving as the “deans” of the staff cove,|
Little Gallagher’s, as well as leading the college group.
Vonny also directed the elementary program. So thankful for them!
All six weeks of family camp were full of great teaching, incredible fellowship, and numerous moments of being showered by God’s grace. Decisions were made for Christ. Hope was given to struggling marriages. Baptisms were celebrated. Parents and children were encouraged to work together as a team. Milk jug boats were entered in the “Annual Boat Race.” Square dancing on the basketball court was repeated six times, but was never tired of. The game show, “Go for the glory,” was wildly popular. Worship under the stars, around the campfire ring, followed by s’mores . . . unbeatable.
|The host and hostess of “Go For the Glory” . . . stylin’!!|
We were also beyond thankful to have our whole immediate family at camp, as well as many of our extended family. What a joy to have our grandchildren loving the program, singing the “Butterfly Song”, and hanging out with Papa and Gigi. This feels like it’s coming full circle.
The “fam” minus Gabe, who had returned to the mainland to lead
the college missions trip from his church.
|Nathan helps Papa ring the bell for announcements.|
A bunch of Friesens, Herbsts, Rottschafers, Clarks, Oertlis, Millers, and Stucks.
So fun to have them all at camp!
|The original 3: Kari, Julie, and Lisa.|
Some big changes within our family happened during these seven weeks. Julie, Derek, and Nathan have moved stateside from Uganda, settling near Lemoyne, PA (outside of Harrisburg), to spend the foreseeable future working at the CURE headquarters. Derek’s new role will be in development and long-term sustainability. Though it was very hard to leave all they love in Uganda, they are looking forward to their new life in Pennsylvania, especially as they await the birth of their second child in early November.
Lisa has resigned her position as head athletic trainer for UCLA women’s basketball and on Aug. 17 will assume the position of Associate Professor at California Baptist University (CBU) located in Riverside, CA. She’ll teach two undergrad and two master’s level athletic training courses and is looking forward to a more normal schedule, with improved work/life balance. She’ll leave a large portion of her heart at UCLA with the student athletes she has served and loved so well, as well with her athletic training colleagues. We’ll continue to follow the Lady Bruins with support and love.
We’re still finding it hard to believe that our summer at CBS is over . . . but it will surely go down in history as one of the best.