>> Children's Camp: Day 3 of 3
Our last day at kids camp! The kids actually got some sleep from the night before; unlike the previous night where they stayed up all night. I was actually kind of disappointed that they couldn’t pull another all nighter, because I was planning on joining them for some cricket. The kids told me how much fun it was from the night before and wanted me to join them, but for them to be awake for 48hrs straight was pushing it. Part of me didn’t mind getting some sleep because I wasn’t sure how I would function at camp after staying up all night.
Kid’s camp started off with Elton leading the group in a devotional. After the devotional, Bishop got to spend some time talking to the kids and testing them on what they learned throughout the camp. One thing I will point out is that whenever Bishop is talking, people listen. This just shows you how much Bishop has done for the community there and how much the people respect him. I was lucky enough to go to church with Bishop on both Sundays and had the honor of having Bishop as my translator. I figured if my preaching sucked, Bishop would use his power and make it meaningful to the congregation.
After Bishop was done sharing with the kids, we went into our last lesson of the camp. This lesson was led by Christine who shared the story of Jesus walking on water. Christine and Amanda stayed up late from the night before writing a script so they can use the puppets to teach the story. The puppets were well received by the kids as I’m sure this is not something they see every day. We ended the lesson with some self reflection time by using the SOAP method. (Scripture, observation, application, and prayer; this was a favorite method of some of our leaders =)
After the lesson, it was TEA TIME! Tea time is something I wish we had in America. Twice a day, the kids must stop everything that they are doing and go get their milk tea. At first I wasn’t used to the idea of stopping everything to have tea, but toward the end of the week, I was loving the idea!
After the kids loaded up on their tea, it was time for some good old piñata time! Earlier at camp, each group spent some time decorating their piñatas so we could fill it with candy only for them to later destroy their lovely creation. We broke the kids into four groups, 3rd & 4th graders, 5th & 6th graders, 7th & 8th graders, and 9th & 10th graders. Each group gets their own piñata to destroy. As you can probably imagine, a game where the kids can use a stick to hit a box as hard as they can in hopes to get some candy can get pretty crazy. I believe most of the 3rd & 4th graders each got a chance to hit the piñata since it took the whole group to break the piñata. By the time we got to the 9th & 10th graders, you could feel the excitement and energy in the room. The kids were not only loaded on tea, but now they are loaded up on sugar as well. When a 10th grader finally broke the last piñata, someone told all the kids that everyone (all 93 of them) could go up and fight for the candy. I was standing in the front and all I saw were a sea of kids charging up to the candy pile as if someone had just discovered a gold mine. It was NUTS! Sending all the kids up is definitely not something I would recommend we do again in the future, but since no one got hurt, it was pretty awesome to see kids diving into the pile in search of candy. Another thing I noticed was that all the older kids would share their candy with the younger kids who weren’t able to get any candy. I’m just thinking to myself, man how do I teach that to the kids (or even some adults) back home!
Every fun camp must come to an end. As we finished cleaning up the piñata debris, it was time to sing our theme song one last time. After the song, we got together to take one big group picture. As we began saying our goodbyes to the kids, it was a bittersweet moment. We were all worn out from camp but being able to hang out with the kids really brought a lot of joy to my heart. The kids would come up to us and ask if we would come back again next year. A few days ago, my answer would have been “I’m not sure”. But now I can confidently say that “YES, I would come back if God allows me to”.
I want to wrap up the kids camp with one of my favorite moments. On Saturday night, after we finished watching the movie, we had about 30 minutes to burn before dinner. Karen and Promoth brought out these Christmas cards for the kids to decorate. At first I wasn’t sure what the cards were for, but after looking at them closely, I realized that these are the Christmas cards that the kids mail to their sponsors back in US. It finally hit me, I realized that these are the kids that you see on people’s refrigerators when they sponsor a child through Partner International! I don’t know why, but that hit me pretty hard as I never thought I would meet any of those kids that my friends sponsor from back home. It also made me realize that it is because of the sponsorship from back home that these kids even have a chance to get an education. I was watching the kids decorate the cards and I could tell that they are very thankful for their sponsors to give them the chance at getting an education. I know these kids work very hard at school to take advantage of the opportunity that they are receiving. My message back to the sponsors is that, you ARE making a difference in these kids’ lives.
The camp ended around 1pm and we were supposed to head out to the southern tip of India that afternoon; however, due to the heavy rain we proponed the trip to another day. Since we were stuck indoors, we got to hear more team members share their stories. I really enjoyed the time where our team would open up and share their stories with each other. The stories were very encouraging as I was able to hear about how God is faithful and how God never left us. For me, this turned into a common theme. Seeing how God was there for everyone and how we just needed to obey Him. I’m also very thankful that the team allowed me to ask them the hard questions and not just giving me the dirty look or shutting me off. I’m thankful that I was able to be part of this team and I look forward to working with them again in the future.