Tuesday, June 28, 2005

CYIA Update

Hello all!

Thank you so much for all your prayers while I was at camp. I was reminded again how much we need continual prayer, and God answered in amazing ways.

On July 10, all of the CYIAers will be sharing during evening service, and I will be sharing one of these stories there as well, so I hope you don't mind the repetitivity.

We had a safe and fun ride down to camp, and I wasn't the slightest bit sleepy during the drive, which was a huge praise. The rest of that day I was very tired and had to drink 4 caffeinated beverages to get through the day, though. As soon as I got to camp, Jeff (the director) gave us our room assignments and told me that he had switched me to being a senior CYIA supervisor. That was a somewhat scary moment for me! But there were immediate benefits that I could see as well. For example, I would be able to actually see and participate in a similar club to the ones I will be teaching this summer.

After unpacking, I met the girls I would be supervising at clubs. Their names are Erin, Elizabeth, and Melissa, and they are 16, 16, and almost 16. One of the girls' mothers was also a supervisor, and she didn't believe that I was her daughter's supervisor at first. That was a humbling but amusing moment for me!

In our first supervisor meeting, we got our club assignments. After handing out the packets with maps and other supplies that we would need for club, Ken (the guy that organizes the clubs and contacts hostesses) told us about a club that was heavy on his heart. It was at Continental Apartments in Auburn, which is in a poor Hispanic neighborhood. He talked about the immense need there, and the hundreds of kids in that neighborhood who are largely without supervision. I looked at my packet...there on the front were the words "Continental Apts." Two other teams would be going there as well, so that evening the two other supervisors and I drove off to find the location so we wouldn't get lost on our way to club on Monday. When we found the neighborhood, I saw that it was teeming with kids, but it was also full of adults who looked suspiciously at the three white people driving around the block. I didn't feel very safe! We also found out that we had no hostess and would be bringing the snacks, etc., ourselves. It was at this point that I decided to send a letter to my mom asking for prayer. :-)

Every morning, we would have a practice session in which we would run through the entire club as a team, and I would evaluate the teens and tell them how to improve. The first morning we did it, I was really excited to see what would happen. I came to the practice fresh off a supervisor prayer time, and I was excited, but it was three terrified faces who looked back at me that morning. They were scared and unprepared, and they knew it. Their individual study times had not gone well, and it showed. That practice did not go very well, and the Bible lesson was a complete flop. She had too many notes crowded onto too small of an area, and she kept getting confused. We all came out of it with a firm resolution to study during free time.

After much prayer and studying, we went to club. God blessed us with safe travel throughout the whole week, which was a miracle because I was so often distracted during the drive time. When we got there, a little girl was already waiting in one of the tents and we struck up a conversation with her. Her name was Alma, and she was 9 years old. She told us that the others were still at school, and their bus would come at 3:50. Our club was supposed to start at 3:30, but we immediately decided to change it to 4:00.

That club was crazy but fun. Two girls responded to the invitation, one of whom was our friend Alma from the start of club. They both believed in Jesus as their Savior that day, and both asked for Bibles. We promised that we would get them and drove back to camp with much rejoicing.

The next day was drizzly. We were concerned because our club was outside, and the closer we got camp, the harder it rained. There was thunder and lightening, and my windshield wipers were going as fast as they could. When we got out of my car, it was as if we had stepped into a shower! We ran underneath the eaves of the building and immediately began praying for wisdom and calmness in the face of this adversity. The "guys team", as we called them, showed up with an umbrella, and we got the manager to open up the cabana. But still we were unsure of what to do because we had three clubs at that one location. Finally we decided that two of the clubs would meet where apartment buildings came together, and the other would be in the cabana. That day, one girl believed in Jesus for the first time at our club, and another was counseled for assurance of salvation. In the guys' club, 6 kids believed!

Wednesday it rained as well. Our club went fine, but Elizabeth, who did the Bible lesson, was discouraged. She had wanted to lead a child to Christ, but none had responded to the invitation. She thought of more things she had done wrong than I had thought of, and she was most upset because she had forgotten to give a Bible verse when she gave the invitation. I encouraged her as best I could and prayed with her.

Thursday we were able to be outside again. The nice weather, however, made it so that we lost some of the boys to a soccer game. They would kick the ball around, come and listen a little, and then go back to their game, which was knid of distracting. By Thursday evening, all four of us were tired, out of sorts, and mildly depressed. But as the supervisor, I had to be the instigator, so I did my level best to be enthusiastic and peppy that evening. Those of you that know well know that "peppy" is not a word you would often use to describe me, so I had to rely on God a lot to get me through. By His grace, we all made it through that evening and even got some studying done.

We went into Friday morning with a lot of energy...supernatural energy I'm sure because we all didn't sleep very well. Elizabeth was teaching the Bible lesson that day, so we were all praying that she would get the opportunity to counsel children. Whenever any of the four of us was asked for a prayer request, that was it, so Elizabeth was smothered in prayer.

When we got to club though, we had no kids. The other teams each had one or two, but we had none. After another prayer huddle, the girls went to knock on the doors of the kids' houses and ask if they wanted to come to club. Meanwhile, the Junior CYIAer who had joined our team stayed with me to talk to others about the problem. We found out that all of the kids were at a fair at a nearby game farm. One girl came by, however. She had not gone to the fair because she was babysitting. We started club with just her. Elizabeth was a couple of pages into the Bible lesson when another little girl arrived. We had Maria help Elizabeth tell the start of the story again, but neither girl responded to the invitation. Then during the missionary story, eight more children showed up. Erin told them, "We can't do the game because you guys weren't here for the story." But the kids asked to hear it again, so Elizabeth told them. By now, she was experienced and did a beautiful job, but still no one responded.

After the review game, Erin led them in our "One way" theme song. As she did so, she went over the gospel truths again, and reminded the kids to talk to Elizabeth if they wanted to know more about how to believe on Jesus. Then the mayhem of the end of club began. In the chaos, a little girl came up to me and asked, "When do we talk to Elizabeth?" "RIGHT NOW!!!" I told her, and led her over to Elizabeth. That day, Alejandera believed in Jesus Christ. We were all ecstatic, and our JCYIAer was jumping up and down! She had never seen God answer prayer so vividly before, and her faith grew incredibly that day. We hated to leave that afternoon, but we left the kids with lots of smiles. The girls we had given Bibles too were reading them hungrily as we left...it was awesome to see!

So there's a brief story of how camp went. ("That's her idea of BRIEF?!?" I'm sure you're thinking.) It was awesome, as usual!!

I do have some prayer requests amid all these praises:

~For Alma, Samantha, Maria, and Alejandera, that they will grow in their faith and continue to have that hunger for God

~For the Continental Apts. area, that a strong Christian witness will develop there

~For Erin, Elizabeth, and Melissa, that they will remain strong during this after camp time that they are particularly vulnerable to attack

~For me that I will remain faithful to being in God's word, and that I will be strong to follow through on some hard decisions that I made at camp. That love for God would continue to consume me and to overflow to the children I teach

~That I will be able to prepare adequately for clubs

~That the clubs would be prepared for me!

~That I will be able to make a good team with those I teach with, that we will work well together

Thank you so much! I will start teaching clubs July 11, and another email will probably get sent out around that time.

In Him,
1 Corinthians 15:58


Kimi said...

Jill, I'm so happy Elizabeth had the experience of leading that girl to Christ, that was a wonderful story. God is so amazing isn't he?

Paul J said...

Too bad I'll miss the July 10th update, since I'll be in OK City teaching with CEF. I'll definately be praying for your clubs though.

Jillian said...

Kimi...yes, that was cool. We were all pretty much walking on air the rest of the day, and we danced the whole way back to camp. :-)

Paul...I'll be praying for you as well. How long will you be gone?

Abbie said...

I'm glad you had such a good week at camp, Jill. I was praying for you all.

I, too, will be away on July 10. Wish I didn't have to miss your presentation, but hope you do a great job! I'll be in California soakin' up the sunshine! :)