Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome back!

No, I didn't sell my computer and become a nomad... I don't know where that rumor came from. I am back though, back from perhaps the best month of my life.

I spent the month of July serving as a volunteer Work Crew Boss at Saranac Lake Younglife Camp in upstate New York. I was working in the kitchen in "the pits". The pits (if you are unfamiliar with Younglife lingo) is the dishwashing area. I had a team of 5 awesome high school kids who gave up an entire month of their summer to serve Christ in some of the dirtiest and nastiest ways.

It was an amazing experience. The thing that struck me most was the fact that roughly 40 high school kids gave up a month of their time to work for no pay to serve Christ. When I was their age, working that hard for that long would have seemed like a joke. I left this month with so much hope in the future. God is hard at work in the lives of high schoolers. He is capturing their hearts and using them for amazing, wonderful things.

Another thing that struck me was how prideful I am. I spent most of my days sweating in the kitchen scrubbing plates, bowls, sheet trays, and all other kinds of kitchenwares. I realized how hard it is for me to work in the background... to work with no recognition... to only be noticed when things are not done correctly. It was hard for me. I like to have attention, I like when I'm noticed. Most campers never knew my name. They probably didn't know what the "pits" was. But, in this, I learned how to surrender my pride and serve in humility.

I still can't get over how great this month was. Don't get me wrong, though, it was hard. I worked hard, physical labor, sometimes 14 hours a day, but in that hard, sometimes frustrating work, I found infinite opportunities to work for the glory of God. I'd read about Brother Lawrence about a week before I left for New York. He was a monk in the 1600s in a French monastery. He was stationed in the kitchen washing dishes and hated it, but by the end of his life, he was known for practicing the presence of God. He did anything and everything for the glory of God. He was so captivated with Christ that the world around him became so insignificant. He spent every second in commune with God. I strived for this during my month and often times fell far short, but it was a fun struggle.

Now that I'm home, I'm still trying to practice the presence of God. It's harder, I must admit. I am not surrounded by an awesome community, I'm not working directly for God's service, but all the chances are still there. I need to give glory to God in everything I say and do... even if it's simply writing this blog post.