Monday, June 28, 2010

The Camper Life for ME! Turkey Week 1

I can’t believe I’ve already been at camp one week! We are having an absolute blast and time is flying! The kids at this camp are so incredible. They come from all different backgrounds, speak multiple languages, have lived in multiple countries and they have their own unique sub-culture that I am fascinated by! I feel like they have so much to teach this small town Oklahoma girl!

My girls, 11-12th graders, are so much fun. They have been sharing their hearts and lives with me this past week during Bible study and cabin time and I just love seeing God work in their young, but bold hearts. It’s truly refreshing to be reminded of pure, young, untainted love for God. I’ve been able to share my heart and life with them as well, giving them comfort and wisdom from my life experiences thus far. I’ve also been able to have some deep conversations with a girl who is really seeking and desiring God’s presence and I ask that you join me in praying for her over the next week that God would do a great work in her heart and life!

The longer I’m here, the more I feel that in some way, I am meant to be a lifelong camper. I have seen God and felt His strong presence so much each day. I love being removed normal life and being thrust into daily worship, scripture, fun, games, nature, relationships with other god-fearing men and women and oh, did I mention fun?!?

That’s right, here at Olive Grove they sure know how to have a good time! I see why kids have been coming back year after year!

Wednesday night we hiked up to the Eternal Flames. They are naturally occurring methane gas fires that are on top of a mountain that have been burning since prehistoric times! They were so incredible – talk about God’s wondrous creation! We did our nightly talk and worship on top of the mountains and treated the kids to American s’mores (they don’t have marshmallows in Turkey)!

Thursday I went hiking with the youth through the mountains to a cove in the sea where there’s a huge jumping rock and we jumped off the rock and then swam back to camp! I was WIPED after that! Always look forward to SIESTA time each day! And last night the counselors were treated to a birthday bash complete with Turkish versions of American snacks (i.e., Taco and Olive flavored Doritios and Pop Keks – like Hostess cupcakes, peanut butter – I’ve been DYING without this, and Nutella!) We were some pretty happy campers, lol! We topped off the night with a hedgehog sighting and a midnight beach stroll to see the sea turtles lay eggs.

Friday was the trip down to Olympos where there are beautiful beaches and an ancient pirate castle ruins. We took the kids hiking and then found another HUGE jumping rock!

God is certainly alive and moving here. Saturday some of the campers left and a new batch arrived (some stay 2 weeks). I cherish every moment of each day here. And honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Sunday we took the kids out on a boat trip on the Mediterranean Sea. We rented 4 huge boats and cruised to different swimming and jumping and cave exploring sites and spent the whole day on the water. Funny story…right after getting on the boat, I took my backpack off and it fell off the boat into the sea!!! I was obviously freaked out b/c there were a few cameras in there! However, miraculously, my backpack floated on it’s back and the only things that got wet were the towels and a book. But the funniest part was when it went overboard, so did I! I didn’t fall in, but I heaved my body over and made people hold onto my ankles while I stretched down the length of the boat to retrieve it – could have just jumped in and made it easier on myself, lol! But everyone got a good laugh, so I guess it was all worth it!

I ask you to join me in praying for each of the children to experience God personally before leaving camp and that we counselors and kids have energy for another action packed week. Also, an update on Joel (my friend's son) – he woke up from his coma last week and is talking and doing well. Not sure now of long-term effects, but this is a huge answered prayer!!! Thanks for tagging along on this incredible journey.

PS. A few things I’ve learned:
Togs = swimsuit (New Zealand)
Jandals = flip flops (New Zealand)
¼ tea to ¾ water for Turkish Cay (chai)
Turks don’t use ice ☹
It’s totally normal to eat ice cream every day!
Peanut butter (my fave food) is a rarity, but I found some!
I can float and swim forever in the Mediterranean - gotta love salty water!


Jen said...

I love the updates! Keep them coming. Sounds like you're having an amazing time. Love,

Kim said...

Wow, it sounds awesome, Michelle. You are a blessing to those girls! I miss you.

Kristin said...

Hi there! I just stumbled across your blog, and WOW! What amazing adventures you're having! I have to say I'm slightly jealous b/c I'm currently fascinated w/ Mediterranean culture, scenery, and FOOD! Guess I'll have to live vicariously through you :-) I loved your profile. I can relate to it completely. Especially the meaningful relationship part. So sad they are hard to find (at least in my corner of the world) - it's one of the reasons I begun blogging - to connect with people. I have to say, I've made some amazing friends through this medium! Anyway, it was nice to meet you! I'll look forward to following your journeys, and maybe getting to know you better too! ~Kristin from Windy Poplars