Saturday, June 28, 2008

NE Kids Kamps

Kids Kamps
Here's some highlights from our 2 weeks of kids kamps the last two weeks of June:
1). The speakers were KidzTurn Ministries, the Lussier family from West Virginia. There was 11 people in all, full of parents, kids and grandkids. Carl Lussier, the head of the ministry, was my wife's children's pastor when she was a small kid. Kim was an air force kid and when she was real young, her family was stationed in Caribou, Maine. That is where she was in his ministry. They pulled up some home movies and found some clips of Kim, and then also discovered that Erik Boulier, a youth pastor in Omaha, was also in their ministry at that time. What a small world.
2). The last night, a student that had been working on the rec staff and in the kitchen came up to me after service just outside of the Tabernacle. Usually, they are working so hard that it's hard for them to get to the know the kids and enjoy the services. He told me that God had really spoke to him while he was praying with the kids, and helped him realize that he needed to get closer to God in his own life. Many times, God touches us when we are busy obeying what He has called us to do in ministering to others.
3). I had the chance to interact with a young girl who was visiting her cousin in NE, and came to camp with her. She lives in Florida, and was in NE for the summer with her grandma and grandpa. At camp, she got things right in her heart with the Lord, and then she was also baptized in the Holy Spirit. Talk about a wonderful summer in NE.
4). We do all of our youth/CE camps in a row for 4 weeks in June. The first two camps are youth camps. As we pray for people to baptized in the Holy Spirit at the youth camps, many youth are wonderfully blessed with God's gift, and others struggle with having the faith to speak out in tongues. At Kids Kamp, just about every kid I prayed with spoke out in tongues almost instantly, and kept praying for others in that same way as well. Faith like a child.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

SR. HIGH CAMP 2008 !!!

Last week, we finished our Sr. High Camp for 2008. Here's some of the highlights:
1). 2 weeks prior to camp, we were told that we had 330 pre-registered campers, which was amazing because that was same total of campers we had last year, which was a new record. 1 day before our first camp, we were corrected that the actual total was only 245, much lower than expected at that time. I felt that God told me not to worry about it, but to do my best and trust Him with the results. In the end, we had 380 campers and 540 total people for a huge new record once again. 70 campers stayed at Camp Arrowhead and we had 10 male leaders on mattresses above the gym. Next year, we are splitting into 3 camps to accomodate the growing numbers. Any great ideas on how to divide the camps evenly would be appreciated.
2). On Tuesday night, our camp speaker, Jeff Little, had a quick moment of mentioning students who don't try their best for God in school. I was teaching a workshop all week on being a better student entitled, ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? His comment sparked a fire in me, and when I went to end the service, I had special prayer for people who struggle in school and those with learning disabilities. I had many people come up to me afterwards and say that they felt God touch their minds and heal them of this issue in their lives.
3). A high school student that came to camp had worked at Jr. High Camp the week before. On Thursday of that week, she sprained her wrist and went home with it wrapped. On Friday night, she had messaged me on Myspace and said that she was bummed she would have to come to her camp with an injury. On Sunday night, she wrote me again and said that I didn't need to worry about it because God had healed her. I saw her at camp all week, moving about normally without any pain. God doesn't just do the miracles at camp!
4). In the past we've had a bad way of promoting STL at camp. We have the teams vote for their team's representatives to compete for Mr. and Mrs. Camp Comedian and Mr. and Mrs. Camp Nice Guy/Gal. They went around with empty gatorade bottles raising money from their friends by doing outrageous gags and stunts. We brought in around $2500 but didn't promote the value of STL too well. We decided to change it up this year. Wed night was our missions night and we brought in a missionary, had our speaker speak about missions, and took up an offering at the end. Well over $3,000 came in and many of my leaders came to thank me for doing it the right way.
5). A boy from Bellevue came with his church group even though he had yet to commit his life to Christ. He was Mormon and really had fun at the youth group on Wed nights. He gave his life to Christ, and came up to me on Friday testifying that God had filled him with the Holy Spirit the night before as well. What a week of change for that young man.
6) After camp is completed, I always stand by the exit and say goodbye to the groups as they leave. I said goodbye to the group from Grand Island Northridge and carried on with my business. Only 2 minutes later, the pastor from Northridge called me needing help because his van had broken down. I tried to call other groups from Grand Island to help him, but they were already down the road. Earlier in the week, this pastor had helped a Spanish pastor from Lexington take a tour of our camp facilities and help him decide if he wanted to rent them or not. That same Spanish pastor ran into our our pastor from Grand Island broken down with his van on the side of the road in Lexington. He helped him find a good mechanic, they got it fixed, and were on their way in no time flat (no pun intended) Isn't it amazing how God brings things together for His purposes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

JV CAMP 2008 - June 2-6

Here's some of the highlights!!!
1). Tuesday night, as I was wrapping up students, I felt that God wanted me to call our some students and speak into their lives what I see in them, in front of everyone. I looked around the room, waiting for God to speak, and found a young girl from Norfolk. God spoke to me that she would be a wonderful mom, taking care of young children. Later that night, she said that it confirmed some things she was feeling on the inside. At the end of the week, during our last wrap up service on Friday, she came forward to testify and she said that God called her to be a children's minister. What an awesome time for her, and for me, to see God at work!
2). Wednesday, we had some severe storms come through the camp! 4 different times the tornado sirens went off and 4 different times we made the whole camp seek shelter. As far as we knew, that was a record in one day at Camp Lex. We did it once before dinner, 2 times right before service, and once right before bed. Thankfully, we didn't have to wake everyone up and do it in the middle of the night.
3). Thursday night, we had a set schedule for the service, like normal. But we had a fine arts performance, followed by Mike Maroney. He felt led to lead us, acapella, in a song. The worship team came up and played another song, and then worship broke out for about a half hour, unplanned. Tony Cruz, our speaker, came up and spoke afterwards, and we had a wonderful night of God's power, but what an incredible time of God TAKING OVER.
4). Davin Holmgren, a 2nd year Master's Student from Bellevue, was recruited to help Rob Conner, our camp dean and senior pastor in Nebraska City, help make specialty coffee in the mornings from 8 to 9am. During that same time, dorm rooms are supposed to clean their rooms, which will be inspected and rewarded or punished from 9 to 10am. One day, Davin's room was the messiest, and all because he volunteered to help Rob, the camp dean, who incidentally, is responsible for 'punishing' the messiest room. Talk about being setup!
5). Wednesday night was our missions service. John Francisco came as our guest missionary, and did an excellent job communicating with our students. At the end of the night, I came up and talked about giving our best to God. I encouraged the students and leaders to give their best in a missions (STL) offering. In the past, we've promoted STL through STL personalities. Students selected by their teams would go around with an empty Gatorade bottle and earn money from people by doing crazy stunts and such. Though it brought in good money for STL, it wasn't the best promotion of an important program which has declined in recent years. We tried this new approach and had a wonderful offering equal to what we've done in previous years. Plus, I had a leader that caught me right before leaving on Friday, and he gave me a check for $250, saying that hadn't given that previous night, but they knew that God had called them to do it. Always give God your best, whatever it might be.