Category Archives: Camp Peace

Switching Modes.

I like it when I’m in blog writing mode. When I’m in blog writing mode my eyes are open and I’m searching for what God’s doing every day in my life. That mode has been turned off for awhile now.

I wonder if it’s because after the closing of Camp Peace I shifted into a sort of survival mode.  So focused on getting through each day that I haven’t been paying as much attention to my wonderful Lord as I desperately need to be. He is after all what gets me through each day.

Yesterday, I told a fellow that I work with that it was of unfortunate and difficult circumstance that I came to work with him. Not that it was unfortunate and difficult to work with him… Just that the events that brought me there had been.

He looked for a second as if he was about to argue with me and then he paused and said, “We’ll talk about it in about three years.”

I thought it would take years for me to understand too. I wasn’t sure I’d ever really understand why God would let Camp Peace close.

I’ll probably never understand everything that God was doing. But still only a couple months later I can see the immense good that He’s been doing in my life – and that just strengthens my knowledge that He will use this for the good of my kids too. My Peace kids, and my Victory kids.

The kids of Camp Victory have been through a lot of change and a lot of difficult and seemingly unfortunate things this year as well. How fortunate that I could join the team that was working so hard to show them that even when they feel abandoned and confused there’s a God who loves them and is NEVER going to leave them.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

-Psalm 139: 11, 12


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Honestly, My life would suck without you.

I’ve been singing the words in that title as a prayer for the past couple of days. They’re from a Kelly Clarkson song, but none of the other words actually apply to the situation, so I stick to those ones.

Only a couple days ago I finally got over the pain of losing my camp enough to start to realize something: I miss my kids. A lot.

Every so often my thoughts start to wander into all the wrong places and a simple but dangerous phrase comes to mind: “Life Sucks!” My cynical nature tends to rise up, and I decide to agree. “Well yes, that’s right, it sure does!”

But I always remember a particular day that I was taught otherwise, and I’m forced to change that opinion:

The whole group was sitting around a couple of tables just finishing off their Fun Day Friday meal. One of the little Peace boys abruptly stated that phrase that I’m always tempted to believe: “Life sucks!”

I don’t think I was going to say anything about it… At least I held back from agreeing.

But one of my boys who had found Christ about a year prior corrected him: “No, life doesn’t suck, because of Jesus.”

You’re right my little friend. Not only does it not suck, it’s actually pretty awesome now that I come to think of it.  Because of Jesus.

The Victory kids are amazing. That camp is full of personality. If there’s a shy one amongst them I have yet to meet him. (I wouldn’t be surprised if there actually is… It wouldn’t be hard to hide in that group!)

I miss my Peace kids, and I hope to see them soon. I am however happy to be getting to know the kids of Camp Victory. My knowledge of children tells me that I’ll have many a quote for you soon. And my knowledge of God tells me that these kids will teach me a lot, just like the kids at Peace did. Maybe I’ll even have a few more children telling me just how far life is, in fact, from sucking.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.


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Closing a Chapter – Day 8/8

“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials.”              – George Muller

Did you know that Alexandra Park was Urban Promise Toronto’s first site? AP is where it all began.

11 years ago.

A couple days ago I was looking through my supervisor’s old pictures. There were pictures of cute little kids in Camp Peace who were now much older and in youth program. Some of them had become streetleaders.

There were always those little kids who had big plans to become camp leaders  some day. I asked our streetleader MVP once if he had been one of them. He told me of course, he had always known he would be a Camp Peace counsellor.

Thinking of MVP’s little brother, well, I’m sure he thought one day he could be a Camp Peace counsellor just like big bro. It’s hard.

It’s hard hearing 14 year olds telling you that they were going to work at Camp Peace next year. Having 15 year olds who were about to apply to work for March Break camp. 4 year old little brothers and sisters who were coming to Camp Peace next year. Heck, 3 year olds who were coming in two years.

It’s hard seeing that their carefully made goals and plans don’t get to work out how they had hoped.

But what is it I’ve told my kids over and over. I even said it last night with a mic. in my hand from the stage.

God has big plans for them. He has a spectacular plan, for each and every single one of them. He knows what He’s doing. Believe it or not, His plans are better than our own.

I try to believe it. It’s hard, I’m just so gosh darn good at making plans! Wow, but I guess if God’s are even better I should be pretty excited. 😉

Right, so, the goodbye party:

We sat down and we prayed and we told God that we didn’t have the time to iron out the details. We didn’t have the time to make a foolproof plan. It was on Him. He had to be there. He was running it. He was making it happen. We just… Couldn’t do it.

Well, He did.
It was great.

It ran from 4 o’clock until 6.

We were debating when to start our presentation, thinking people might not really show up until about 4:45.

At 4 o’clock the masses started flooding in.

By 4:30 their were so many people I was blown away.

There were kids. Kids who come to camp. Kids who used to come to camp. Kids who graduated from camp. Youth from our youth program. Moms. Little siblings. Older siblings. Old leaders. Obviously current leaders, and any Urban Promise staff who could manage to get there.

Picture 059

There wasn’t too much planned. We had a five minute slideshow and Spencer Vader sang one of his songs. “Beautiful one turn that frown upside, the world stops spinning round and round when they see that smile, see that smile of yours.” I was so thankful that he played it for us. The message of that song is great, things will be tough sometimes, but these kids are precious children of God and they can make it through. I looked around the room and I could see that it really touched the moms.

Then each of us leaders got up on the stage… Not having actually planned anything to say and just shared for a moment what was on our hearts.

The rest of the time was spent talking and eating and of course the kids played some games. It was a beautiful night.

We love the community of Alexandra Park, of course we do. It pains us to leave it. All those people coming out on that cold day showed me something else. They love us too. They’re sad to see us go.

Urban Promise doesn’t just have programs. It develops friendships.

The program might be leaving. But the friendships, those are there to stay.

This chapter’s closing.
But God’s not finished writing each of our books.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
– Philippians 1:6

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Ever Looming – Day 7/8

Day seven of eight. Oh my goodness. And it’s over.

That leaves one day. The goodbye party.

Camp was hectic.

For activity time I had them make cards for whichever camp friends they chose. It was so rushed. I had two kids for most of activity time and then suddenly with five minutes left the rest flooded in from having completed either time outs or homework. So when they came in I told them they could make a quick card. They didn’t have enough time.

Happens a lot eh… Often we don’t have enough time.

At least that’s what it feels like.

This morning there was a deelimajigger for the two downtown supervisors. Both of whom I’ve worked with actually.

When we were sharing memories of downtown one staff member, Peter, commented on our Celebration earlier this year. Our kids were singing an amazing song, only three had come that night. I had sat in the crowd during practice watching as they sang so quietly you couldn’t even hear them. Finally I couldn’t stand it and asked Peter if I could go kneel in front of them, like I’d always done in practice. When I did the volume rose and their amazing little voices were heard.

He commented on how my presence made all the difference. Each of our presences in downtown has made a difference.

It was nice, but it hurt. I won’t be there anymore.

These last two weeks I’ve been trying my best to slowly back up. Step away from the stage so to say. So that they’ll be able to sing their loudest and best without me right there with them. I’ve told them to look inside… Not to themselves… But to the Holy Spirit who’s ever present in so many of them.

Pray Pray Pray for our goodbye party tomorrow!

PLEASE!

🙂

Oh. Hosanna, if you’re reading this: I hope I didn’t put it up too late! Get some sleep. I’m praying for you!

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Day Six of Eight.

Hm.

Well.

Played Bingo today.

Talked to my girls about how they can learn about God without me around to teach them.

Helped a five year old learn to write her name without writing half of the letters backwards.

Today wasn’t a day of exciting revelations or exciting… any things really. It was however a very good day. I’m feeling pretty content in the midst of all this junk and we had a pretty fun day with our kids.

I must admit the end is kind of looming over everything. Tomorrow will be the last normal camp day. Friday is the Goodbye Party.

That’s Goodbye to Camp Peace.

How crazy is that?

I’m going to go work on a slideshow.

I don’t cry for sorrow, I cry with joy
The memories we’ve made can’t be destroyed
You know I won’t forget you
You know I never could
And when I said I loved you
You know I meant for good
 

Audio Adrenaline – Goodbye

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Come Find Peace in the Father – Day 5/8

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father

‘The Words I Would Say’ by Sidewalk Prophets (or in this case… from my mother.)

I’m trying to figure out how to explain day five without typing for five hours and making you read for a full twenty minutes. Well, no one would actually finish reading if I tried that… Except maybe my mom or Hosanna…

Wow, I’m wasting time.

Let’s start with this morning… No no… Wait… We have to go back to last week.

Right. Well, in general I’ve been really confused. Everyone’s been reminding me that God doesn’t change – and boy did I ever need to hear it. I was shaken up. Suddenly it felt like God wasn’t providing… And if that was the case how was I going to get through life?

I don’t know about you, but I plan on moving forward under the provision of my Heavenly Father. Lord willing I will go to University for five years… And then to become a missionary. Not a money making business my friends.

So I prayed, one of those desperate lost kind of prayers. I told God that I needed reassurance. I knew that He was a God who provided for His children. So why did it feel like I’d asked for bread and gotten a stone? That’s not my God. So I told Him what I was needing, I needed Him to provide. I needed to see. The problem was… Well I have all that I need. So, I didn’t know what to ask for and I moved on.

One thing I thought about last week was how awesome it would be to get all our kids Bibles. They don’t need us… But they do need the Word. I have no money, and I’ve got a lot to do… So I moved on from that one too.

NOW to this morning. All the Alexandra Park interns were in a meeting to figure out what our next few weeks would look like and my partner had a question to ask of our leaders about ‘A lady in Germany…’ (that’s the point where he turned to me and said “Oh Rumour I haven’t told you yet…”) Then he continued to tell how a friend of his had decided the kids needed Bibles and she was willing to provide them.

Just like that.
All of a sudden.
Everything was ok.

He did it. He provided. Just like… He always does.
He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I kept thinking that I’ve never seen Him provide… But I have. Just like that. Time and time again.

I really need to write these things down.
Wait, I just did. Score!

Ok. I’ll try to be quick about the camp day as I’ve already said quite a bit already.

On the way to camp I was walking with just MVP and his little brother for a bit. This little boy can be insanely mature: “Oh wow. Camp Peace is almost over. There’s gonna be a lot of tears on Friday!” He said out of the blue. We talked about it a bit more, it was terribly cute.

In WordUp I talked to my girls about God in their lives. I told them how their body is like a church that the Holy Spirit lives inside. I told them that they don’t need to be at Camp Peace and in that church to keep getting to know God better. I told them ways that I’ve gotten to know God throughout my life and I told them they should keep trying too. When we were done we exchanged stories we’ve heard about the tragedy in Haiti and we prayed for the children there.

For activity we painted peace ornaments. I bought them at Christmas but never found the time to use them, I’m glad that we did them now. It worked out a lot better.

Today was an all around good day.

🙂



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Yesterday – Day 4/8

So,
Yesterday,

Joey, one of our awesome volunteers came by. She’s obviously busy and swamped down by exams, but she made time. Talking to her was encouraging. It reminded me that this whole situation has been eye opening in the way of seeing where  our priorities are.

I met up with our street leader MVP for pick-ups. We picked up five kids from their homes – including his little brother.

Remember the little cheering boy from day one? Well his bus was late so we were standing waiting with his big brother. We had a good conversation with him. At one point he said that his little brother is really sad, but he’s trying not to show it. “He talks in his sleep though.” I guess the other night he was caught saying, “I did all my homework at camp…” while fast asleep.

Soon the bus pulled up and that wonderful little boy stumbled out to join us for day four.

When we got to camp another volunteer was there. A man I know from church on Sundays. The kids didn’t know him well… He volunteered quite awhile ago. What a great moment when my flustered street leader stood there in awe of his old camp leader. “Oh my goodness. Don’t tell me. The names coming. Wolverine! Oh my goodness, it’s good to see you man.”

It was cool for Wolverine to see a young man he’d once lead, leading his own group of young ones.

Camp was chaotic.
I was tired.
I came home and slept.
I woke up this morning.
I called my mom.
And then I wrote this blog.
One week down, one more to go.
Here’s hoping it’s a good one.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

-Psalm 27:14

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