summer revisited // D-Camp

A few days ago, I promised a recap of the summer and so we are forging ahead. One week after returning from Honduras, we jumped into a fleet of vans and headed to Castle Bluff for a four day weekend with 80 middle schoolers. D-Camp is something of an annual tradition where we take a “smaller” group of students away for a few days to stretch them spiritually in a way that is different from our more outreach oriented fall weekends.

Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of the weekend. Not one. The options here are A) I didn’t take any pictures all weekend long, or B) I have “misplaced” them. I think I know where they are, but they aren’t handy right this second. So instead, I’ll share a few choice videos from the weekend. They aren’t videos of the weekend. Rather, they are videos we showed during the weekend. They typically aren’t meant to be all that meaningful. Usually these short videos are meant to inject a bit of humor into the weekend. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I believe most everyone on the planet has seen this one. It has middle school humor written all over it.

Speaking of middle school humor, the laughs just keep coming with this series of talking animals.

This one is fascinating. To see the transformation of a human being from birth to 12 year old in a matter of seconds can provide an opportunity for reflection for fellow tweens. However, middle schoolers aren’t especially known for being reflective.

Spoken word has it’s time and place. I think D-Camp can be one of them.

Next up on Summer Revisted… Family Vacation.

summer revisited // Hondo2012

I know it has been a while, but summer gets crazy and the blog falls to the bottom of the priority list. However I’m back from a summer full of adventures and my hope over the next few weeks is to give you a glimpse into what’s been happening in my life over the last few months. Ready? Go.

The first trip took place before summer break officially began… Hondo2012. Nearly a year prior, Bobby and I sensed that maybe this year’s graduating class was up for an international mission trip. This group of students had a number of young men and women who had done it all. Attended and provided leadership in the youth group. Served in church and in the community. Been on every retreat, trip, camp, mission, activity we had ever thrown at them. It was a group of students who were deeply connected to each other, the church, and God. So a mission trip to Honduras seemed like just the right thing to bring their high school years with us to a close.

Plans were made. Money was raised. Training meetings were held. Airplane tickets were bought. And providentially a group of twenty-one people were assembled for the team. Out of that group nine of them were graduating seniors and the rest were a wonderful assortment of adults who had various reasons for wanting to be on the team.

It is difficult to put into a few words all that we experienced that week, so I’ll share a bit and then maybe the pictures I include will fill in the gaps. Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

The bare details of the week are that we showed up on Wednesday. Visited their orphanage on a ranch in the mountains on Thursday. Staffed their medical brigade on Friday and Saturday. Went to church and sight-seeing on Sunday. Another medical brigade Monday and Tuesday. Flew home on Wednesday.

What the run down of our itinerary doesn’t convey are any of the things that made the trip what it was. We walked away from the week having had a wonderful opportunity to serve the “least of these” without much concern for what we would get in return.

However, as is always the case, we stood everything to gain from the experience. An appreciation for what is happening in another part of the world. A chance to recognize some new things about ourselves. Some pleasant surprises. Others less so. An opportunity to work along-side Honduran brother and sisters in work that was meaningful.

But perhaps the thing that will be the most lasting is a sense of connectedness to the other people on the team that came about through our shared experiences. Shared joys. Shared struggles. Shared service. Shared stories. Shared meals. Shared worship. Shared lives.

With any luck, there will be a Hondo2013!

The next episode of “Summer Revisited” will feature D-Camp!!!


social media wisdom

I receive a publication called The Regent World aimed at communicating with friends of Regent College, a seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia. Each edition is themed around a particular idea or issue. Various faculty, students, and alumni weigh in on the topic and it is generally good stuff. This latest go around took a look at social media.

One contributor in particular, Conrade Yap, shared some thoughts that seemed soaked with wisdom.

Social media can be a bridge as well as a barrier. While it can bring people from afar closer together, it can also create distance between people in close proximity. For example, we can joyfully interact with a friend on Skype halfway around the world, and alienate the friend sitting just next to us at the same table. The key guideline I have about social media is this: “Manage social media before it manages you.” For me, one way to do that is to practice a technological Sabbath once a week. From 6pm Saturday to 6pm Sunday, I shut my computers down. Strangely, when that happens, I am free to see that life is bigger than an Internet connection. I am free to let technology be technology. I am free to let me be me, and let God be God.

The technology Sabbath he suggests might be too much or not enough for you, but I think there is a question worth asking…

Is there any time in our week when we aren’t “connected?”

Bobby and I were lamenting that during our time with students, they were so preoccupied with their phones (and no they weren’t just looking up Bible passages) that they didn’t seem like they were really able to engage what was happening in room. They were missing out on connecting with the people standing in front of them or sitting around them. They were there, but they weren’t. So on a whim, we just asked them if they wouldn’t mind setting their phone aside (actually, on a table in the back of the room) for the duration of our time together. Not because either of us think phones are bad, but because they can be distracting. We felt like them being willing to do that was as much symbolic as practical. Students can get distracted pretty easily¬† – phone or no phone. But parting with their phones – even for an hour – is a non-verbal way of saying, “I’m here. Really here.”

I was sort of surprised that there wasn’t more whining and pushback. I thought the students would get all irate and even say, “forget this blankity-blank place, I’m out.” Instead, they seemed to embrace the idea. No “I’m outta here’s.” No whining. Just a willing – maybe even eager – compliance. And what started as just sort of a fleeing idea has grown. The next week, we mentioned it again and they deposited their phones on the table in no time at all. And then last week, before anyone had said anything, there were at least a dozen phones (curiously, most of them iPhones) taking a break from their masters.

Maybe students aren’t as committed to their technology as we are sometimes led to believe. Maybe something in them recognizes that being constantly “connected” isn’t good for them. Maybe they are longing for more than just a webpage that tells them how many “friends” they have. Maybe there is hope for them yet.

And if there is hope for them, then maybe there is hope for us.

More of Conrade Yap HERE.

The Regent World publication on social media HERE.