Wednesday Words

Hello Everyone. Wednesday Words is back (albeit on a Thursday this month 😊).
Over the next 8 or 9 months we are going to be featuring testimonies from some of our 2019 Day Camp Team Members. 
We know you will enjoy reading them and hope that by connecting with these amazing young adults and reading about their experiences you will be encouraged on your own faith journeys.
This month we are kicking off the series with Donna De Leon. 2019 was Donna’s third summer on Travelling Team but her first as a Team Leader.
Let’s hear her story!
“For those of you who don’t know, my name is Donna and this year, I was the team leader for Team 2. God sent my teammates, Angelica and Genevieve, and me to 3 cities in Ontario, and we were back in Quebec in our 4th week. This summer was filled with challenges, but also moments that I will cherish in my heart. This summer, I faced a lot more difficulties within myself rather than problems with the camp itself. I did feel called to commit my summer to God and to share His word with His children. But, with every new week that came along, it was difficult to find the motivation for the next 5 days ahead, and I kept feeling emotionally tired. This frustrated me a lot because I wanted to serve God and the kids whole heartedly. 
However, God was faithful through it all. In the midst of each week’s challenges, I learned how to re-submit everything to God, and I was reminded of the greatness of His love. 
In our first week, Angelica, Genevieve and I travelled to North Bay, Ontario, where we were warmly welcomed by our billets. The camp that week consisted of about 20 campers. Within my devotion group, I felt the eagerness the kids had to learn. It happens so often that kids are overlooked because of their age or thought to be “just kids”, but our conversations were touching, and they also deserve the equal attention from any adult. I was surprised at how open they were, even since the first day, sharing about matters like the death of a parent, fights with siblings, wanting their parent to be there for them, and one even shared about his girlfriend (keep in mind that these campers were in grades 3 and 4). I have no problem seeing why Jesus loved spending time with children back in the day. 
That same week, my team and I found ourselves feeling stuck. We received a call, and we were told of an unexpected school situation. Despite her desire to stay, one of our team members had no choice but to go back home to Montreal. Confusion and worries came flooding in, and in the midst of all this, we also had miscommunications with our camp director. I felt guilty as the team leader because I didn’t handle the situation properly. However, God guides, and He gave us wisdom in what to do in this situation. In this moment. He told us to keep our faith. We kept our focus on serving Him, so we were not distracted during the day as we were ministering to the campers. We also gave time to those who needed it to fully process what was going on. We had to learn how to be patient and that sometimes it’s best to give someone space, rather than constantly trying to smooth things over when that other person may not be ready to take that step. Our mistake was also that we didn’t make sure we were on the same page as our director before making significant decisions. It’s like what happens when we don’t consult God and proceed with our own “ideal plans”. We put ourselves in the position of control, when our Lord is the One who is all-knowing, and He sees the bigger picture.  
Our 2nd week was in Caledon East and our camp that week had about 20 campers. That week became tiring pretty quickly because my teammate and I were adjusting to now being a two-person team, and we missed our third team member. We only had help from 1 local volunteer, and I was leading the devotion group with the scramblers (who have an endless supply of energy). That week, we were billeted with such a sweet family, so going back to their house at the end of the day was very comforting. They had 3 little girls, one of them being 4 y/o, and 3 y/o twins😊. My teammate and I bonded quickly with the mother of the family, and I witnessed her submission to the Lord. She had a lot on her plate, with her kids and other works, yet she knew everything was in the hands of the Creator.
In our third week, the camp we were supposed to have got cancelled, so team 2 merged with the members of team 3, Miriam and KC😊. We lived together with the same sweet billet, and her house was behind a lake (so we often watched the sunset hihi). This week was really great, we were blessed with a local team of about 15 teenagers, one of which confirmed that she was doing traveling team next year! Praise the Lord!
Finally, in our fourth week, teams 2 & 3 continued on together to Promise Church in Knowlton who was hosting the camp for the 2nd time in the same summer! The week ahead was exciting because it meant some of the same campers were coming back! Our goal was to go deeper with the same material. Before the week started though, one thought at the back of my mind kept bothering me: what if the kids won’t be getting as much out of the program as they did all the way back in June. Time and again, despite my many doubts/worries this summer, our Father was gracious in revealing His truths to me. It was through our lovely coordinator/billet, Jennifer Quinn, that I heard God’s response. I understood that there is no “competition” with what happened in the first week. These campers are coming back with an eagerness for more of Jesus, so through us, God will continue to fill their hunger and their thirst for Him. 
The camp turned out to be great. It’s not typical for a church to host a day camp twice in the same summer, but our coordinator felt a calling from God. She was an obedient servant and answered His command. As for the program, we still went through the same daily stories in the book of Luke, and we tried to look at the passages from a deeper perspective. The campers still enjoyed playing the same games, the main presentation worked out well because they became more familiar with the songs, and they had fun making more bread, flags and paintings. All we needed was creativity to make the same content fresh and exciting. 
As I mentioned earlier, our billet/coordinator was named Jen. For everyone who meets her, they can confirm that she is such a genuine person. She cares for all the campers, and for all the people she encounters. At the end of the week, I remember saying “I want to love like Jen does”, but then I stopped for a second and said “oh wait. I want to love like Jesus does”. It was our Saviour’s overflowing love that I was experiencing through Jen, and as it says in 1 John 4:19, we can love because He first loved us 💜
There was another moment during this week at Promise Church that really struck me. It was towards the end of the day on water day, so all the campers were outside. After we did our closing song, we were all about to head inside. The scramblers (ages 4-5) were playing in the sandbox, so one of the kids approached me and asked if I could help him get cleaned up. We walked to the hose and I started washing off the sand and mud. In that moment, when I was just washing his feet, I felt this big wave of love for this camper. I understood that that is how God is with us. The moment we approach Him with our needs, His heart is filled with gladness. He washes us clean, he loves us, protects us, even when we don’t always follow His ways. God is good. 
To close, this summer was filled with an abundance of blessings. God can do miracles if we just put our faith in Him. Thank you for all your prayers for the whole travelling team! To God be all the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen!
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