Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#teamagua2015: Camp!

"Ministry is simply loving the person in front of you. It's about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world." {Heidi Baker}

We left Otovalo early on Saturday morning and made the long drive through the mountains to the coast. 

We made it to Esmereldes in the early afternoon (the humid sea air was quite a contrast from the cool mountain air we were used to!), and after dropping off our luggage at the hotel, we invaded a little smoothie shop for lunch and then hit the beach for an afternoon of volleyball and relaxation.

After church in Esmereldes on Sunday, we drove to camp. Everyone who had previously been on the trip had kept saying that camp week was the best, so we were all pretty excited. 

The kids arrived on Sunday night. It was so fun to see some of the same kids we had worked with in Quito the first week, and all the helpers from the church. 

About 60 kids divided up onto the five teams - Verde, Azul, Morado, Rojo, and Amarillo. Unlike the previous weeks where kids had been divided into groups based on their ages, camp groups divided up the ages evenly. I was on Verde, and of course, we had the best team. ;)

The kids still cycled through the craft, game, story rotation in the mornings. 

There is a week long competition between the five teams. Points are earned by winning team games, being the fastest team to line up, and reciting the memory verses. Every night the leaders were announced, and there was a medal ceremony at the end of the week. The kids love the competition.

In the afternoon we played team games. The World Cup soccer tournament was a lot of fun. The kids are crazy about "fĂștbol"! 

Edgar helped ref the tournament

Each team made up a team chant, so it would get pretty noisy during the games!

The World Cup final was Azul vs. Rojo (Verde finished third)

Azul won!

We played water games one afternoon too

It very appropriately started raining on water day. 

They took their job pretty seriously. 

After group games, we would head to the beach. It must have been quite a sight to watch 100+ people parade through the little town. 

The kids absolutely loved the beach, but I must say, it was a little nerve-wracking. The waves were really big and some of the kids didn't even know how to swim. We pretty much would just count heads the entire time we were there. 

Love you, Andrea!

Photo credit: Rachel Stewart 

The final group game was 5-way capture the flag. We got all decked out in face paint and had a blast. 


The awesome kitchen staff (Hurray for Tomate!) guarded the jail and made sure everyone was playing by the rules. 

In the evening, right before the large group, there would be a line up (kids would be playing outside...or sleeping in their cabins...or taking a shower.. a whistle would blow, they would run like crazies to the basketball court) and the first team to have everybody there would get to carry their flag in first. 

"So wave your flag"

But one of my favorite things about camp week was when there was nothing to do. The times you could sit around the table and share a meal with the kids. The times you'd walk outside and just be able to sit with them for awhile. The times when they were done with their group devotions in the morning and I could braid the girls' hair. The times they were so tired they'd fall asleep in your arms. The times I'd be walking, and someone would come up and slip their hand in mine. The times we just got to do life with them. 

The last night, the points for the whole week were totaled, and the winners announced. Verde got bronze. 

Azul got silver.

Rojo got gold.

The very best moment at camp happened on Friday morning. During the morning rotations, I was cycling through the groups taking photos, and just happened to be at the story group just as they were finishing up with my team.

 The story leaders told the kids that if they had any questions about salvation, to just raise their hands and the leaders would be happy to talk to them. Four little campers' hands went up. One of the story team leaders, a translator and myself, were able to pull two of them aside and explain to them in depth what salvation means.

It was with so much joy that I listened as they confessed that they were sinners and prayed to receive Christ into their lives. Another story team leader and translator were able to meet with the other two kids and they also made professions of faith. 

In that moment, it was all worth it. The late nights and the early mornings. The blistering sun. The bug bites. Everything was worth it. Because somewhere between running across the camp at the sound of a whistle blowing and falling asleep at the dinner table, four little campers realized that they needed Jesus. And after all, that's why we went. 

*I do have one more #teamagua2015 post that sums the trip up, but it won't be up for two weeks, because I'll be out of town next Wednesday, attending the Passion4Christ Summit!*

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