Week 3’s campers and leaders have been here for just over 24 hours.
We are already in love. It takes only that long to care about each face, each life, each soul.
We are here because of the hundreds of middle schoolers we will meet and serve this month.
But they are not the only kids we love. There are another 8 kids here for the month, ranging from almost-two (the “almost” is very important) to nine. Their parents serve in a variety of roles – head leader, program team, speaker.
They – as much as anyone on the work staff or the assigned team – reflect the image of God and the love of Jesus to every middle-schooler who spends a week here.
Because God is wondrous and loving and miraculous and caring, our 8 staff kids have gelled into a unified mass of enthusiasm and energy that is beyond delightful. Their personalities and quirks and smiles and jokes and joys (plus eating habits and sleeping schedules) all add up to one big bundle of fabulous awesomeness.
It has the potential to be so many other things. Tiring. Trying. Challenging. Dreadful, even. Throw together 8 young children for a month, living in close quarters, away from all that is familiar, and pretty much anything can happen.
Because of God’s great grace, what has happened here is beautiful and lovely and sweet. If saying goodbye to campers is difficult (and it truly is) then saying goodbye to 8 children that have become collectively “ours” is going to break many a heart.
We are all about the middle-schoolers, to be sure. But like Jesus, we are oh so very glad that the staff children are here, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.