Friday, May 28, 2010

Camp is Campy

I have been at Camp War Eagle for six days now, and it is awesome. I get up every morning at 6:45, throw on my boots and jeans, and head to the barn to feed the horses with the other wranglers. Once we're done feeding, we all have a devotional time, sitting on the concrete barn floor. I think this is fantastic, as I know that later in the summer, when I am completely exhausted, I will need this time to focus myself on what gives me strength. After devos, it is down to the dining hall for breakfast. We haven't had any kids yet, as we are still in orientation, but once they get here, right after breakfast I'll head up to the barn, help groom and saddle the 24 camp horses, and take them to their respective arenas, depending on what they are doing that morning. Right now, before the kids are here, we're just riding the horses some to get them used to having people on their backs again.
All of the camp horses are really good. I'm getting to know their personalities better. Some of my favorites: Foxy, a Missouri Foxtrotter; Hazel, a really easy-going appaloosa; Heidi, a barrel-chested palomino; and JB, who, despite years of kids on his back, still listens rather well to instruction.
I really like all the other wranglers. I am, by a long shot, the least experienced of them when it comes to horses. A couple of them have done rodeo, or worked at dude ranches, or at least own their own horse that they ride quite frequently. I was told, however, that every year in the past, they had hired a wrangler who knew nothing about horses, and so that is a small comfort. I have already learned so much about horses and what running a large-scale facility is like, so this summer is becoming incredibly valuable to me. I have been blessed to be paid to learn and gain experience and ride!
So this summer, I will spend my mornings and afternoons with kids, teaching them how to ride and taking them on trail rides. Considering I had never in my life even received a riding lesson, I wondered at how it would be to give one. So far I have given two, and they both went really well. I think I'm really going to like that. And the trails here are beautiful! They are all wooded forest trails. We went on a long one the other day out to a place called the Point that overlooks the lake. It was gorgeous!
Right now, I'm staying in a camper cabin, because it is still orientation. Next week I will move over to staff housing. There are a couple very important differences between camper cabins and staff housing. The first is that campers stay in camper cabins, and only staff stays in staff housing. I will still be assigned to a cabin each week of camp, but I won't sleep there with the kiddos. The second is the overall temperature. My camper cabin peaks right now at 92 degrees at around five o clock. There is no joy in this. The staff housing has a little bit of air conditioning in the central room, which saves the whole building from being scorching hot all day. The third difference is the set-up. Camper cabins are one room, 14 bed cabins, with a central bathhouse or two for everyone to share. The staff houses are four rooms with a few more beds, connected bathrooms, and a large central living room. This space has couches, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a washer and dryer. Success!
And now on to the bad news. I really wish I could attach a couple pictures onto this post to let you see how beautiful camp is, but, alas, I have lost my camera! I know exactly where it was left: on a window table in Columbia Traders in Joplin. So if you happen to be the person who picked it up, you will know it is mine from the pictures of me and Krystelle that are on it. In a couple of paychecks, I will be getting a new one. Sad day. I loved my camera, and I had a huge memory card. This will be my third digital camera. I'm pretty sure my sister is still on her first. I have bad luck with cameras, I guess.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This is the End

Not gonna lie, I'm crying right now. I'm crying because I just read my friend David's most recent blog. It is a story of his friendship with his bestie, Charlie, and how much he's going to miss him next year. For the past three years, these two guys have been my best friends here at Ozark. No offense to the rest of my Ozark friends, but the three of us are tight. We even have a name - the Tripod.
You see, Charlie and I are graduating on Saturday, leaving David here for another year of school. Charlie is going to Indiana, and I'm going to Arkansas for the summer, then back home to New Mexico. And the fact that I'm not going to see them every day anymore is finally setting in. Up until today, I've only been excited about graduating and going to camp, but today is a totally different story. I'm leaving. This place I've called home will no longer house me. And even if I stayed somehow, it wouldn't be the same, because so many of my friends here are going off on their own paths of life.
So now, in an effort to get all of my tears out at once, I'm going to make a list of things I will miss about Ozark and its people.
  • bowling on Monday with Dave (and sometimes Connor)
  • making Charlie feel awkward
  • brunches with Kinsey
  • Nertz! (6 people, of course)
  • living in the dorms (seriously, it is great)
  • chapel
  • visiting Monica at work (while working)
  • listening to Connor's crazy dreams
  • getting kissed by Jim (not on the lips - don't worry!)
  • life talks with Kevin Greer
  • life talks with Doug Aldridge
  • life talks with all the other professors
  • dancing with Krystelle, Emma, Crystal, Jessie, and everyone else who has been in on one of my room parties
  • eating Chick-fil-a with Dave, Charlie, Jim, Connor, Blake, Jake, and everyone else at Ozark
  • working at campus events
  • living in a place with so many amazing servant hearts
  • hearing amazing stories of ministry almost every day
  • going on creek adventures with Jessie, Connor, Kylie and Peter
  • Salty, Salty and the Dirties
  • Mamma J and small group
  • Papa Ryan
  • the Tripod. Oh my gosh, so much.
  • taking roadtrips with people
  • having a guarantee of seeing someone I know everywhere I go
  • Carterville Christian Church and my family group
  • writing songs for projects
  • learning from amazing, godly professors whose lives set the example for my own
  • living in a community where everyone around me is my age and everyone loves God
  • going to the movies with my movie buddies - David and Jared
  • hanging out with Karyn!
  • attending OCC sports events - watching my friends play and commentating with everyone else
  • intramural sports (go Armadillos! You'll always be my favorite team!)
  • sand volleyball
  • baking for the boys
I really have to stop now. I thought this would be pleasantly cathartic, to get all my sadnesses out at once, but I think all I've really accomplished is to give myself an incredible headache from crying.
This really has been an incredible four years. Ozark is amazing. I'm going to miss everyone so much! You are all incredibly dear to me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A New Kind of Normal

Okay, today's thought is going to be a bit meandering, for the sole reason that I don't know where I land on it at the end of the day. I was talking with my friend Lisa about how we go about meeting people. The fact is that for the past four years I have been stuck in a very weird place called Ozark Christian College. I love this school, but one of the weird things is that, because it is so small, you know everyone. And even if you don't talk to every single person, you at least know who everyone is by sight. And if you run into someone you don't know very well, it's perfectly acceptable to just talk to that person like you've always been friends.

But this week I have come to the realization that this is not normal. This is not how real life works. In college, you are surrounded by people that are your same age. Once you get outside of this, there are suddenly people of all ages, so finding people your same age becomes more difficult. And even more difficult is the challenge of becoming friends with people your same age. Not only do you have to find someone in your age bracket, but then you have to have the guts to talk to them, and consistent follow-up, and there's so much to keep you from doing something like that. And as one coming from a "holy hill," it seemed crazy to me to meet someone in such a normal fashion.

So in my discussion with my friend Lisa, I learned that she, too, has been thinking about how people meet people. I quote: "I've always struggled with how much of any of that is determined by the worldly culture (infatuation, lust at first sight in a bar where you're wearing a see through halter)....or how much is just human kind (boy meets girl and there's follow up)....or how much is out of being in a similar circle because of similar values (Christian campus...)."

She also said that "how you meet someone is directly proportional to the kind of person they are." Which I think is a good point. If you meet someone in a bar while wearing a see-through shirt, chances are that he isn't the best kind of guy to meet (or conversely, the girl you picked out with the see-through shirt isn't worth knowing anyway). If you meet a person because you're on the same Christian campus, they'll probably be a Christian, though there is definitely no guarantee.

So at Ozark, if you want to get to know someone or date that person or whatever, the standard behavior is to sit by them in class or during Chapel or whatever. It's really a lot like high school. And it just seems so strange to me, even though it has somehow seemed normal for four years. But I'm leaving this place in less than two weeks, and I'm going to have to get used to a new kind of normal. A real kind of normal, where you meet people by chance rather than orchestration.

I still don't feel like this post is done, but I honestly can't think of anything else to say without sounding incredibly repetitive. It's that whole issue of not having a direction or a solid idea of how I feel about the topic. I don't think I'm going to write another post like this. It makes me feel just as anxious as I felt while watching the entirety of "Punch-Drunk Love," which I hated.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For the love of God

One of my favorite things in life is talking to my best friend Esther. We are able to share life with each other, and one of my favorite things to discuss is our heart for the church. We grew up in the same church in New Mexico, the church she still attends, and I would attend if I lived there still. Inevitably, in sharing our joys about service in the church, we wind up talking about frustrations and heartaches involved in serving in the local church. The people we serve alongside ask too much, or disappoint us, or we end up getting burnt out because we do too much and try to make too many people happy.

This all reminded me of something that Chad said in class on Wednesday about why you get into ministry. He said that you should not get into ministry because you love people, because people will always end up letting you down. You get into ministry because you love God.

This really stuck with me, and I shared it with Esther. I think it is something that is imperative for every Christian to remember while they serve - that the main focus of your service, and the main driving force and reason behind that service, should be for the love of God. If we go into every day of ministry because we love people, eventually people are going to disappoint us, and we will become burdened and tired and potentially angry. But if we involve ourselves in ministry because we have a love for God, and then we serve people with the intent to glorify God, to show that love of God by loving people, then I think our motives are correct, and we run a much lower risk of ministry failure. There is a distinct danger when we see our ministries through human terms, by things that are measured by the response of people. I'm thinking along the lines of the pleasantness of the people, the numerical growth of the congregation - and on the same page, these things can have a negative side, such as the growth not meeting our expectations. When we see success through these humanly determined measurements of results, there is great danger of disaster.

All this to say, I think it rather important (and I so loved hearing it and will keep the message with me for a long time) that we go into ministry, not for the love of the people, but for the love of God.