Another bright, sunshiny, hot day until our evening Gazebo time ended and some sprinkling began. Don't know if that will develop into more rain and a rainy day tomorrow but we'll see before long.
The children are eager and excited about being with us but that often leads to kids roaring and racing all over the place trying to participate in what seems to be most exciting at the moment. My Treasure Hunt is quite a fun activity but it's quite a challenge to keep some kids who haven't yet had a turn from trying to join a group in progress. But we have managed to have some fun moments and hopefully give a bit of God's truth about what True Treasure is.
The children are actively getting involved in performing during gazebo times as Diane is rehearsing them to reenact the scripture story or an adaptation of the scripture's theme and message. A group of young teen boys were The Unforgiving Servant and all the main characters in that story this evening. They had their lines memorized and gave a great performance. Their comrades really enjoyed the colorful skit. I was surprisingly delighted to see that the young man who had been such a pest as I tried to guide a group of girls through the Treasure Hunt this morning, was quite the actor and the star of the skit. His begging, pleading, tearful performance as the King demanded repayment of debt was quite amazing.
We have DVD segments to show each day of photos taken in the past years which we show daily on a TV. The kids crowd into the gazebo and love watching themselves and their friends from years past. We have many children here who have been in camp since 2005 when we came for the first time. They are growing and maturing so it's fun to see that progress. In some cases the children are very sweet and in other cases we see some hardening and toughening of their personalities and actions. One teen girl who seems poised to choose a path of rebellion, is actually very regular in attendance at all activities - right front and center with her loud, enthusiastic participation. Pray that Nargessa will follow the Lord she hears about daily during the weeks a CERI team is here.
Our theme today was FORGIVE EACH OTHER. In the adult class, I am trying to present the same scripture to my 7 or 8 faithful teachers. It was quite a discussion today on this subject. Forgiveness is a challenge for all of us and it stirred deep emotions today.
As we got back to the team house for lunch today, we were met by Connie, the CERI director to ask is we had someone willing to share a sermon at the young people's meeting at Jesus Savior Baptist Church tonight. The church Sr. pastor had called her to ask. I immediately thought of Mark Clemons and he said "Yes" before he asked how many would be attending or how long it should last. The answer to those questions was that there would be about 400 between ages 15-30 and he should plan to speak for 40 minutes. I guess summer vacation took that number down a bit but he went (after ironing his golf shirt) and enjoyed his experience. He had studied last evening for his turn as the morning team devotional leader on the subject of ARE NATURAL DISASTERS GOD'S PUNISHMENT OF PEOPLE? I had been told by an adult at the camp that "God is punishing us by sending floods" and I had suggested we discuss that concept as a team. He did a good job of Biblically dealing with the subject so it seems his thought and preparation got used for a couple different purposes.
But it's past my bedtime and only a couple people are still up at 11:20pm to continue preparation for tomorrow. John M. is faithfully printing photos he and his classes are taking during the day. Diane is putting together props for presentations tomorrow. Phillip (age 10), has gone to bed now but practiced his speed-stacking demonstration for tomorrow morning when we begin a day with the theme, PUT MY WORDS INTO PRACTICE: THE WISE AND FOOLISH BUILDERS.
Natalie and Shera have a growing number of teen gals in their troupe. Pray for these gals as they are strategic in modeling Christ-like behavior and choices to young women about to become adults with many tempting, but ungodly choices.
We shared some of the clothing we brought with translators today. They were so appreciative of being able to select some lovely items which suited them nicely. One gal is 29 years old. She is a college prof in Medical education. She has 6 years of education in medicine. She found a lovely brown, twead sweater sent from Idaho for this trip which she lovingly held up to herself and asked if she could have that one. She said, "It is so soft and it's just my size and style." I can't tell you often enough how grateful I am to be able to share what many have provided with all we have contact with while here. We will take clothes to the camp tomorrow afternoon.
We've had a few moments of lightness - volleyball games with the translators and some good-natured teasing and laughing. It's going well here at this point. The pool remains unrefilled so the kids are up for all the action and activities we have the energy to lead. How thankful our "seasoned" team members are for young Sydney and Phillip, Allison, Natalie and Shera in their twenties, James, Diane and Tammy next in line and from there we won't speculate.
Keep praying for us as we're depending on your important role in that needy and critical area.