Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Imminently before camp...

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

  God is alive and active. So is Satan.
Within a span of a few hours last Friday evening, our family was beset with several incidents that messed up our plans, to say the least.

   As you know, we were preparing for camp. My mom drove up to WI with the three little kids to pick up Chris from where he's working. My dad was trying to make the most of some resting time. It had been overcast most of the day, with thunderstorms predicted for the night. Believe it or not, in IL, the weather report are usually accurate. The storms came. The power, however, left. This did not seem like a problem at first. Normally, I enjoy when the power goes out. It usually comes back within an hour or two, and it is fun to see what we are "dependent" on for electricity in the meantime. But, it was raining now. Hard. And our sump pump does not have a backup battery. Nor do we have a generator. So... the basement started to flood. Anyone who has been in our basement knows that is a very bad thing. Not only do we have carpet down there, but there are tons of piles of stuff down there: boxes of books and papers, musical instruments and amps, computers. We brought the guitars, amplifiers, and most-at-risk boxes of paper/books upstairs, and prayed for the power to come back on.

   Meanwhile, my mom is getting ready to return with Chris... and the van won't start. And it won't start. And it won't start. So they are stranded at a youth camp 40 minutes away. This development isn't very encouraging to us here at home.

   But the power comes back on after a bit more than an hour. Hallelujah, thank you Lord! It's hardly raining at all now. We kids who are home go out on the driveway for a bit for a short refresher from being cooped up indoors. Michael and Valerie start sparring with homemade swords made from metal bars. My dad tells them to stop because, "All we need now is for someone to get hurt". (!) Sadly, they do not obey immediately, and Michael's sword hits Valerie on her upper lip. It is quite a bad cut, with substantial bleeding. It will need stitches. Dad, Valerie, and I go to the ER. Val gets 8 stitches.

   Back in WI, a friend is working on the van, but nothing is happening fast. Mom and the kids spend the night at the WI camp. The guys work on the van until 5 in the morning, but to no avail. It will have to be taken to a mechanic.

   We get back from the ER at about 11 (after stopping at Walgreen's for antibiotic prescription. The basement is 3 inches deep in water in places. Dad and Michael run water soak-up until 2 AM; I bake the quadruple batch of Amish friendship bread that Valerie was about to bake when the power went out (I let her go to bed) and wash dishes. I also take a turn on water soak-up using the carpet cleaner. It's tiring work, especially at this point in time.

   The next day, Saturday, was quite different from originally planned. Instead of the kids and Dad pulling out at 7 in the morning for camp in the van, and we at home doing Red Day, we at home were doing water soak-up and Mom and all in WI were riding home at 1 PM with a friend who works at camp. She lives in the same town as us and was returning home for her day off. Not only that, she has a minivan and so could transport 5 people. It was Providential! Michael and Stephanie got picked up by yet another friend, who drove them to camp. (their son was originally supposed to ride down in our van. This friend also is graciously lending us a car that they aren't using this week until tomorrow when the van is done.) Dad, Chris, and Val drove down to camp in the car after dinner, having missed half a day of camp. Mom and I continue on water soak-up while at Rainbow* (Color) Camp.

   Through it all, God has been protecting and providing even as we are being stretched. I am learning a lot about sleep deprivation, perseverance, and prayer. And Rainbow Camp is fun, by the way. My little siblings are a blast.

   Satan is alive and active. So is God. And God wins.

*My mom was remarking about Rainbow Camp being after The Flood. My dad replied, "Does that mean it won't happen ever again?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Camp, imminent.

On Saturday, my Dad, Chris, Val, Michael, and Stephanie are going to camp (that which was formerly known as Awana Scholarship Camp). They are super excited. It is exceedingly strange to not be going - I've gone for the last 8 years! But now I'm too old (or, if you ask my dad, I had no more handbooks to complete). Those who are remaining at home are going to be doing Year 2 of Color Camp. Each day is designated a color, and we do our best to wear, eat, and do activities of that color. So that should be fun.
Pray that it is a great week and that God does a great work in the campers' lives. Every year that I went I was challenged and energized in my walk with the Lord. Pray also that the high schoolers' mission trip (to a day camp for Peoria inner-city kids) is a blessing to them and brings many to salvation.