The students’ reporting day was Monday. Throughout the day we were taking trips to town to pick them up and bring them home. It was good to finally get faces to match the names that are on their doors!
Tuesday the program really began with a camping trip. We loaded up our supplies after lunch, then headed to a nearby mountain. (We were driven to the bottom, and climbed up. The boys usually hike the whole way…We were thankful for that adjustment!)
We read through John 13-17 together, as that is the text of one of our classes. But our main focus for our time was John 15:1-17, which is all about our need to ABIDE in Christ. I shared a short devotion on verses 10-17 to end our camping experience (except for the hike back down of course). In those verses, Jesus talks about how we need to obey His commands in order to demonstrate our love for Him. Some people might struggle with this idea, especially as it is phrased in verse 14: “You are my friends if you do what I command.” But really, Jesus was articulating a truth within us that we rarely actually identify. Too often we say we love someone, but our actions demonstrate the exact opposite. Yet, if we are truly abiding in Christ, obedience will be our natural response. We will have a strong desire to show our love for Him by pleasing Him through our obedience. Going further, the one command he specifically focuses on in John 15 is to “love each other.” Again, if we are abiding in Christ (praying, reading/studying His Word, etc.) then our natural response will be to have that love for Him overflow into love for others. So we ended our conversation by brainstorming some specific ways we can demonstrate love for each other within our home as we now become a family of sisters for these next months. Please be praying for us that we sincerely love each other as an overflow of our love for our Father.
In addition to time focused on God’s Word, we spent time intentionally providing opportunities for all of us to get to know each other better. We had a campfire where we shared our life stories, and how God brought us to ABIDE. (Since there were so many of us, that was interrupted a few times by standing up and singing.) We played several team building games: tent pole, human knot, swamp, etc. Through those fun & challenging experiences, we had many opportunities to learn to work together and the importance of unity.
After observing the students, and in a spirit of prayer, we assigned each girl to an accountability partner. So, over the next few months they will meet with their partner for prayer and sharing. They will encourage and challenge each other in their walks with Jesus, and all other aspects of life here at the house. This is a sweet relationship, that really depends on vulnerability and trust. Many of the ABIDE alumni have remained extremely close with their accountability partners, and we hope for the same for these girls. So, in order to help them begin trusting their partners right away, they completed their final challenge activity: The Blind Guide. One partner was blindfolded, and the other had to verbally guide her (without touching her) down the mountain and up another “hill.” Then, once they reached the top of that second hill, they switched roles, and came back up the mountain with the campsite. Wow! Talk about trust! Though it was challenging, to say the least, they all really had a good time doing it, and learned a lot from it.
We had a great time with all the activities during our camping experience…which is good, because the actual “camping” part didn’t go so well…at least not for us leaders in my tent…
Let’s just say, putting up the tents was a little challenging with poles that were broken, or too long or too short & nails instead of tent stakes. We thought we did ok…but realized we were wrong when it was time to sleep! The four female leaders ended up in a tent that had a mesh window. We had a rain cover, but it didn’t actually cover the window completely. It was SOOOO windy, and cold…and then, after months without rain, the dry season decided to end. So, we were cold and getting rained on. After we couldn’t take it any longer, we all decided to rotate in the tent so that the window was at our feet, not over me. We kept getting closer and closer to each other as the night progressed. Then, the tent turned into an extra blanket–one side totally collapsed on us! I definitely did more laughing than sleeping that night! But really, how many times have I gone camping and it ends up raining?!? (Maybe I usually don’t endure the tent collapsing, but certainly rain!)
Now we have moved right into orientation for the rest of this week. We are getting the students prepped for their classes and what to expect now that they have arrived. Next Monday the actual classes begin! I’m getting eager to teach…even earlier than I would if I was at home! (Though I’m not too excited about having to write out and turn in lesson plans…Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, it will be good for me…)
Enjoy some pictures from the recent adventures!