Sunday, December 30, 2012

Camp Chronicles

It’s called a camp when you go to the wilderness, sleep in tents and (maybe) have overnight campfires with open roasts and cooked up tales. We have savoured none of these choice luxuries at the just concluded youth camp (Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th December 2012 at Nyadero Primary School).

We slept in classrooms, not tents; for bedding we spread reed mats on a hard concrete floor. It took me a while to decide that sleep was even possible. Even the weather militated against a good night’s rest: the rain fell exclusively at night; water leaked through holes in the rusty corrugated iron roof and torrents poured in through gaping glass-free windows. And just when one was getting the hang of this sleep thing, the camp bell rang well before the crack of dawn. (I had a mind to go home after the first totally drenched night but something told me to endure.) And the food was not exactly five-star fare. Consider this: for a whole week’s diet, twenty-six of us (my contingent) spent around seven thousand shillings total. So you can picture the Spartan situation. Fortunately we didn’t skip a meal and yet still had five shillings left over. Five bob change! Economies of scale are a miracle!

Eventually, despite these seeming setbacks, the overall experience was worth the minor discomforts. The camp program, the whole raison d’être, from the second hour of daylight to the third hour of night, was the redeeming factor. Between songs by talented youth choirs, we heard courageous teachers of the Word who were not afraid to offend. Yes, offend – that’s what the truth does if you aren’t straight with it. They also managed to be witty and informative while we delved into the puzzling and ponderous matters of Biblical prophecy, of visions of beasts with multiple heads. God willing, I will share some of those teachings on this blog. We also sang a lot, I love to sing – hymns, choruses, songs.

There was soccer in the evenings to look forward to. As regular readers should know by now, this was a major plus for me. I scored all of four goals, making me unofficial top scorer (applauds self), though it figures, since I was the only one with studded boots on a muddy pitch full of barefoot opponents (the rain, remember?) However, tragedy struck: I missed the “final match” on Thursday due to absence though my side still won the match.

The camp’s social scene was a refreshing change for me. The presence of a whole bunch of like-minded youths infuses the environment with palpable energy. Typically I squandered the opportunity to get to know some good beautiful people and maybe take their numbers.

There were many little ones who liked me. It’s easy to like them but it’s really hard when the children like you. They do not get tired of playing and climbing all over you and parroting your name and testing your intelligence/patience just to see how ”philanthropic” you are. Lesson learnt: good parenting = nerves of steel. Can I hack it? I don't know.

As we cleared the "campsite" this morning it occurred to me that the opportunity to spend a whole week immersed in the Word of GOD is a rare privilege nowadays. Already we are hearing of people in the US who are arrested and tried in court for holding Bible studies in their own houses. Religious freedom as we enjoy today is fading away as the end times dusk sets in. We best make use of whatever remains of it – these are “the things that belong to our peace” that we take for granted; the water that we only miss when the well runs dry. I say this because:

AMOS 8:11-12 

“Behold, the days come”, saith the Lord God, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

LUKE 19:41-44 

And when he (Jesus) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

ISAIAH 55:6

Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.

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