Abby’s Adventures…Week 3

I was able to visit Abigail at The Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina a few weeks ago. Although she is busy helping feed a thousand campers each week, she is enjoying it. This is her most recent update of what she’s been doing and what God has been teaching her.

Hey!

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The pretty waitresses at The Wilds Christian Camp- Summer 2016

I hope you are all doing well!  I miss my Cedar Lane family.  There really isn’t any place like TullaHOMEa.

   I’m think most of you have never even heard of The Wilds except for what I’ve told you about it.  I wish you could have the opportunity to see what I’m seeing and experience these beautiful mountains, but since you can’t, I want to give you a little bit of an idea of what camp is like.
     Each week of camp I have a prayer partner cabin.  So when I’m not working as a waitress I go look for my prayer partner cabin for that week.  I usually go tubing down the creek with them or play volleyball in the sand to get to know the girls a little bit.  This week I hiked to 4th falls with them. The falls are breathtaking, but it’s a long difficult hike to get there.  Fortunately, there’s a pool at the bottom of the falls that’s about 12 feet deep.  It’s so rewarding to get to swim after being so hot and tired from the hike.  Here’s a picture of 4th falls.
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The 4th Falls

I also got to ride on The Giant Swing with a girl. We got harnessed into a full body sling, and then was slowly raised to 65 feet high.  The whole time you are looking down at the concrete realizing that the drop is coming, but never knowing when it will be.  You can hear the campers down below yelling “5, 4, 3, 2,1!!!”  But they usually count too early or too late just to throw you off.  Here’s a picture from the top of the swing looking down at camp (you can see the putt-putt course and basketball courts).
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A view from The Giant Swing!

After the drop, you get the ride of your life.  It feels like you’re going to splat into the pavement, but right before you hit, the sling catches you and you soar up like Superman!

 

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Viewing The Giant Swing from below. (Personally, I like this view better!)

    Another Wilds attraction I got to experience with my prayer partners was some fun at the lake.  You can go boating, kayaking, catch and release fishing, or enjoy the water park.  They have a rock wall, a lake trolley, The Blob, a tube slide, and a high jump.  I’m kind of scared of heights, but I feel like I have to suck up my fear in front of the campers.  This week, the girls were a lot braver than I was!  They actually made ME do things I didn’t want to do.  The high jump and the lake trolley are two things I’ve always been uneasy about, but peer pressure got the better of me and I couldn’t resist the “I will if you will” plea.  It was a lot of fun. 🙂  I’m always glad when I try things that scare me.
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The Blob

      So that’s just a little bit about the fun I get to have here. 🙂  I loved getting to know the girls this week.  I was able to counsel one of them about her daily devotions.  I knew the right things to tell her, but I also knew I needed to follow my own advice.
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This whole week, Pastor Jeremy Frazier talked about what it means to be a true disciple.  Jesus was not a people pleaser.  He didn’t want followers who weren’t all in.  He told them to count the cost.  He wanted them to know ahead of time what they were getting into.

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They would have to “take up their cross.”  That phrase had so much more significance back then when people saw that kind of torture up close every week.  He didn’t sugar coat it.  Being a disciple will cost everything.  But it’s worth it.
    Being a Christian in America is not actually very hard to do. It’s just a decision.  I know what I need to do to be closer to God.  I say that I want to be closer to Him, but I don’t always prove it.  I’m willing to do big things for God, but am I willing to do the small things? Do I spend the time it takes cultivating the relationship with Him?  Do I constantly practice dying to self every day?  Do I wake up and start my day with God, or do I press snooze?  I have so much to learn.  Most of the time I feel like these campers are teaching ME rather than the other way around.
  God bless you all this week!
  Abby
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Abby and Gaye

Abby’s Adventures!

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Nathan, Abigail, and me. May 2016

My youngest daughter, Abigail, is working at The Wilds Christian Camp in Brevard, North Carolina this summer.  Her dad and I met there.  After we married, we attended couples’ retreats and when our children were old enough to go as campers, they went every year.

Our children commented once that their time at The Wilds had the most positive impact on their spiritual lives second only to their training at home.  David and I always felt like the money we spent for them to attend that camp was investing in our children and eternity and was well worth every penny. David worked there one summer during his college years and our oldest daughter, Anna,  worked there two summers. It is a special place where God’s spirit is free to transform lives.

Abigail went for a week of training and this was the first week for summer campers to attend.  Nathan, her brother, and several of his friends were among the first to arrive.  There will be about 15 weeks of junior and teen campers this summer.  They also have weekend retreats for families, father/son, mother/daughter, music ministers, couples, etc. It is not only a place to give your spiritual life recharged, it is lots of fun!  They have waterfall hikes, tubing, paint ball, crafts, basketball, human foosball, the giant swing, lake activities, a zip line, Cool Beans Snack Shop, and much more all nestled in the beautiful NC mountains.

Abigail will be writing weekly updates about what is happening there.  She sent her first one this morning and it was SO encouraging to me that I wanted to share it with the world.  I wish everyone could be blessed to go there at least once, but if you can’t, Abigail will give you a flavor of what it’s like and what God is teaching her.  Here it is….

Hey! Just a quick update about camp. We’re almost finished with our first week here. It has been amazing! I’ve heard of so many kids being saved or getting right with God in different areas of their life. I always loved being a camper here, and I think I like the other side of camp just as much!

I’m exhausted, and we work long hours (as I’m sure Anna remembers), but I’ve never enjoyed working so much in my life. I get to work in the new renovated snack shop during free time. I did register for the first time yesterday. I really liked it. I just feel so happy to be at camp AND NOT HAVE TO LEAVE ATTHE END OF THE WEEK!  🙂

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to counsel this year, but now I see that this is where God wanted me to be. (Gaye: Let me insert here that Abigail’s application got lost.  When she didn’t hear back from the camp, she called them.  They found her application, but by that time all the counseling positions had already been filled.)  And I love it so much, I might want to do it next year!

During staff training week, there was a fantastic message about pride and humility. A few things that stuck out to me were, “If you aren’t willing to serve in the shadows, you’re not really a servant at all.” He also talked about how God is very jealous for His glory. He won’t use someone who thinks they have it all together and thinks they can do it, because when they succeed, they will take credit for it. God uses people who KNOW they can’t do it, because then they will easily deflect praise back to God.

Humble people recognize that they need God’s help, and know they could have never done (blank) on their own. Something he said in the message was “there is scarcely any limit to how God will work through a man who will not try to steal his glory.”

So…. I think deep down, I really thought I was completely capable of counseling this summer. I have gone to church my whole life, I know my Bible, I came to camp here, and my sister worked here. I SHOULD have been a counselor!

But, God knew better. He knew I needed to learn how to be a servant. Not to be seen by anybody. I’m learning how fun it is to do nice things and extra things (when I’m not “working”) without people noticing. It really does bring joy.
You don’t have to think about if it’s important or not. You just have to do it to the best of your ability for GOD. I will gladly leave the counseling to people who know they can’t counsel in their own strength.

As I continue to work here, I’m realizing just how unworthy I am to point anyone to Christ. Last night I gave devotions in my prayer partner cabin. I was talking
about keeping a desire for God. The more of Him you have, the more you WANT. I tried to use a familiar passage and most of the girls in the cabin knew it by heart and said it along with me. I chose Psalm 1. “But his DELIGHT is in the law of the LORD and in His law doeth he MEDITATE day and night.” Meditation is key to infiltrating God into every part of our life.

Joe Fant used this illustration in one of his sermons that I thought was really helpful. Think of your life like one of those plates that have dividers. You know, the ones with little compartments. I usually fill the biggest compartment with God in my morning Bible study, then I’ll check that off the list, and go fill the rest of the compartments with my “actual life.”

But instead of having God in the biggest compartment, and then having a compartment for work, family, and friends, I need to practice mixing my food like Anna does.  🙂  Have some Jesus with my peas compartment, have some Jesus in my potatoes. Stir it all up and mix it real good until Jesus is inseparably blended into every bite of my life.

And as I taught this devotional, I was thinking about how much I need to be reminded of this. Any time I say something snappy or have a wrong attitude towards a person or a job, or ANYTHING in my life that doesn’t look like Jesus, it’s because I’m not putting God first in my life.

A Christian shouldn’t have to “work” at being a better Christian. If we are really “walking in the Spirit” like Galatians talks about, it will flow naturally from us because it becomes WHO WE ARE. I want to BE a Christian. I want my natural instincts to look like Jesus, because I’m constantly marinating in God’s truth all day long.
I’m sorry that was so long. Not very “quick.” Nathan is here this week! I got to get some ice cream with him yesterday.  We have two picnic lunches every week. Those are probably my favorite because I get to see all the campers. The ones on my aisle are really sweet too. They always yell, “Thank you” at the end as we start clearing. I’ll try to keep updating you guys.     ~Abby

I hope you are as blessed by this as I am. (I know I’m partial being her mommy.) Thank you for allowing us to share our lives with you! God is good!

Keep looking up!

Gaye

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Abby and me. May 2016