Madison White – USM – Camp Bluesky – Nairobi, Kenya
Habari, everyone! It has been such an eventful week and I have so much to tell you. At Camp Bluesky, each group is named after a mountain in Kenya so we (I had a group of 4 girls) were mountain group "Meru." Bluesky is known for the unique chants and cheers and I had so much fun learning those throughout the week. The campers really get into them! Three of my girls came from Christian homes and one did not. We had them fill out cards at the beginning of the week about how much they knew about Jesus. One of the questions was "What do you think prayer means''? The 3 girls put "talking to Jesus" and then Sophia, the girl who did not come from a Christian home wrote "religion." I knew I needed to really pour into her while also discipling the other girls. My girls were all very quiet and Sophia never seemed to be engaged in any of the conversations or discussions. On Tuesday we left camp to go rock climbing. It was so much fun and I even learned to belay. Some of my girls were very scared but I was proud as they all tried to climb to the top of the mountain.
Every night at camp there is a time called "Empower" which is a time of worship and devotional. Afterward, we have mountain group time to discuss the things they learned during Empower. Two of my girls really got into the conversations but the others still seemed unengaged. On Wednesday night after Empower, we have "cross talk." All of the campers go outside and look at the stars and it gives them an opportunity to have deeper conversations and pray with their counselors. When we all went outside, I went to Sophia to ask if she had any questions. She told me "no." I asked whether she believed in God and she said "yes." We went into further discussion and I asked her if she wanted to pray to receive Christ and she told me “Yes!” As we prayed together, tears rolled down her face. My whole attitude for the week shifted in that moment, because that is when I realized my purpose for being here this summer. If that is the only salvation this summer, then it is so worth it. When we got back to the cabin, the shy Sophia was no longer there! She began to laugh and smile. She was a completely different person.
All of the campers get assigned a team for the big camp game every day. It's a huge deal for the campers. One team is called "Chumvi" which is Swahili for salt, and the other "Nuru" which means light. They are based on Matthew 5:13. I was assigned to the Chumvi team for the summer. Camp Bluesky has a high ropes course at camp so on Thursday we got the opportunity to do those. They were so much fun and also challenging. Sophia had to leave early on Thursday for a flight to the US, so before she left I got her a Bible and highlighted a couple of verses.
Camp has a time during the day called SWAG (Strong Women After God) and MAC (Men After Christ) where they listen to a lesson. I got the opportunity to teach Thursday’s lesson about Love and Mary washing Jesus' feet.
Friday night we had “Summit Fire” which is a camp tradition where the campers all walk in silence to a special place at camp and have a worship service, devotional, and share what they learned throughout the week. They are led by torches, and they are dressed up in tribal wear and display their necklaces that they can build for each year they are a camper. Each counselor receives a camp name that the staff chooses that fits their personality. The camp director named me "Breeze" because a breeze is always a joy when it passes by!
The campers left this morning and it was hard saying goodbye knowing that I would never see them again. It has been an amazing week and I have grown so much. We have the rest of today to rest before we pack up and leave in the morning for our village ministry.
Love you all!