Vegas…or A Weekend With Middle Schoolers?

2 11 2010

It’s been too long since I last posted. I know, because I’ve heard it from nearly a dozen of you people–“Cassssssie, when are you going to write another post?”

It harkens me back to my days on the mission trip this summer, when I literally got sick of hearing my own name because I heard it so dang often:

“Cassie, what time is dinner?”

“Cassie, where’s my medicine?”

“Cassie, where are we going next?”

Multiply that by 30 kids for 7 days straight, and you get the picture.

So, the reason for my absence from the blogosphere is pretty simple–I’ve been crazy busy. In the last few weeks, I’ve been writing curriculum for our Wednesday night Bible studies, planning a whole slew of winter and spring classes and activities, and putting together our annual Encounter Camp, a giant retreat for our middle school students and their small group  leaders–among the other rigorous duties of my job.

Incidentally, while I was spending my weekend with a slew of middle schoolers busy teepeeing my door at 3:00 am, my brother was at a conference in Vegas, schmoozing it up with cocktails, fancy dinners, and expensive shows.

Hmm...must be nice...

I don’t have the most glamorous job in the world, that’s for sure.

But–sometimes glamor fizzles in the face of unmistakably real, life-shaking events that punctuate my ministry on occasion.

Let me explain.

Our Encounter Camp was incredible this year. It’s always a privilege to work with such wonderful and servant-minded leaders, and I always leave this weekend feeling blessed to interact with so many people.

This year, for only the second time, we had a “Parent Recap”, where we spent half an hour sharing details from the weekend–highlights of where we had seen God working, what we talked about, our favorite things from the Camp, and how parents could help their kids carry that spiritual growth they experienced at Camp with them through their daily life. It was inspiring to see so many parents excited about their kids’ relationship with Christ.

Honestly, I think one of my favorite parts of this whole weekend was simply hanging out with people. I absolutely love getting to know these kids and adult leaders–and it’s been fascinating to watch how the Holy Spirit has worked through them to mold them in the last few years.

I’ve been able to witness first-hand how some of these kids have grown into Godly young adults.

I’ve been privy to conversations about how some of our students didn’t know Christ at all, and now have a thriving relationship with him.

I’ve watched kids cry as they start to comprehend how much their God has done for them for the first time.

I’ve seen boys grow from hashbrown-slinging terrors into young men eager to live meaningful lives of purpose.

I’ve watched girls toss their ridiculous drama aside and strive to live up to their calling as Christian women.

Recently, one of my youth confided to me that when she came into the confirmation program last year, she was a Wiccan. Now, her faith in Christ is so solid that she’s not only rejected all of her old ways, but she’s reaching out to others who are caught up in the same spiral of evil and sharing her testimony with them.

Over the weekend, I saw one of our eighth grade girls stand up and choose to learn about God rather than go to a hockey game and get a backstage pass to meet her favorite hockey player, who’s been her role model for over half her life. Even though her parents drove up an hour and a half to present her with this surprise present, she chose to stay at the Camp and learn more about her God–because, as she put it, “This hockey player is my idol, but he’s not my Savior.”

Additionally, in the last few weeks, I’ve had the absolutely incredible experience of watching two young men start to step into leadership roles. They started out helping in small ways with our Fusion 56 Wednesday night Bible studies, and with a little encouragement, started taking on more and more leadership responsibility. Last week, they both led small groups for the first time–all on their own.

The coolest part? They totally rocked those small groups. The fifth and sixth grade kids were completely enthralled with having these teenagers as teachers. And I was blown away by the teaching ability of these two young men. I mean, seriously–I was floored. I felt like I just stumbled across a buried treasure that was hidden in plain sight, right in front of me all along.

I guess I’m rambling right now…this isn’t exactly my most cohesive and well-planned post. But, it’s a glimpse of what’s swirling around in my mind right now.

Even though my brother may be livin’ it up in Las Vegas, I’m still pretty happy with my weekend and the little rays of sunshine that shine into my life every once in a while.

However, don’t get me started on missing out on the famous Monte Carlo buffet…




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