When last I blogged, I did so under the wretched condition of the common cold. That did not miraculously disappear, it in fact turned into the flu! Making matters worse, I believe it became the flu right as my brother Mike and I made it up to the Kingsfield Church/Calvary Carlsbad Saturday night camp in Wrightwood. The ride up to Wrightwood was great and I was feeling pretty ill, but not as ill as I was about to feel. Mike and I shared our theories on why the Lakers will win the championship this year or next, a usual topic between us. Also as usual, we laughed, a gift that I must confess my brother is able to evoke out of me at will, moreso than virtually any other human being, by virtue of the fact that he once, back when he was young, made me laugh by removing his shirt and flexing, something very bony people have no business doing! The weather was nice, the sun was breaking through the clouds and the mountains were fully covered with powdery snow. Everything was pretty cool.
Then we got there and I started moving up the hill. I started feeling unusually cold, even moreso than one would normally feel with snow covering everything at least a foot off of the ground. I just ignored it and we found our way to the "mess hall."
At this juncture, let me say that camp food has gone through a veritable revolution! We never had barbecued RIBS back when I was a camper! Though a little spicy for my taste, they were tasty! This meal was far superior to the faux meals I was used to as a camper during my "Tenyears" in High School!
Walking into the mess hall and there were friendly faces everywhere. It was great seeing Jonathan, Simone, and Chris Reinhardt, my Kingsfield staff mates, as well as all the future Pastors and leaders of Kingsfield Church (I speak now in faith and hope!). The added bonus was seeing Chris Fik and his lovely new bride Tori. We all got to joke around for a short time, but by this time, I was already thinking that I was not just "common cold" sick any longer. "Just a few hours more..."
The evening went along great. I got to play drums, even though I felt that I would soon see those ribs again. Then it was time to speak. It's an honor to be asked to speak at someone's camp, at all. To be asked to speak Saturday night, which is the night when campers are most receptive is really an honor. Thanks Jon, Simone, Chris and Tori for trusting the Lord in me. I felt that the message, despite my obvious "near death flu experience" came off pretty well and a good percentage of the kids responded to what the Lord was speaking to them about. It's a real joy to partner with the Lord in the process of a young man or woman's life. I remember how much of an impact camp speakers had on me and it humbles me to consider that I might have a similar impact on anyone. That is the Lord's awesome grace.
Add to that, the very amazing privilege of watching two young men, both Reinhardt and Fik specifically, who I have watched mature into mighty warriors. I met Reinhardt back when he was in 5th grade, Fik, when he was a Junior or Senior in High School. Both of these guys are former Redlands men, and I can truly say that their maturity and growth as individuals, into the roles that the Lord has ordained for them to serve Him in, has made me proud to have been a part of their growth as well.
After the evening was over, the surprisingly icy roads caused us to ask if anyone had any chains! Oh, don't go there! After this experience, I think we might just have to purchase some. Thankfully, Matt Bockhann expertly applied the chains in the dark parking lot and we were able to make it back down the hill. Thank you Matt, my fellow Apple enthusiast and Brian Regan fan!
As far as the rest of the way home, I will let it be sufficient to say that there was no heat source that would have made me feel "right." Mike and Chris Reinhardt, who joined me on the ride home, quietly, and without complaint endured the high temperatures that my car emitted in order to keep me feeling human. Chris told me later though, that the ride home was reminiscent of a time when hiked down the mouth of an active volcano!
Fast forward to Tuesday and the worst of the flu has passed me by. But the stories I hear of what the Lord did at camp are just coming in. It's still a miracle to see what the Lord can do in such a short amount of time. The investment is still worth it, particularly that which was made by all the leaders who gave up their weekends, but also that which was made by the student's parental units, whose dollar figure will not touch the spiritual seed that was planted.
In final salute, I must give special tribute to our Youth Pastor Jono, his wife Simone, Pastor Chris Fik and his wife Tori, who bear the brunt of responsibility that is given to Youth Pastors. You guys get to take the heat, whether it works or not. It worked and your work is appreciated by this former Youth Pastor who remembers how long it takes to organize, run and get home from a camp. You guys are to be commended! I pray that you will rest and enjoy the short season you have between now and the next camp!
Blessings...To Our Friends,