This is the final Boot Camp semi-weekly report as the team only has one more training day remaining and four short days before Commissioning. This week they continued in their phonics classes where they learned unique ways to teach English alphabet sounds. They also delved into special project training, learning how to accurately select the correct reading glass prescription, even when the patient cannot speak English (and a translator is not available). The team also learned advanced evangelism techniques, which are based on Scripture, historical and observational science, and logic. Finally, they toured the tabernacle replica here at Teen Missions-an experience which is educational, inspiring, and exceedingly exceptional. Boot Camp is expanding today as the 2nd Boot Camp arrives and the teens are astonished at how clean and confused they appear. Ironically, it was just 10 short days ago that they too were stepping off a TMI bus or waving goodbye to their families wondering “what am I doing here?” The team is excited as Commissioning approaches and we all move one step closer to beginning our mission in Zambia. Our travel goals are to safely and efficiently arrive in Zambia (with all luggage and on time-Lord permitting). Also, many team members are anxious to see their loved ones in four short days.
Madeline Bare – I’m so excited that Boot Camp is almost over!! Just because I’m a Former Team Member doesn’t mean Boot Camp is any less challenging for me. However, this year has been much more emotionally and spiritually challenging versus last year and taking more of a physical toll. Within the past week and a half, the Lord has repaired and restored emotional damage that I didn’t expect to be healed for years. I have realized the faults in my faith and I am disciplining myself to grow closer to Him daily. As challenging, hot and draining Boot Camp is, it is 100% worth spreading the Gospel of Christ. On that note I cannot wait to travel to Africa and minister to the Zambian people.
Reid Billing – When I got out of the air-conditioned car into hot, muggy Merritt Island on a Sunday morning, I wanted to get back in the car and go home. I was scared to death and wondering what I was doing here. Fast forward after hours and I was trotting all over camp trying to keep up with my long-legged Assistant Male Leader, Josh, taking mental notes on how to flush with a bucket and how to keep my tent clean. Again, I wondered what in the world am I doing here. God was already strengthening me and pushing me way outside my comfort zone. Sometime on Monday night or Tuesday morning I pulled my Achilles tendon. For the first three days I was in a lot of pain. I had to learn really quickly how to dig deep and find that new source of strength that I didn’t know I had. Every breath was a prayer that I could make it to the next class. The next Sunday, my head leader, Pam, who is a RN, found me a medical boot and a pair of crutches and I felt so much better. I have learned a lot more through a pulled tendon than I ever thought I could. I learned when to listen to my body and ask for help when I needed it and to dig deep and push on. I have learned to lean on God and ask Him for help while my crutches slide and sink in the mud from the daily rain showers. It is amazing how when I got here all I wanted to do was go home, but now I really don’t want to leave. I have met so many cool people from all over, all of whom have a powerful fire for God and want to see the world change just like me. I was reminded of my favorite verse Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” I am so excited to be able to live out that verse with so many amazing kids! Go Zambia!
Emma Blatchley – When I started looking online for something to do during the summer, I was set on going sailing. I wanted to be either a Marine Biologist or a nurse. It turned out that I wanted to be a nurse more than a Marine Biologist. I found the PERFECT trip with Teen Missions! It was the eyeglass and medical trip! Perfect right? I heard a lot of bad things about Boot Camp and how hard it was. I was convinced it wouldn’t be that difficult…Well I was so so wrong! When I stepped out of the Teen Missions bus, it was hot, humid and I knew I would hate Boot Camp. I hated not being able to take a shower and having to wash my clothes in a bucket. Once I got into the rhythm of things, I never wanted to leave! I love having quiet time in the morning and worshipping God at the most random of times! Boot Camp is REALLY difficult, I’ve learned more here than I have in my lifetime of being a Christian. You grow so extremely close to people and most importantly God!
Kayla Holley – Spiritual warfare at the Lord’s Boot Camp (and everywhere) is a very real thing. The first few days of Boot Camp, homesickness engulfed me, I was anxious and couldn’t eat without being sick, and I wanted nothing more than to go home. The Devil had me convinced that I was never supposed to come and that I NEEDED to spend the summer with my family. Unfortunately, I didn’t know it was the Devil and I believed every word. But the Lord showed me through His word and my awesome leaders that the Devil was indeed attacking me. Once the Lord helped me realize that, He helped me depend wholly on Him and His will for my life this summer. Through Jesus, peace and joy my soul is now at rest in God’s purpose for this summer. Psalm 126:5-“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bring his sheaves with him.”
McKayla Patrick – God is doing amazing things here at Boot Camp! The best way to explain it is to say that God wrecked my world. He turned my whole perspective on its head. No longer could I thing about myself but I must constantly be relying on the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Mara Seat – Personally, Boot Camp was really, really difficult the first few days. Just the mixture of really feeling Satan telling me to give up, having more running and blisters than I have ever had and being homesick all at once was a little traumatizing. I have never been away from my parents and close friends for more than a week, and the thought of being away for two months is really scary. But knowing I’ve desired to go to Zambia since Kindergarten, and knowing this is really God’s will for me encouraged me to keep going. I’ve learned this through prayer and how powerful prayer really is. One day during devotionals, God sent me to Romans. Romans 5:3-4 says “And not only that, but we also REJOICE in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character and proven character produces hope.” This really encouraged me to keep going, and every time I felt discouraged, I cling to the fact that I am in the center of God’s will and I can provide hope to the people of Zambia. Being without my everyday belongings at home rally makes me thankful for everything I have and I can learn how to depend solely on God without distractions. I’m very thankful for the relationships I’m making and the changes in my heart.
Justin Sharp – The Lord’s Boot Camp is a very powerful place. Spiritually speaking, this is not a big surprise as the average teen here loves the Lord enough to spend their summer spreading His word. To help this, they have a motivational speaker and a worship band each evening without fail. There is also an Obstacle Course which is fun, yet a little difficult, to run. It helps us develop a sense of teamwork and unity. Overall Boot Camp is a very enjoyable place to be (once you get used to tents, bugs, and bucket baths that is).