Thursday, June 28, 2012

Redeeming Bud

On July 9, I will have been sober for 13 years and the only step I needed was to follow Jesus Christ. But, oh the stories I could tell and have told the young men I see every day. I’ve told them so many times that they actually tell them better. However, our summer staff gets it the worst as they hear those stories again for the benefit of the new staff. For training there’s always new faces eager to hear how to tackle inner city youth ministry and, much to the chagrin of the veteran staff members, every year I share the life principles I learned from living fast and experiencing the “no bar too far”, “we drive at five” culture. So, in teaching them how to handle difficult parents who think their $45 payment for six weeks of camp entitles them to tell us how games should be played or what kind of counselor is best for their kid, I use Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse model of management. Step 1: Be nice. Step 2: Take it outside. Step 3: Call the “Cooler”.

Now I must admit, my ego gets a bit of a boost every summer as I envision myself with Patrick Swayze hair dealing with hard cases. However, this year, the Lord led me to new heights of creativity by using a young man nicknamed Kunta. He asked me why my favorite word was “bud”. That’s what I call everybody— “Hi Bud!”, “What’s up buddy?”, “See ya later, buddy.”, etc. So, as I shared our mission for camp of “Building Character, Unlocking Eternity, & Directing” with the summer staff, I thought to myself, “If the Lord can find a redeeming way to use the phrase, ‘This Bud’s for You!’, anything or anyone can be redeemed.”

So, this summer, please pray that our workers search high and low, deep and wide for those redeeming parts which are sometimes hidden in the lives of the community we serve.

Semper Fi,

    Matt Nance

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Camp Excitement

Staff training has begun for our summer camp program and, as we prepare for 60+ children, the atmosphere among the staff can be summed up into one word: excitement.  Excitement about the opportunity to work alongside great young men and women; excitement about having the opportunity to share life with our campers; excitement about teaching them about God and hopefully illustrating His love to them; and, ultimately, we are very excited to see what God is going to do in and among us over the next six weeks.

Every year, we are blessed to see growth in our campers.  The campers grow physically as they serve through community service projects.  Emotional growth is also evident as they are able to develop conflict resolution skills through small group lessons.  Lastly, seeing their spiritual growth is incredibly encouraging.  What a blessing it is to be a part of their growth!

The campers are not the only ones who are changed.  Every year, it seems that we are affected deeply by our experiences during camp.  The most specific occasion I can mention is probably the last Thursday of Summer Camp, which is our weekly Praise and Worship day, when we spend a while in prayer with the campers.  Both counselors and campers are brought to tears as we pour our hearts out to the Lord.  It is a wonderful time of confession, comforting and the removal of burdens.  Counselors and campers embrace one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.  But this is just one occasion. God can use the whole camp experience to change us as well as the small, seemingly insignificant moments.

Keeping in mind the power of God to change us and the faith that He will, can you see why we are so excited?!  Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  Please keep ‘em coming!

Jeremy Kiger
Tiger Pause Staff