A white onslaught of snow and ice tried to hide the road as I returned back to camp midday Tuesday. I had passed my Astronomy test which I took in Traverse City that morning, and even though I was nervous about the test I did well. The roads on the way there had been clear. Not so on the way back. But God was gracious and I arrived back at camp late afternoon intact.
The next day began with the weekly West Side chapel cleaning with Lee and Reuben, followed by Staff Fellowship. Barb – who has served in Africa for the past 30 years as a missionary and is now on staff here at camp for a year – shared her testimony with everyone. Hearing of how God had taken care of her through everything from wars to a plane crash was encouraging. All the staff had lunch together and then went back to work.
Ice skating is a highlight of the retreats for many, so making the ice and maintaining the rinks is a big deal. Jeremy Linsley shared his knowledge of ice making with me Wednesday afternoon and put me to work. I helped snowblow and then sweep off the ice. Thankfully both jobs are accomplished with tractors. We then put down a couple of fresh sheets of water on the ice. The job of ice laying is a little tricky as you have to try and keep the massively long hose from going over where you’ve already been, but I mostly got the hang of it.
The rest of the week before the retreats started I spent doing various jobs around camp. The biggest of the jobs was snow removal. Thursday between a couple of snow shovels and a snowblower, Reuben and I cleared half of West Side camp. The ten-degree air kept us from overheating and we even had the joy of knocking down some huge icicles.
The tubing hill is another highlight of winter at Barakel, and I had the privilege of helping run the hill for the first time Thursday night when we had people from the community come and tube. Tubing was fun to watch and I even went down the snowy hill for the first time.
The view early in the evening from the top of hill was amazing – Venus was shining brightly over a few black clouds on the horizon as the last tinges of sunlight faded away and night took over. It was a beautiful sight that I won’t soon forget.
Friday evening the retreats started full swing and on the East Side it was our last Father-Son retreat of the winter. I saw four boys who all had been my campers over the past two summers and was able to meet and talk with their dads. It was a lot of fun.
The weekend flew by and I was exhausted by Sunday afternoon when all the campers had left. So today has been spent mostly resting and catching up on sleep, but I will be back at it tomorrow morning! Pray for us at camp for our strength and joy as we serve for Christ’s glory.