Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Stuffy Christmas

Anothered scattered week for me as I try to catch up with everyone.  On Tuesday I said good bye to the Barakel people that had visited and then I left to take one of them home myself.  That lead to a whirlwind trip to St. Johns (through Holt and Haslett) where I was able to see some Barakel friends, and a Michigan Tech friend in the morning.  After that I hustled over to Ann Arbor on Wednesday morning and visited U of M.  I got to see a lot of the campus as well as visiting the tree that Tim Houston broke himself on last week.
I didn't stay there long because I had dinner plans in Battle Creek.  So in one day I started in St. Johns, drove to Ann Arbor, and eventually landed in Battle Creek.  Over this one trip I was able to see people from the most important parts of my life (High School, College, and Barakel).  From December 8th through the 22nd I've put a solid 650 miles on the car, and it'll be another 600 miles by the time I return if everything goes as planned.  While driving I've seen some interesting things, but this house that took up most of two lanes was definitely the most interesting.
I spent the rest of the week in Battle Creek.  I had a blast playing volleyball with some folks from Riverwalk church and my Dad.  They've been a joy every time I've returned from camp, always ready to catch up and hear how the work is going at camp. I also went shopping with my Floridian friends, the Knapp's.  It's neat to see them so much over 2 weeks like this.  While at Barnes and Noble I found a weird book with "tickle fingers" included.  I thought I'd try them on and the Cuddle Monster came out for bit.
Christmas Eve is always busy for me.  I went to my church for a communion service and then attended Midnight Mass at St Philip Catholic Church.  I'm not Catholic, but the service is very a very sobering yet joyful presentation.  They have a small orchestra and choir that always does a great job.  Maybe because we stayed out so late, or maybe because of all my traveling I ended up waking up sick on Christmas morning.  Me and Mom slept in til after 10am and I personally spent most of the day lounging around and resting.

So I'm looking forward to getting rid of this runny nose before the New Year rolls around.  I would honestly rather be sick now instead of at camp where I would want to be working.  Here I can rest most of the day and not feel too bad.  We'll be hosting campers at Camp Barakel in less than 2 weeks and I'm already started to get excited.  It's good God glorifying work that impacts the lives of our campers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Travels Continue

After returning from Florida this week, it's been a bit of a whirlwind trip across the state.  I was able to spend some quality time sledding, which is definitely one of my favorite activities of the winter and one that I've been looking forward to for months.  Thanks to friends in Rochester that have some of the best hills I've seen since Michigan Tech.  From Detroit I headed over to Lansing for two Camp Barakel events.

First we had the STEP Reunion (Summer Tech and Engineer Program) where we're able to hang out with some of the high school kids that help camp make it through the summer.  Not only does their time at camp support our efforts to spread the Gospel, it also helps them develop work ethic and to learn more about what God can do through them.  The next day we went met with the mostly college aged summer staff.
Over the summer our free time always goes "clean, move, play", but at the Barakel Bash we are able to eat, play, and sing.  It's a great time to maintain the fellowship that we develop throughout the summer.  During the Bash we play games in the gym, meet people from other years, reconnect with resident staff members, sing songs from the summer, and generally encourage one another.  I know I was really looking forward to it and I was not disappointed.
After the Bash some people were able to join me in Battle Creek and we kind of extended the Bash with movies, cards, and we even did some skating.  One of Battle Creek's supposed claims to fame is the International Festival of Lights.  It used to be a huge thing when I was a kid, or it seemed like it at least.  Now many of the displays are falling apart and it's not in the state I remember it.  While walking through town we enjoyed many of the lights they have around camp, and we even got a chance to talk to some of the people that put it together.  They explained that the lights are being replaced with LED lights, and it looks like the Festival will be improving over the next years.

So the lights were fun to check out, and we were able to see how the city is doing.  This break has been a rush and it's going to continue like that for the rest of the Holiday season.  Thanks for following, and have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Freezing Florida

Two of my friends from Battle Creek moved down to Florida about 3 years ago.  They've offered to put me up whenever I can make it into Jacksonville, and I've taken them up on that 3 times now.  This week is the 4th trip down to Florida.  Someone pointed out cheap tickets, so I purchased one and headed down.
For the first few days I spent a lot of time relaxing at the house while Steve and Jen worked at their school a couple blocks away.  I spent a fair amount of time reading on the new porch they've added since my last visit.  I was also able to help out with Steve's junior high soccer team.  After the Barakel fun run last week my legs were still pretty sore, and these junior high schoolers took advantage.  Part of helping the team out was watching their game on Friday night.  These talented kids mercied the other team 8-0 in the first half, and that's with most of their players pulled back onto defense.  It's fun to see these skilled kids dominating, but also just having fun playing the sport they like.
The temperature was fairly cold, but not anything like what Michigan has been experiencing this week.  So we made our way around town.  We played disc golf, ate at some fine dining establishments, attended their church, and then Steve had a special surprise for me Sunday afternoon.  I didn't know it, but he'd been planning to take me to a Jaguars game.  So after finding tickets online we ran over to pick them up, then hustled over to the game just a couple minutes into the first quarter.  It's been a long time goal of mine to see a game of each of the 4 major leagues.  I've been to several Red Wings games, a couple of Pistons games, and a Tigers game.  The game was fantastic with lots of scoring and it wasn't decided until the last minute.
It's been a good trip to Florida and we still have a couple more days, but I am looking forward to seeing some snow in Michigan.  Hopefully we'll get another round of disc golf in, and some more practices with the soccer team.  Thanks for following, and I look to seeing many of you over the next couple weeks!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Camp and Campers

So we're coming to the end of the year here at Camp Barakel.  The maintenance department has been punching out projects left and right.  This week alone we've worked on grouting the stone in Crosscut, rebuilding the Boeve's garage door, chainsaw maintenance, and some updates to one of the boxes we store wood in.  The work is good, but it sure has been cold outside.
Speaking of the cold, it's been bitterly cold up here the last couple days.  This morning on the way to church the car said it was 24 degrees outside.  On top of the cold we've gotten a little bit of snow that translated into a sheet of ice on the roads around here.  That led to one of the camp men sliding his camp truck into a tree.  Another guy, Dave Douglas, organized a fun run from Fairview into camp.  We had 4 people from camp run about 6 miles in the chilly weather for what was an average time of an hour.  On top of that we had one other adventure.  Titus Brown has wanted to get into the icy water for some time so he decided the first day of real snow on the first day of December would be a good opportunity to get in the water.

I'll be saying goodbye to camp on Tuesday for about a month.  I'm really looking forward to seeing some campers at camp when I return in January.  Walking through the West Side Dining Hall has been where I've really been missing the campers.  It's a reminder that all the work we've been doing since November is all an effort to prepare for spreading the Gospel to our campers.  So the work continues here, even as the snow starts falling and the temperature takes a bitter turn.

Thanks for following!