What's happening?

For starters, a great trip to the beach! Actually, that has already happened. Talk about the ultimate camp wind-down. Ashley, Jamie and I took off on Tuesday after realizing that I didn't have to work until this week for Orange Beach, AL to meet their mom and friends for a few days. Here are some highlights and snapshots:
- Great seafood! Aunt Lynn cooked crab for us one night - and it was amazing. But all seafood is great there, because it's fresh!
- Sunsets. There really is nothing like a beachy sunset.
- Dolphins, crabs, stingrays, and sharks. We had encounters with all 3!
- Lots of tanning and relaxing. It's not like the Oregon coast, where jeans and a hoodie are required at most times. No - here, you sit in a chair with a cup holder (presumably with a beer in it), and your feet are in the ocean. If a big wave comes along, it comes up and hits in you in the butt. Probably the most relaxing place I can think of. . .needless to say, it was a great trip!

What else is happening? Well back to work for me. . .and back to wedding planning for Ash! On the docket: save the dates, invitations, engagement pictures, flowers? Things are going to start rocking now!

Still a busy summer ahead - Ashley is in a wedding that has some fun commitments coming up, we'll be taking a trip to Oregon for my grandparents 60th anniversary (VERY cool), and then potentially planning a move across the country. . .not sure of when or how, but we're looking into it!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to convince Young Life that they need a Camp Blogger. I mean, how cool would that be? Travel around to various camps, write about what is going on. This could reap huge benefits for them! So if you happen to run into the President or VP's, put some pressure on them for me, ok?? Thanks!

Until next time, enjoy life as it comes at you!


Camp Decompression

Camp decompression sometimes equals camp depression. You know - you miss the place you love. In this case, I miss the feeling I love. The feeling of constant service, the feeling of surrounding love, the feeling of God everywhere. You miss the things that once seemed monotonous but ended up great. You miss the simplicity, the way of life, and the way of the people. I'll admit it - I miss camp! Coming home is such a shock - lots of cars, lots of stresses, lots of things. At camp, you worry only about a few things: working hard, loving people as best you can, serving as hard as you can, and being a great model. Maybe that's how life really should be lived?

Some things I love / miss about camp:
- 3 normal meals a day (why does it seem harder to do this at home?)
- Walking everywhere, and sometimes riding a bike
- Hanging at the smoker's pit with the tough kids (easily the most action at camp)
- Stone House Coffee in the morning
- Fruit shakes with Sco nearly every day
- Pretending that we'd run every day, and making it 2 weeks
- Smiles
- Walkie Talkies (won't miss these too much actually)

I'll miss the war room in the morning, where we'd go over some scripture, and more importantly go over our hearts. That daily check in was healthy and worth it.

I'll miss the excitement of 350 or kids per week - the littlest things make them happy, ie hospital corners on beds, pizza delivered to their cabin at 12am, blobbing, program characters, etc. It is so refreshing.

I'll miss the freshness of Day 1's. And the elation of Day 7's.

Most of all, I'll miss seeing kids stand up on the last day to profess their faith in Christ. How amazing to be a part of this experience. How amazing to be a worker for God's kingdom. How amazing to feel the Holy Spirit move into kids' lives. Kids like Loren (the self-professing atheist turned Believer), and like Sean (who had so much hurt in his life that he cried 5 out of 7 days at camp, but found Jesus' love and let people know about it).

Needless to say, Day 1 at home is not as cool as Day 1 at camp. Day 1 is groggy, and not as exciting. Day 1 will get better for us all who have the same feeling, but for now, let's just feel so happy about what we were apart of. Let's feel loved. Let's feel honored that God paved the way for us to have been at Lost Canyon, because not many people get to do that.

Here's to bringing some camp spirit back home!


Final Update!

Good afternoon friends!

As I type this email, busses are leaving camp for the 4th week. 260 or so campers have come to camp, taken it over, and are now headed back. Of those 260, we counted about 60 that stood up and accepted Jesus into their lives! Again - the Kingdom has been impacted, and heaven is having a "major rager" party celebrating this! As for us, here is what is going on:

- Tonight consists of a banquet dinner - assigned team will be serving the Summer Staff and Work Crew, and we can't wait!
- Busses/cars leave camp tomorrow for good at 9 AM.
- We will party hard tonight and celebrate what God has done over the past 4 weeks. We, as an entire team (work crew, summer staff, program, etc) have been impacted in a great way, and tonight we get to reminisce and have fun for the last time this month!

Some highlights from week 4:
- Sean (tough kid, been in jail for assault), was having a difficult time with a leader of his. He was feeling antagonized and made fun of by his peers and pretty much everyone. I had talked to him multiple times throughout the week (he became my "1" - sometimes you leave the 99 for the 1), and was so happy to see him stand up and profess his faith today!
- Many of the work crew servers said today that they had been praying for a specific table this week, and EVERY one of them stood up today at say so!
- Loren, from last week, walked the 3 miles to camp from Williams to say hey. He is also contemplating doing work crew 3rd session!!
- Martin led the New Believer Walk today - he did amazing!
- Neal spoke at Say So - also did amazing!
- The sickness slowly went away in this house. . .there are still a few coughs and sneezes, but overall, we feel better and feel good leaving!

Some final prayer//praiase requests:
** Please pray for safe travel! We have people flying to the east coast, to the south, driving. . .we need some safety prayers!
** Pray for the morale of the goodbye - that it would be a happy send off, and not a negative, sad thing.
** Please pray for the new assigned team that comes in tomorrow! This camp will look very different tomorrow, so please pray for the transition for the Lost Canyon Property Staff.
** By our tally, we think somewhere around 450 kids met Jesus Christ this month. God is so powerful, and we are all in awe of what He did and will continue to do!

The pictures that I attached are from this morning's believer walk. Great images to go along with our mission! It is SO fun welcoming in our new believer friends into the Kingdom! It's why we do this. . .

Well thank you so much for coming along on this journey with us. We are all honored that you would be praying for us everyday, and lifting up our needs and thoughts and our everything. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Thanks for reading the camp updates. . .I'll be back with more entertaining stories soon! Until then, enjoy life!


Good evening blogees!! Week 3 has officially ended - which means we just got finished deep cleaning every single cabin/bathroom, picking up trash, etc all in about 90 minutes. It is quite a sight to see! And I'm sure you can imagine the "Young Life competitive spirit" kicking in. . .here are some highlights and prayer requests for your reading and praying pleasure!

- 410 campers this week - incredibly diverse and energetic group. Over 120 campers came to know the Lord this week!! Say So was an awesome experience this week. More on that later!
- 170 bibles were given out this morning at the "New believer walk" - it is so refreshing to hand a kid a bible who has never read one. What a great journey they are about to embark on!
- One guy from local Williams named Loren came to camp an atheist. He walked away a believer. The Spirit moved in him like nothing we have ever seen this week, and it had a profound impact on everyone here.
- The weekly basketball game was interesting this week - lots of urban kids who kicked our butts, playing on the court with kids wearing jeans and not caring, expecting to go 0-5 and ending up 2-3. Not bad for a bunch of old hacks!
- Watching kids at club starting the week in the back of the room, distant from the group, and ending up in the middle of the room with arms around each other at the end of the week.
- We had 2 911 calls this week - both ended up at the Flagstaff hospital, but due to our EMT and great guest services staff, 2 lives were spared and were back at camp by week's end.
- Malcom Hess falling asleep basically on his dinner plate. Never gets old. PS It is his birthday tomorrow!
- Watching 2 property staff guys at Lost Canyon lead some of their cabin guys to Christ this week. So cool!
- AJ Pitkin leading the new believer walk on his own. . .and speaking at Club #7 today. Looks like our little boy is growing up!!
- No John Byard incidents to report this week - stay tuned though. You never know what might happen. . .
- Magaly is currently cooking dinner "Costa Rica Style" as I am typing this. As you can imagine, we are ALL so excited to experience this meal!!
- Late night nug and guac sessions continue. . .the kitchen hates us for ordering so many bags of chicken nuggets!!
- Day 5 consists of the entire assignment team making breakfast in bed for the campers - 6:30 is early, but you know what? We have fun every time!

Some prayers requests:
** Would you pray that we would all be "present" this last week? It is easy to check out a few days early, and we want to be here the entire 7 days.
** Please keep praying for health. The Scofield boys have now been struck - Hudson spent the night in the hospital, and Charlie has been to the clinic now twice. Pray for fast healing for their whole family.
** Some of our AT are still sick - please pray for the sickness to leave this camp immediately.
** Areas coming this week: El Paso, Las Vegas, Yuma, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona, Grand Valley, CO, Jackson Hole, Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and Fallbrook CA, and Aspen. Pray for open hearts, and for the Holy Spirit to start moving, even now.
** Pray that we would finish strong. That we would come close as a team this last week and solidify friendships.

Thanks for reading, and here's a great Week 4!


Week 3. . .Come ON!

Good morning once again Blogees!!! A lot has gone on since I've last updated you, so here we go! I'll start off with some random highlights. . .

- We had a "drama free week" at camp - no drugs, no kids sneaking off property, not too much "policing" going on! It was very nice. . .
- Dakota, one of our Capernaum friends, was the big winner of the coveted Mattress Race at club. We load a kid on to a mattress and send them all the way up the club room, "crowd surfing" style. It was an amazing sight - the entire camp gave him a standing ovation for winning!
- Our late night chicken nugget/Scofield guacamole sessions continue - a great night cap!
- Watching the Capernaum kids go through the Ropes Course and the Playground was heart warming. Their excitement and enthusiasm and timidness is so refreshing. Brings people to tears of joy!
- Last week - 260 campers/leaders. This week? 415. The energy so far is INCREDIBLE. These kids are fired up about being here! They just about tore down the club room on Night One. It is so fun watching 415 people sing great songs (No One, 500 Miles, Brown Eyed Girl, etc.)
- We have 2 property staff friends as leaders this week - John Offner and Jeff Walker. It is so fun to see them out of their "work place" (Lost Canyon) and entering in to their kids lives as leaders and friends! (John's wife Miriam is also leading this week too!)
- The Kingdom was impacted again - over 70 kids met the Lord this week!! There were over 100 kids on the "Believer Walk" on Day 7. So powerful and encouraging!!

And now for the coveted prayer requests!
** Sickness is taking over this house - it is no fun. Eric is now sick with a 101 temp, Marni is down, Karen is in bed all day, Jordan and Martin have been feeling awful for days...I could go on and on. But please please please pray for the sickness to leave this house NOW. We have kids who are sick also - please pray for Harrison and Ben Byard, as they are battling something too.
** A few work crew kids have left camp this week - some to sickness, some to 'family issues'. Please pray for the work crew, that they are function with a few people missing, and that no one else gets sick or has to take any time off.
** Please pray for energy as a whole. This week is large, and we need to have 100% energy the entire week just to keep up with them!
** Please pray for the following areas of kids here : Chandler, AZ, Lakewood, TX, Williams, AZ, and the Colorado crew: Bello Valley, Metro Urban Denver, Central Denver, Parker, West Douglas County, and Montrose. Pray that the Lord would meet each and every camper exactly where they are at and that He would move in a HUGE way.

OK that is all for now! The kids are currently in "Cabin Unity Games" - always a sight to see. There is on cabin who painted their entire bodies GREEN. I bet you can guess what their name is!

Until next time, may the Lord bless all of you too! We love you and are so thankful for your prayers.


Week 2 update! Bring it!

Good afternoon friends! I hope this blog finds you well. A little insight to the beginning of Week 2 and the end of Week 1....enjoy!

- This week is significantly smaller - 260 compared to 390. There are kids here from Boulder and Delta CO, New Mexico, and more AZ people. But the most exciting group of all (not that we really compare) is the Capernaum group from Phoenix. There are 12 kids and 8 leaders, and so far, they have been so amazing to be around.
- The weather has been holding up "OK", but we are desiring a little warmer sun and less thunderstorms!! We have had some rides cancelled, and some rain storms, which is not typical for this time of year. But overall, it has been good - today is sunny and around 70!
- As for last week, it finished up great! Not that numbers matter, but eternity was impacted - about 140 kids gave their lives to Christ!!! The "New Believer" walk was awesome - we handed out 141 Bibles to kids who gave over their lives to God, and Say So on Day 7 was tearful, joyful, and celebratory all at the same time! It is at that exact instant of celebration that we all look around at each other as if to say - THIS IS WHY I DO THIS. Needless to say, we are looking forward to EVERY Day 7. Clearly the best day of the week!
- On a personal note, my mom and step dad came to visit for 2 days. It was great seeing them!
- We gained 2 new families (5 more kids) this last weekend, and it has been great getting to know the Byard kids and the Scofield kids! Not mention Jen and Marni as well!

Random highlights from the last few days
- John Byard almost impaling himself during a "safety skit". Luckily only his pants suffered any damage.
- Charlie Scofield riding every tractor at camp - even got to drive one!
- Mark Wade forgetting to bring his guitar for the "Say So" song - and doing it a Capella with AJ. It actually was an amazing moment. Sometimes the Lord works in funny ways!
- Ronnie from Capernaum PHX hugging every person he comes in contact with. He squeezes hard!
- Neal got the Coke bottle open on the first try this week!
- An entire cabin of boys this week shaving Mohawks in their head. Hilarious!
- Troy and Alex chasing down 2 cabins on Night 6 last week trying to break into the kitchen.
- Day 1 welcome is always a hit - especially when you have a mountain biker riding off of a jump and into the lake!
- Everett Hess has now passed out asleep at the lunch table twice - face down, arms out, drooling, Cheerios stuck to his face....an unbelievable sight!
- Assignment team vs camper basketball game - we are 2-1 so far, next games coming up tomorrow....Team MVP last week was John Caldwell. Who will step it up this week???

Now for some praise reports and prayer requests...
** HEALTH HEALTH HEALTH. Neal is getting sick, Debbie is currently sick, Ben Byard has been a little under the weather, Ashley has felt some sore throat, Sco has been tired for 2 days...we need your prayers big time in this area! Please pray for FAST healing, and for disease to stay away from this team.
** Week 2 can tend to be an energy struggle. Pray for sustained energy and power from the Lord. We need it!
** Praise God for no major injuries. There was one ambulance visit last week - but turned out to be nothing major at all. Please praise God for this, and pray that He keep safety at the helm here at camp!
** There is a leader here with her 2 month old baby, and her mother taking care of the baby. They are in their own cabin! Pray that the mom - Ashley - can get good time with both her baby and her YL kids at camp. Tough balancing act!
** We gained 5 work crew kids this week - they were campers last week. Pray that they transition into their work roles, and that they know why they are here! "Not to be served, but to serve..."
** Continued prayer for Eric as he shares Christ with hundreds of campers. Pray for clarity, wisdom, and communication.

That's all from Lost Canyon! I'll try to send another by week's end. Until then, let me know if you have any nudges from the Holy Spirit or anything you need to communicate to our assigned team! Oh, and packages are ALWAYS welcome. :-)