Caleb Collins – ECCC - Alaska
Here's a breakdown of what was the longest and most stressful week of the entire summer... Good news first... one of my campers accepted Christ this week, along with a camper in another cabin! And now for your regularly scheduled weekly breakdown:
We drove down to the camp Sunday night. We did a lot of role-playing and just got used to being at camp. Then Wednesday rolled around and Coriander (Clay Whitt) and I got ready for the campers in our cabin. We very quickly realized that two of our six campers were on the autism spectrum. Both of them very sweet kids, but one of them was physically incapable of paying attention at all, and the other took 45 minutes to shower the first night, and took 15 minutes to change clothes thereafter. I very quickly realized that there was absolutely no way that I can make it through the rest of this summer on my own strength. I cannot think of a time in my life where I prayed harder than after that first night when all those kids went to sleep. I went out on the porch and just sat there. Part of me was frustrated because the other cabin seemed to be so much better behaved than our kids; part of me was frustrated because it took that kid 45 minutes to shower and change clothes, but mostly I was just flat exhausted. Then I just prayed, and prayed, and prayed... and prayed some more. I'll tell you what guys, I received some grace. You can't give what you don't have, and I got a huge truckload of grace to show to those kids.
For most of these kids, it was their first time away from their parents. It was their first time away from home for any period of time. They were by themselves, under a different set of rules, with different authority, a different schedule, and to a degree a different lifestyle. Does that sound familiar to somebody you might know? Guilty as charged! These kids were in a situation not too different from my own, and I needed to love them the way that I'd been loved by everybody that has helped us missionaries out. For instance, my host mom, Genia, telling me, "Goodnight, love ya," as I'm walking out of the house to the camper that I'm staying in, and the same way my mom always says, "Goodnight, love ya," as I'm walking upstairs to my bedroom. Little things like that mean a lot, but they don't just mean a lot for me. Those little things mean a lot to those little kids too.
I'm glad I had this realization this early on because it happened while those 6-8-year-olds were asleep, around 10:30. The likelihood of any of those kids from this point forward going to sleep before midnight is slim to none. And if I'm going to have my quiet time, that means that I'm going to be lucky to get 6 hours of scheduled sleeping time for the rest of summer. But you know how it goes at this point... For the Kids and for the Kingdom! - Caraway Powder
P.S. Keep the letters coming! They mean a lot, and I don't have the time and resources to write all of you back, but know that I really do appreciate it so much! If you need to know the mailing address, you can find it in my previous blog.