Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reflection on the last quarter

    As I'd reckoned it was rather sad to go back to the place where I used to meet people I possibly never would again.
    In the first (actually eight) week I was scheduled to work in housekeeping but I was needed more to work at reception... after cleaning 2 hours long, I was sitting at reception: making phone calls, sending out feedbacks and checks, copying and laminating materials and praying for patience and understanding. A lot.

     I loved my first week. I've found a true kindred spirit in one of my co-counselors. The other one was just a kid (16). The week meant for her more fun than serving the Lord. I loved my unit leader, she has a serving heart, she was always there for us, ready to help and to pray for and with us. I learned much from her. 

    Not least this was the week when my nephew was there. He - though sometimes he was disobedient - was very cute, and the favorite of many. Often candies, lollipops and Tootsie Rolls were more important for him than memorizing a Bible verse by heart or to listen to the preaching, but he was there and he heard the Gospel many times, that what counts. On Tuesday night he raised his hand - he prayed the sinner's prayer after the Bible teacher. I don't know what he understood, there wasn't a visible change (I mean that I couldn't see he was sorry about his sins, or he understood why he needed a Savior), but he made a choice. On Thursday when we had the campfire of testimonies, he went forward and told his version.

     In the second week I couldn't really "work together" with my co-roomleaders. I often felt alone and needed God more and more to help. We all had different schedules and we as persons also are so different! For both of my co-counselors this was the very first summer... My perseverance was highly tested. I, as their leader kind of failed.
 Though it's also true that they weren't there and I was doing almost everything alone. It's also a fact, that you can't lead others when they are never there and they don't let themselves to be led. If they can't hardly be found to talk, when they don't do their responsibilities... When we were together everything was fine, but it happened rarely. (I clearly remember our first meeting - all together. It happened on Tuesday around lunchtime. Camp started on Sunday and we were together since Saturday afternoon!)
 We had a new unit leader and I just didn't feel she was there for me, she didn't even have time for me. But she was there for the others. We never talked and they did. They sat together and I didn't even know about where they were. They promised to be with the girls - entrusted us - and they weren't there. The less they did the more I had to do. I loved my girls but I was determined and consequent. And the two overwrote the rules.  

At the end of the week I was told we'd gather together to evaluate the week and I thought we would talk about the girls and the talks we had with them... But soon, at the very beginning I was told they wanted to confront me. When did they walk the talk? Where was the biblical principle? I couldn't find it anywhere. There was never a problem with me (and this was my third summer being a counselor, and the second being a leader) and now I was confronted and examined by a committee of three (unit leader + co-counselors). 
What was the real problem behind? I never got to know it. But without a concrete case I was attacked because of who I am: I am older, more mature and more consequent than they are. 
The following night was just horrible. I felt strange, I felt that I'd said too much, that I gave them materials for gossip... I said things I shouldn't have to. I literally cried to the Lord to forgive me and to change me in my weaknesses if I really need the change. I fell asleep while trolling In the Potter's hand. I prayed that He would take me, mold me, use me, fill me, call me, guide me and lead me... and thanked that He was always there for me.

    The third was my best week. My co-counselors were both 16 but they weren't like other teenagers. We were equal in perfect harmony. The girls loved us.. desperately. And we loved them! We had lots of fun all together. In the last evening we gave everyone the opportunity to share their best memories of this week, what they learned, what they treasured the most in the others. I got little presents from the girls - like a rock with a Bible verse on it, candies (they knew my favorite is the cinnamon-flavored ), a handmade bracelet (one of them was making in that very week) a letter...
 The week was about watching myself and letting God change me, but He ensured me that the way I treated the children lovingly was perfectly fine. Many of the girls told me how they loved me. The letter listed who I was and that's why they loved me.. (Notice: Those girls loved me for those attributions I was attacked against just a week before.) 


    The second week was just the preparation for the fourth week. Teens' camp. I never served in teens' camp before. I think because of my age, I got the oldest group - 17-19 years. But there weren't enough girls from this group of age, so I got a 13-years old (a girl I had in my first summer) several 15 and 16 years old girls, some 17 years old turning 18 later this summer or year. My only problem was that my co-counselors were 16 years old themselves and often they were more troublesome than our girls. I was so afraid of this week, but I was wrong. This was one of my best weeks ever! A positive disappointment.
Surely the week was challenging, but it was so good to see the girls with Bibles in their hands as we looked up passages together to find God's answer to their questions. We had deep spiritual conversations, I experienced how many opportunities God gives to share my testimony with the girls while having one-on-ones and how God uses me in their lives to strengthen their faith! It is a splendid feeling to be a tool in His hands!

    I had several ministries during camp season, one of them was helping out at reception on Saturdays when the volunteers arrived and showing them where they could find bed linen afterwards walking them to their rooms. 

In the 4th week I met a guy - he came to serve as a unit leader in that week - wearing a t-shirt of a German fire station. I asked him why he's wearing it and he told, that he was living in Germany and he got it from his sister. But he himself was a firefighter too. I couldn't help but smiling the whole time long. I had recently read Fireproof after watching it several times and the whole story, all the jokes came into my mind. I wanted to ask him "if he had found the hose stretcher" but I didn't dare. 
    The second was my old ministry from first year. I think it was the second week when I was asked to play my roles in Born Again To A Living Hope on Wednesdays during 4th-5th-6th-7th week. When we had the first rehearsal I was just standing on the stage not knowing what to do. I didn't remember my lines, the movements I should have made... I missed everyone from previous performances... I didn't know which role would be played by whom from the new peoples. It was rather confusing. And then the music started to play. All the "memories" of steps, gestures and movements came back... but the old people from all over the Earth. It was also strange that the campers talked to their counselors after the drama and after we changed, nobody else was in the room. We used to talk to people, asking what they understood from the drama, sharing the Gospel and our own testimonies, challenging them to make a decision... I missed those old times.

And the third was babysitting during church service. Children under 5 years came to play... Sometimes there was only one little girl with me, but I also had eight at the same time: Americans and Hungarians, boys and girls - from one year to three mixed. I was thrown into deep water, but luckily a 17 years old volunteer boy (working in the kitchen / maintenance... it changed week by week, because he spent six weeks out of the seven there!) came to help. He was a big help for me and he enjoyed to be with the kids very much! We became friends and it's strange not having him around. He was like a little brother to me. If I had a younger brother I would like him to be just like him.

    In the last three weeks I was working full time at reception again. It was very good. I was to tired and it was good to have a "system" in my daily routine. I had more free time and finally I could meet people: interns and staff. Though it was full of sad moments too. It was high time to say good-bye to beloved friends (from the States, Germany and Hungary) I possibly never would see again but in heaven. I visited friends I promised it to months before, I hung out with them, took pictures, watched movies and tried to make up the missing time... If it worked? It definitely makes me miss them more. But real handwritten letters along with modern technology (skype) are wonderful inventions, with their help we can keep in touch.

    How my summer was after all? Interesting. Strange. Blessed. 
Words cannot describe the wonders of God I experienced, the emptiness and sadness which stayed after this long period of farewell and the sweet, encouraging comfort only God can give to those who truly seek Him. 

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