The last few days have been a whirlwind, not just of actives, but also of emotions.
When you see this group of teenagers interact with other, it is very hard to believe that they have known each other only a few days—it feels like they have been together for months. They truly care about each other, show compassion and empathy, help each other more than any teens you’ve ever seen, and they are not afraid to be open and vulnerable with each other, and talk about the things that are really weighing on their hearts.
At the end of the rally last night, we had an activity where the put issues on the cross of Christ that keep them from living fully in Him, and then we shared in the group what those things were. There were some really tough topics brought up that brought the group to tears (even the boys) and we laid hands on our teammates, comforted them and prayed our hearts out over them.
In the everyday Boot Camp struggles, they are there for each other, whether it is Gabby spending 15 minutes to do foot care on Daniel’s blisters or Garrison helping bathe Sam’s feet, Bohdan giving haircuts, or Riley and Josiah ever so patiently encouraging the slower team members on the Obstacles Course when carrying the rear flag—this team just sees a need and meets it without hesitation.
Zoe had made beautiful wooden necklaces for the whole team, and we are all wearing them, with Africa on our hearts. She made them in different colors with different types of wood, and the ones with a light colored Africa have Malawi marked. The whole team loves their pendants, boys and girls alike. So this was another thing that helped to fuse our team together—thank you, Zoe!
The one area where they have some growing to do is in the cleanliness area, but man, have they shown us that they are willing and eager to learn! On Sunday we were given the Piggy “award” for the messiest team (which meant we were cleaning the bathroom instead of getting free time time in the afternoon), and the very next day on Monday we tied for first place in cleanliness!! Unfortunately, the tie was resolved with rock-paper-scissors and we lost that, so we did not get to go into the pool.
Some of the boys have a lot to learn about laundry. Let me share the leaders’ highlight of a day at the laundry lake:
Two tent mates are doing laundry together:
Boy 1: “We have 5 minutes left. Should we start washing our clothes?”
Boy 2: “Ok, which bucket should we put the soap in?”
Boy 1: “My bucket has some soap and 2 dead fish in it, so we can use that – yours can be the rinse.”
(also see picture for their clothesline – yes, they fixed that before the Miss Piggy inspection 😉 )
The team is showing awesome teamwork on the Obstacle Course (OC), and promptly won first place on Monday (yes, Monday was a glorious day for our team!).
Tuesday we had kitchen patrol (KP), so we didn’t run the OC that day, much to the relief of our “blister buddies”. The group did a wonderful job in the serving line, dish line, washing kitchen dishes, and cleaning the food area. The kitchen staff were very impressed with our eager team, and the leaders didn’t really have to supervise much at all, the kids had it all under control. The blister buddies (as they dubbed themselves) got to go to a special blister clinic that the nurse held and got expert treatment on their feet, so they’re already doing much better today.
Our classes this week are Puppets, including the matching choreography for the kids that will be doing songs with hand motions next to the puppet stage, Phonics (so we can teach the kids in Malawi a little bit of reading and writing), Drama (they are really enjoying that) and Music (they sound great together, and we’ll be doing a lot more singing after mealtimes to get our songs memorized. They are doing pretty good at putting together a little evangelism program that involves all these things.
The team took a little bit to get into the swings of things at Puppets, but today they did really well with a really difficult and fast song (Clap, Clap, Clap).
In Drama they look really good and are having a great time.
One of the highlights for the boys was their attempt to get the old water pump in our tent site working. They weren’t successful (it had been out of order for years), but they had such a great time trying to prime the pump and get it going. Lots of laughter in the darkness!
Right now, if you listened closely you can hear them yelling and screaming in the background as they’re competing against the Zimbabwe Footwashing team in “Run from the Devil”, a giant inflatable wall that they run up on.
Please don’t forget to look for us on the webcast of the evening rallies – our team is stage right, about halfway back.
The kids really enjoy getting your mail and emails, so keep them coming.
Ok, Rally time, gotta go. Greetings from all your kids, they send their love!