September 8, 2012

Hidden treasures

This was my first fall camp so I didn’t know what to expect. I had only two things previous experiences to work from, boy scouts camping trips and fellowship camps. I figured fall camp would be like one, the other, or both.

In fact it was neither and both.

We boarded the bus together with the students and headed out of town. I’ve never been on a bus so quiet and well behaved. I’m used to the rowdy bus filled with varsity boys heading to the Friday night football game. Instead our bus was filled with kids playing Sudoku on their iPads or playing the alphabet game trying to spot English letters in the sea of Chinese characters.

We arrived settled into our three star hotel rooms and began three days of activities, games, sessions, and food all focused on one goal:

That they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of the Father, namely, the Son, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The highlight was definitely getting to interact with students outside the classroom (and finally learning all the students’ names). So much of our classroom time is spent focusing on the academics, I get little chance to really get to know students. Fall camp is that time. I get to know the students. I get to focus on something other than math. We played football, Frisbee golf, and ate together. For three days we didn't focus on academics. Instead, we focused on the heart, the body, and community.

The Body
The ropes course physically tested the body, especially as students tried to squeeze through the itsy-bitsy-too-small-for-even-a-cat holes in the spider web challenge. Or jumped from plank to plank 20 feet in the air. Or blindly formed a square out of rope.

The Heart
Daily session examined our hearts. How are we transformed and not conformed? What does it mean to love others? How can we prepare for the difficulties of life? How is the Son described?

On the last night, we celebrated our community with a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. While I take marshmallow roasts for grated, they're just not that common here in China and they're a little fruity. You see, marshmallows here are fruit flavored, so choose wisely. I suggest a combination of banana and chocolate flavored marshmallows roasted together to form a marshmallow banana split.

As the year continues, I hope we continue to seek the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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