June 22 - 30
Friday the 22nd was our longest day of driving at just over 800 miles. The kids actually did quite well for the most part, and we arrived around 8:30 p.m. We were so blessed to have an entire 3-bedroom house to ourselves for the duration of our stay in Idaho. God bless Mr. Amos M, a gentleman who is a member of one of the participating churches and left town for the week to do some fishing and traveling in the Northwest. He generously offered to let our family stay at his house, sight unseen! The girls shared a double bed in one room (until Charis joined the Commission campers, that is), and the boys had trundle beds in another room. Ted and I had a king-sized bed to ourselves, with Zaden and his pack-n-play in one closet and Lucan on a sleeping bag in the other closet! Aside from the fact that Lucan woke up at least once nearly every night panicking slightly at being in a strange place, the house worked out very well for us.
Saturday was prep day. This year was the first time Commission utilized a different location than the church we've been at for the past 12 years. God opened up the doors for them to be at the local junior high, which was amazing. Each track had an entire classroom to use for Bible study and prep time, and we had plenty of space in the common area for our Morning Celebration and evening worship gatherings, plus dinner time together. The kids and counselors camped in "Tent City" on the grounds just outside the building, inside a gate that could be locked at night, and they used the showers in the locker rooms. All in all, it was a perfect location!
On Sunday we attended the service at First Southern Baptist Church, where we attended when we were stationed in Idaho. We were delighted to have Pastor George Slaughter as guest speaker--he was the full-time pastor when we were there! It was a fun surprise to get to see him and Elizabeth. They have raised 6 children, so it was fun to tell them that since leaving Idaho (with one baby Charis in tow), we have grown to a family of 6 children as well!
Commission kicked off Sunday afternoon with a medieval theme (decorations included a big castle on stage and staffers running around in dragon, princess, and knight costumes) for our Bible study topic, "The Quest for Holiness." Charis was delighted to find that she had been placed into her first choice of tracks, Interactive, which was designed to allow students to serve elderly people by cleaning their homes and visiting with them. (I will have to encourage her to blog about her experience meeting an honest-to-goodness hoarder!)
The week was typical of our Commission experiences:
- Tons of praying
- Not much sleep
- Lots of silliness
- Watching kids grow in Christ as they put their faith to work, being the hands and feet of Jesus
- A bit of teenage drama
- Meeting new friends
- Renewing old friendships
Ted staffed the Street Evangelism team, which you can see squished into a van on the way to Boise in the picture above. His partner, Allison, was awesome. I really enjoyed getting to know her a little bit and wish I could have hung out with her more! This was her first year to staff, and she and Ted clicked really well and did a great job with the kids they had in their group. Unfortunately, the group wasn't able to do as much in the actual street evangelizing arena, but they DID spend a ton of time praying and encouraging other groups, and I know they were right where God wanted them to be!
Charis seemed to have a great time as a camper. I'm still a bit shocked that she's old enough to BE a Commission camper...even though she reminded me constantly during the year leading up to Commission that she would, indeed, be able to join the kids this year instead of watching from the child care room as in the past! She was by far the smallest camper there (you can see her in the front row of the picture above), but my mama's heart was so thrilled to hear counselors, staffers, AND other students tell both Ted and me what an amazing girl she is! Hard worker, dependable, heart for God, wonderful...those are just some of the descriptions we heard. Proud? Oh, yes! Blessed? Definitely!!
The other kiddos got to have some fun during the week as well; one of the tracks was "Community Crew," which set up activities for neighborhood kids in the backyard of the church. One day was crafts (not such a big hit with the boys, but Kenna liked it), one day was water sports, and the last two days were carnival days, complete with huge bounce houses, cotton candy, snow cones, games, face painting, and so on. As you can see, Tobin really hated this part of the week, ha!
Friday evening was a pool party celebration of the entire week, beginning with probably 5 baptisms, which are always awesome because we get to hear the testimonies of the kids getting baptized.
Saturday after clean-up we went to the debrief meeting at Mom and Dad Plymptons' house, and then we said our farewells and headed back to the house to clean up and pack in preparation for our departure the next morning. All in all, a very full, very blessed week. We are so thankful for one last opportunity to be involved with Commission in person before we move overseas!
For more Commission pics, visit our Facebook album. You can also look for Commission on Facebook and like the page...there are lots more pictures there! But I'll close with a darling picture of Zaden and Kevin, a staffer-in-training this year. We've watched Kevin grow up over the years, and he's a great guy from a wonderful, godly family who have been involved with Commission since 2002, I believe. We called Kevin the Baby Whisperer. Zaden actually did NOT want to come back to Mama when he was in Kevin's arms! Anyone else who tried to take him away from me was rebuffed, but Kevin obviously has the magic touch! Sweetness!