Camping Out in an Unusual Place
I mentioned before that rainy season has lasted much longer than usual this year, which presented certain challenges for camping in tents. We arrived at the pastor’s house where we planned to camp only to find muddy areas where we planned to pitch our tents. In fact, just as we were about to set up the tents, the skies opened up and released torrents of rain. Sooooo, we pitched the tents under the carport of the pastor’s house. Not exactly a traditional campsite, and the tents are a bit the worse for wear, but everyone remained dry.
The Advantage of Cloudy Skies
As the team led the teenagers in various activities to prepare them for a couple mountain climbs, it was kind of nice to have somewhat overcast skies so things weren’t so hot. They got in some good practice on hills as the pastor’s house was located in the mountains of northern Bali.
Art and Crafts
This year, we had the special asset of having an art teacher on the team. She had the kids making their own batik designs as well as doing some wood carving.
Sharing Life Stories
During the course of the first week, each camper had a chance to share however much of their life stories with the group. As each camper finished his or her story, the other campers and leaders gathered around to pray for that person, share a scripture verse, or give a word of encouragement. This was a special time for the teens to learn to minister to each other.
Privileges and Responsibilities of Being Royal
The teaching during the camp focused on the reality that as sons and daughters of the King of Kings, we have available to us all the resources of heaven. We don’t need to live as paupers. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that we were teaching the kids a prosperity gospel, let me clarify. It is true that God promises to supply all our needs. The resources of heaven go far beyond the material provision. The resources of Heaven also consist of such things as joy, peace, love, strength, and courage. As children of God we have all these resources at our disposal just for the asking. We also have a responsibility to use these resources for the benefit of others, not just for ourselves.
For me personally, one of the most powerful sessions in the camp happened during one of the praise and worship times. We met on the verandah of the pastor’s house which overlooks the valley where they minister. Instead of sitting in a circle facing each other as we sang, we were asked to face outward instead. We sang God’s praises over the valley - one song after another. The leader then asked us each to pick one of the houses we saw in the valley, and as princes and princesses in God’s family, to pray for the family living in that house. Pray for God’s blessing on that house and everyone in it. Pray for health, harmony, provision, and for them to have a relationship with God. The pastor’s wife told me later that she really appreciated those prayers that went out over the territory where they minister.
Climb Every Mountain - Well, We Tried
Well, not every mountain. We planned two climbs - Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali, and Mount Batur. Sadly, the first climb did not happen. As we headed to bed early to prepare for a 1:00AM start, it began to rain. And it rained, and rained, and rained. Between the rain, wind on the mountain, and the likelihood of cloud cover, it was decided that the Agung climb would be too dangerous. The kids were really disappointed, but it was the right decision.
The next day, we headed on to the second mountain, Mount Batur. We had planned to pitch the tents for two nights near the starting point for the climb and then move to a homestay for the final night. However, the weather forecast promised rain over the next seven days.
This required a shift in plans. We were able to change our reservations at the homestay. Instead of six rooms for one night, we took four rooms for two nights and fit more people in each room. As the Indonesian kids don’t mind sleeping up close and personal, this worked quite well.
The Batur climb turned out to be a really good one, and the teens had time to reflect on the beauty and majesty of God’s creation. The weather was fine. In fact, the forecasted rain didn’t actually materialize. The kids enjoyed the hot springs pools at the homestay. Who am I kidding? I enjoyed them, too.
Early End to Camp
Camp ended one day early, due to all the changes. We returned to Klungkung, and I had twenty-one people sleeping over at my house. Tents and sleeping bags were hung out to dry. We had to move some of these inside at night when…you guessed it…a big rainstorm passed through. All ended well, though. Everything got dry and packed away before the team left for Australia and the USA. It was a privilege to serve with this team and to get to know the special young people God brought together for this camp.
Now…Take a Deep Breath…and Launch Into the Next Month
Right now, Rachel and I have less than four weeks to finish packing up and saying goodbye. There is so very much to do. Please pray for us over this next month for organization, peace, health, and good closure to this chapter of our lives.
Well, I guess that is it for now. I’ll try to send out another update before we leave Bali on August 11th.