I realize it’s been 3 months since it was all said and done, but for a number of reasons, it has taken me this long to pause, reflect and comment. (I have some legit reasons like dengue fever and others not-so-legit, like procrastination and visits of friends!) But it’s good for me to remember, I need to remember, and so I write. I am realizing, that at this time of year it is especially important that I do, ‘cause life has slowed, and I find myself so… so short of breath, craving Gods purposes and significance ….inspiration. During the craziness of camp season year after year, the LORD’s call to me seems so loud, so clear, His purposes seem so much more obvious - like something breathed into me - and even as if some One else was doing the breathing… but these days in comparison, these days I feel like I need air.
I know I wrote about my fear before the season began, how would I do standing alongside, as others held the torch and carried the program? Would I be tempted to step on toes, and would i? Could I resist and keep an arms length, and yet still engage with my heart?
I remember the first week, it was the most painful, really. I remember escaping the first few mornings to ‘keep the dogs from interrupting staff devotions’ because sitting there, without a role of leadership felt awkward and uncomfortable. But towards the end of that week I began to feel less and less forlorn. Willian organized and gave leadership to the maintenance crew, and Johanna supported our dish-washers and junior counsellors so lovingly. As a team they maintained great communication with the directors and worked hard at peace-keeping and assisting wherever help was needed, motivating, pushing, and praying. It was actually a source of great joy for me to be available to the two of them as they extended their shoulders (ears, and hearts) to many others. I praise God for the confidence they felt in the task of shepherding the flock they had been entrusted, and indeed they did so, so effectively. They inspired.
Consequently, it became easy for me to spend my time keeping the books, working with Marlene to keep the kitchen stocked with food for our menu, and running to town for odds and ends for the program that had been forgotten by directors etc. When I wasn’t sitting on the little yellow 9 de marzo buses, to and fro from camp, I enjoyed popping in and out of the kitchen, to chop vegetables or wash dishes (though they never really needed my help). Marlene had her team of ladies to cook each week, and it was sheer pleasure to observe as she gave directions and empowered others to complete their tasks. Every lunchtime meal consisted of a huge big cauldron of soup, two enormous pots of rice, plus enough chicken or fish to satisfy anywhere between 130-190 people, depending on the given week.
What impacted me most, as a mostly silent observer, went beyond the miracle of serving up sufficient food at EVERY meal, though an impressive feat in and of itself. To this day what I remember is the energy with which these ladies served. On their feet from 5:30am until 9:00pm (with a 2 hour rest in the afternoon), slaving over large frying pans of plantain (in the 38’ heat of the day), or standing at the sink to peel 16 pounds of shrimp, or bending over to prepare 3 bucketfuls of fresh passion fruit juice, their job does not pretend to be the most demanding of the whole camp program. It just simply is. So what encouraged them?
I watched. I was a witness. Something moved them, invigorated, and motivated them. An influence that stirred and enlivened, roused energies first thing in the morning to make 350 cheese empanadas, and produced perseverance until the very last spoon had been washed, dried and stored in its Tupperware bin. Somebody, something, egging them on, inducing joy, affecting their pulse, and filling them with “ganas” to serve?
I’ve become convinced of the answer, and it’s pretty supernatural. It not only happened in the kitchen during those 5 weeks of the camp season, it happened in the cabins, it happened on the chapel stage, it happened in the volley-ball court, and all of life beyond camp holds the potential for this…
INSPIRATION. Spirit-filling: God breathing Himself into people, and people breathing HIM, HIS life, into what they do, and into the lives of others. Willian and Johanna, believing in, loving, pushing-proding, and giving of themselves, and Marlene, living, moving, and breathing the love she had for Him by filling empty stomachs. Their sacrificial service and God-given capacity at work did something - it inspired. Full to overflowing, and so sure of their purpose and calling and living it, they poured spirit - God’s Spirit - into life as they shared it with others. And that life-giving surge, hope and purpose from God Himself, motivated and gave life to others, who in turn served passionately and spread that same life to yet others…