(Blog post written by Caroline “Photosynthesass” Andrews)
We’re closing in on day 4 here in the beautiful country of Nicaragua, and today we finished our first session of camp. Praise the Lord for the success that we had! In just three short days, relationships were built, multiple kids came to know Christ (!!!), and memories were made that we will never forget. It was sad to have to tell them goodbye.
As part of our closing-day festivities, we had a talent show where each cabin (counselors included) had to perform a skit, chant, or dance for the entire camp. There was some stiff competition, but I think it’s safe to say “Mason 1’s” new and improved rendition of Chainsaw took the cake.
Speaking of cake, before the campers boarded the bus back to Tippitappa, we got to celebrate the birthday of one of the Nicaraguan counselors, Ana, with some delicious cake made by our amazing chefs here. They have kept us fueled with 5 square meals a day–along with siestas, yet another piece of Nicaragua we would like to assimilate into the American culture.
As the Towers staff had our meeting last night with Maddie and Connor, something we were all fascinated by was the way these people worship. The passion and emotion they not only have, but show, for the Lord is so convicting coming from a culture where it is easy to feel ashamed of making your emotions too visible. As we sang songs, circles of campers and counselors were weeping in praise. And then in the blink of a teary eye, the beat dropped and we were jumping and running around the room in celebration. Although at first it was a shocking transition, it was convicting to see their way of receiving and the thanking the Lord for the gifts they had just received.
I had the privilege of being in a cabin with 3 Nicaraguan counselors (shoutout to Valeska, Jadira, and Junielca). They were all such great leaders, and it was cool to get to watch them walk in confidence leading our cabin of girls. One of our campers, Diana, was very shy and did not say a word the first day and a half of camp. Yesterday, as we were having a flush and brush in the cabin, I heard a laugh I had not yet heard from our group. My mama bird instincts kicked in and I turned around, expecting to see an extra camper that had found their way into the wrong cabin. Instead, I saw Diana and another one of our campers sitting on a bed playing some game they had made up and dying of laughter. It was the first time I heard her laugh and open up.
Last night after worship, I had the chance to pray over Diana, and ask the Lord to continue the joy Diana had found at camp as she returned home to her family. I am not sure what home life looks for her or what struggles she may be battling in her heart, but as I read in James yesterday morning, I now know exactly why God had led me to this verse:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
It was not the cold shower I had to take last night or the sunburn I have on the back of my neck. This one was for Diana. These kids are returning to real trials that we may never know about, but we believe that God is big enough to fight any battles they may be facing. And we hope that camp provides a place for them to grab their battle armor.
Tomorrow we welcome in the second session of campers, and we ask for your prayers that we have the same success with this group of kids as we did the first! This group is older kids and teenagers, an age range us Towers folk do not have much experience with, so please pray for wisdom and discernment in our words and actions as we enter new territory.
We are so thankful for the love and the support from back home. We are grateful for the Lord’s work we have already seen and are expectant of much more to come in the second session!
Caroline “Photosynthesass” Andrews