Wednesday Words

Were you wondering what happened to this month’s Wednesday Words? Well our guest blogger was slightly late in sending in his piece, but it’s here now and I know you will enjoy it very much!

Welcome Sebastian:-

Dear Reader,
As I begin writing these lines, I am immediately reminded of being rooted in a tradition – a tradition that dates back to the late seventies which happens to span my entire life.  Although I have not been involved with Day Camps for several years now, in writing this I once again feel connected and happy to be able to contribute in this small way.
If you are reading this, I think it is safe to say that you are also connected to the ministry of Crosstalk Day Camps – in some way, big or small and, in turn, take part in this tradition and enable it to carry on.
I write you from my home in Berlin, Germany. My wife, Benita and I got married nearly 6 years ago and have a 4 year-old son, named Noah.  We just celebrated Easter together with family and friends. Just before putting Noah to bed, I read him a book about the Easter story.   As I read it, he asked many questions and I was reminded of how difficult it can be to answer such honest questions in a way that is simple, clear, truthful and helpful.  I was reminded of my need to rely on God’s grace and just do my best. The outcome was him hugging the book and expressing his love for the story.  Phew! I had to breath a sigh of relief because he was asking some pretty pressing questions with such anticipation that brought me close to wanting to close the book and send him to bed with a promise that we would talk about it another time.  This is the connecting point between what I learned through Day Camps and what I think about and incorporate in my daily life; be it at work, in the social sphere or at home with family. God’s grace allows me to do things which I otherwise find difficult, awkward, fearful, even impossible.  During my years as a camper, then as a team member and later as a team leader with Day Camps, I was continually being reminded of what God had to say in many different situations, and on a personal note, how I was to rely by His amazing grace on His strength in the midst of my weakness.
My involvement with Day Camps dates back to before I could walk or talk (so I am told), at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Town of Mount Royal, where my family took part in one of the first Day Camps.  I will fast forward to days I remember as a camper, playing Diamond Smugglers (name of this game has since changed) in the church basement, keenly awaiting what Lamb was going to surprise us with or hearing about the possibility of making Jesus my ‘Special Friend’.
I remember it being a big step for me going from being a parish helper to joining the Traveling Team – a decision which launched me into a phase of learning a lot about myself – discovering gifts and putting them into action.  I discovered a love for traveling, working with youth, playing the saxophone – all of which I continue to do this very day.  Day Camps provided me with a wide open field in which I could run, explore, discover, try, and try again and get used to being entrusted with responsibility in countless situations.
I continue to believe that one can only grow by daring to put one step out in front of the other in faith – you don’t know what is to come but experience shows that it was worth it the last time you dared to do it. Trusting myself took place when I had the support of friends, family and the people I worked with in Day Camps.  As I look back, I can truly say that I am thankful for those who trusted me to take those steps into what was once the unknown. Over a number of subsequent years, I carried on to use knowledge and confidence I gained through my experiences with Day Camps to serve myself and others in youth-related work in countries including the U.S., Germany, Czech Republic, India, Zambia and Israel.  Among many tasks, some included cross-cultural relationship building, servant leadership training, leading worship though music, organizing events and coordinating trips.
But alas, at the end of the day, it is not all of the things one accomplishes which brings a sense of fulfillment, but rather being able to answer YES to the question of whether one is coming closer to recognising and embracing the identity which God has uniquely designed for him/herself.  Where and how do I receive God’s love, peace and joy in my life? That is where I seek to be so that whatever else I commit myself to overflows with that which I have first received from my Maker. My identity in Christ becomes clearer as long as it is characterised by a growing understanding of His perfect love for me – which brings me back to thinking about spending the last moments of the day with my four year old son.  I am most thankful for those moments, when I am able to reassure him of the depth of my love for him in spite of the reasons that go through my head that tell me that I am not enough (which is what happens when I think my answers to his questions are, to my mind, unsatisfactory).  So, I am ever-more grateful for God’s amazing grace in situations like these.
At the risk of being too simplistic about it all, Day Camps – the traveling, the program, the billeting, the training, the social aspect of things, the bible-study, etc, is all covered by God’s amazing grace. I, for one, can vouch for the fact that this same grace remains with those who have been involved for a lifetime.  It is a wonderful ministry, and in some way, as I see it, is an institution for learning and growth, and as such effectively contributes to the fulfilling of Crosstalk Ministries’ mission statement  – helping people of all ages become strong disciples of Jesus Christ.
Best wishes and many blessings,
Sebastian Bailey
Sunday, March 27th, 2016, Berlin
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