"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."

I don’t know about you, but I always get anxious and have a million questions run through my mind as I prepare for a mission trip.  Will God use me?  Am I capable? Do I have something to offer? Will I really make a difference?  I have found the answer to all of these questions is, YES.  The truth is, it isn’t even about how capable, talented, or knowledgeable we are really, it’s truly about being willing. Willing to serve and willing to step out of your comfort zone.  Most of those on our team have been gifted with some sort of artistic gift.  Whether it’s dance, drama, playing a musical instrument or having a beautiful voice, most of our team is gifted.  Seems appropriate given the fact we are serving at an arts camp.  However, I have seen each member of our team step out and stretch themselves in ways that cause discomfort.  I’m not talking about surviving without AC or only having intermittent access to the internet, but discomfort that results in growth.  Speaking in front of people, performing in front of people, initiating conversations with strangers that don’t even speak your language, trying a new language, or even jumping on a foreign train!  All these things push us to a point of surrender to and trust in our God.

A peek into our week since arriving at camp:

Each day we start our day with devotions.  The entire camp volunteer staff – counselors, workshops leaders and assistants, gather each morning to receive encouragement through the Word.  Our team was responsible to lead those devotions each day, something we did not know until we arrived.  Initially, some team members were a bit apprehensive about sharing in front of a large group but, despite their discomfort, each team member pushed through and lead staff devotions beautifully.  Both Lisa and Lauryne led the camp staff and our team in devotions this week!

Each day following devotions we headed to the only air-conditioned room on the camp to worship.  I would like to say the skip in my step was because of the worship/message, but sometimes it was the AC!   After worship, we headed out for a quiet time for about an hour and then on to our first workshops.  This is where a lot of us stepped outside our comfort zone.  Here to make an impact, not to be comfortable, all willingly served in various workshops with the campers.  After lunch we had an opportunity to hang out with campers doing fun things like ziplining, swimming, climbing a rock wall or just hanging out and chatting.  Later in the afternoon we had a second workshop and then some specialty workshops like creative writing, make up class, tennis, or drama.  Every evening ended with another time of worship.  Each night someone stepped out to share their journey with Jesus.  We were blessed this week to hear Lesley and Jenna share what led them to accept what Jesus had for them and how He has changed their life since accepting Him.  

I wish I had time to list each team member and the workshop they participated in, but I will leave the reveal to the pictures at the bottom of the blog.  It’s safe to say that each of us were stretched in new ways, learned a lot about ourselves, and were used by God to impact these campers.  Of the 170 campers taking part this week, 99 went forward last night to receive the Savior that gives freedom, unconditional love and eternal life. 

The camp’s theme this year is jest weicej – there is more!  We believe there is more! More love to be shared, more trust to be formed, and definitely, more campers to come forward in these last few days.

It all starts with saying yes!  Being willing to serve and step outside of what makes you comfortable and outside of what feels natural…that is where God’s glory is the brightest and His works are on display!  As Lauryne reminded us this morning, growth happens in the uncomfortable places.  

You should join us next year!

Next blog coming soon...

 

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Rhonda Blanchard