This is Ashton here, writing to you on our fourth day at camp. The past couple of days have been filled with competitive outdoor games, laughter, tears, pranks, lots of soup, and many, many smiles. My biggest worry was that I would not connect very easily with the campers because of the language barrier, but God quickly took my worries away when I met Irena, Claudia, Geo, Andrea, and Mariana. We hesitated at first to be completely open and comfortable around each other, but as each night went on, we had deeper and deeper discussions over cookies and tea. I am a part of the program team and have enjoyed (maybe too much) dressing in 80’s workout clothes, wearing leg warmers, sweat bands, and leotards. I surprised myself and am finding it so easy to goof off with the campers and start conversations with them. I can feel all of the amazing things God is putting in front of me, and he is answering my prayers in amazing ways. So, with this, I took a leap and joined prayer team as the second morning of camp. It is an encouraging feeling to hear Pat and Claudia to pray and to lift all our worries to God in such an amazing environment.
Yesterday, we went on a six-hour hike and my faith in God grew even stronger as we looked out at the indescribable view at the top. I know God was with us the entire time, and I felt at that moment that he was giving me strength that I didn’t think I had so that I would be able to experience his wonders in this way. We dipped our feet in a freezing cold glacier lake and then returned home to spend the rest of the night learning pick up lines from the campers who, by the way, say I have an amazing Romanian accent, and then also making friendship bracelets with my roommates until 1:00am. Even the next day, God gave me the energy that I needed, and I did not feel tired or sore from the day before. He is incredible! Even after all of these amazing things He has done for me, I felt as though I came the closest to God that I ever have been tonight. After having some campers drink blended sardines and junk food during program, we spent some time to sing songs and worship. It was extremely encouraging to see all of the kids enjoying themselves during this time, and once the evening session was finished, we went straight into our small group. Right away, we talked about doubts in our faith and shared stories of doubt; leading the way to a very intimate discussion. There were many tears, and to calm us down, Claudia did something I will never forget. She wanted to take a moment to close our eyes, hold hands, and sing Amazing Grace together and just lift our doubts up to God. I felt God intensely in that moment, and I will forever be grateful for Him allowing me to feel his love in this way.
I am excited to see what He has planned for myself and the team as we continue on with the rest of our trip, and I could go on and on about all of the incredible things I have seen in the past 8 days, but I am also writing this past curfew :/ I would just like to end saying a few things.
- I have tried every food that has been passed my way on this trip and I have not tasted one that I did not enjoy, and I think Shwarma might just be my new favorite food @Morgan.
- Reed family, I hope you are getting ready to have an awesome time in Texas and please say hi to everyone for me when you arrive.
- Thanks for reading this blog post, and from everyone on the team, we are having an amazing time and can’t wait to tell you all about it when we return 🙂
To Bria, Hannah, Noah, Dan, Katrina: <3 Thank you for your words of wisdom, they were very timely, Love Pat.
To George: GEORGE I AM SO SORRY FOR NOT SHOUTING YOU OUT ON THE LAST POST ☹ I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!! How is your vacation??
To George again: This is a make up shoutout for my missed shoutout, please tell me how the cruise is and the food. I hope the staff is treating you well and your hacky sack brings you joy. Don’t forget to take your seasick medication if you feel queasy and drink LOTS of water, at least 3 or 4 bucket fulls a day!
To Matt and Rachel Metzger: Thank you for the 17 and 2/3 birthday wishes, I opened it on time but was unable to shoutout until now.
To Carynne: Thanks so much for commenting (and updating us on the Bachelorette 😊) We miss you soooooo much and we can’t wait to tell you about it when we get back!!! Love, Elise and Leah
To Hannah: I miss you a whole lot and I have SO much to tell you! I hope MadMish is going great <3
To the rents: Nooooo! How could you?
To Job: I’m offended I didn’t get a comment from you. You got your own shoutout and everything.