¡Buenas noches amigos! Noah “Banks” Rodgers coming to you LIVE from Peru!
Turns out 6:00AM isn’t all that bad. You start to get used to it when the sun is already a quarter of the way through the sky at that point. We did today a little bit different because the campers finally had the opportunity to ride the horses we have at camp!!
So after early morning worship (why don’t we move our hips like this in American worship?? I mean, hello, Psalm 150:4) and breakfast, we split up into guys and girls and did station activities. All the campers had the opportunity to play gaga ball, taka taka (which is literally life-size foosball. Don’t worry, it’s awesome), wiffle ball/Jenga, play on the playground, ride horses, and shoot bow and arrows!
Let me just take a minute to explain to you from a first person perspective what exactly archery is from a Peruvian child’s perspective. But first you need a little background from the past couple of days.
So I’m a bunny this week. I’m Carlos, el conejito (bunny) in the skit and the basic gist of what I do is come out, talk in my falsetto, fall down because I’m a rabbit that can’t jump, and pretty much butcher a very beautiful language attempting to read cue cards and progress a plot line that, mind you, is completely about cheese. Yep, we made a skit about cheese. And the kids LOVE it. Even when I’m not in costume, probably every 15 minutes a camper comes up to me and says “¡Hola conejito!” or “Tu eres el conejito” (you are the bunny) to which I reply either, “YOU are the bunny” or “The bunny is in the mountains over there. *point*” I haven’t convinced them yet because they’ve seen my shoes and they’re actually very smart, but I might still be able to!
So back to teaching archery this morning… After learning how to knock their arrows and pull back their bows, most of the children very imaginatively thought it would be fun to go on a bunny hunt! Pretty good idea except when you’re the bunny! …We had extensive talks about safety every rotation, to say the least (actually I think I kept telling them to put their bow and arrow behind their ground so maybe not so much safety lectures).
It was a fun rest of the afternoon with King Queso and his minions off to find the legendary “Arted” who collects fine cheeses while Carlos and Zoe do the same! We’ll have to see who gets there first tomorrow! Plenty of pool time and a wonderful dinner to cap off the day. After club we’ll play an altered version of Recon, our night game with the campers and have a blast!
As part of the program staff this week, I’ve gotten to have a perspective from the outside in watching our guys specifically navigate camp with campers who speak a totally different language from them. Most of them at the end of the first day were wondering how they were going to form relationships at all with the kids and their co-counselor but by the end of yesterday and especially today, they’ve seen a powerful God turn impossible things possible. All of them have very clear relationships with each of their campers. These guys (me included) are learning that we serve a big God and he takes time to not only give us glimpses of communication or relationship with these people, but sweet moments of emotional connection through simple things playing or laughing at the big white gringos.
Right now, I’m sitting in club listening to a beautiful presentation of the Gospel in a language I don’t understand. But I have full faith that our partners here in Peru, with a passion for Christian camping, like we do at Pine Cove, are committed to preaching the same Gospel that has saved each and every one of us on the team from Timbers. They have watched us as we do all the crazy things we do at camp in Texas here in Peru this week, like dancing at meal times, screaming at the top of our lungs when a piece of bamboo with different colored pipe cleaners decorating the length of it (our version of the Spirit Stick) is raised in the air, and rolling around on the ground like a “cucaracha” for our group game “El Capitán”. All the while we have shown them the different ways we do crazy things for the sake of breaking down walls and creating conversation points for the counselors and campers to talk about later. Some things (most things) surprised them and sometimes it took some warming up to, but they are understanding that the purpose behind the things we do is gospel-oriented and not just for nothing. We love Jesus and they love Jesus. We want these kids to know Jesus either for the first time or better than when they came in, and they want the same. We want to have fun (and trust me, WE ARE), and they are all about it as well. Our partnership with the Peruvian staff has bore much fruit and maybe we thought we were coming here to show “them” a lot of things that we know about camp and how to do it “right,” but more and more we are learning that we have a lot to learn and our Peruvian partners are a BIG part of that this week for us. God is moving in the hearts of the Peruvian staff and Peruvian children, in the hearts of us foreigners from America, and in the hearts of all his people in many different countries with many different cultures and many different languages. And although we may not know a lot, we can be sure of this: that “the gospel, which has come to [us], as indeed in the whole world…is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among [us], since the day [we] heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.” (Colossians 1:5-6).
Praise God for his Gospel and the truth of Jesus that bridges all barriers of language and culture and is uninhibited by man’s shortcomings. If there is one thing we have seen on this trip, it is that.
Looking forward to our last full day of camp tomorrow! Pray for our continued energy and patience and for sustained physical health! Pray also that these campers will clearly hear and perceive the truth of the Gospel presented to them tonight. Pray that they would understand that it applies in a very personal way to each of them. Thanks for keeping up with us this week and we are grateful for your prayers!