Click HERE for the Instagram photo feed. (Some pictures from last year are toward the end.)
Day 4: Tears, Tracks and OMC (but not in that order)
This one will be a quick post today. Time is limited so I’ll hit the highlights. I have so much to say about this week, but specifically today. I wish I had two hours to sit down and put this week into words.
Today the kids focused on how God restores. Their Bible study for today was the story of the paralytic man that Jesus healed (Mark 2).
The Reed’s Quest move of the day was called “agility.” It is a side to side motion that helps the gamer dodge things that are thrown at them. When the adults (big bosses) say the word “Tactic”, the kids are supposed to move side to side.
There was a lot of excitement in the air today because this is OMC day. The campus is very bright with all the red, blue, green, yellow and orange shirts walking around and Jeff had a little extra shine in his eye. Each team was well represented. OMC stands for “Organized Mass Chaos” and that is pretty much what it looks like. To start off OMC, each team performs the cheer that they have been learning all week. All the cheers were great this year, but the Red team won the cheer contest to earn their team several points (coins) for the week. In the game of OMC, each team competes to see who can perform the most tasks. A task card could ask you to do any number of things from popping a water balloon over your head to swapping shoes with someone. Once you complete your task, you drop the card in your team’s bucket and the grab another one. Whichever team has the most cards is the winner. This year the Blue team won OMC and earned their team some points. We will find out today which team has the most points for the week. It’s been a tight race so far.
OMC is a time for the kids to get pumped up about being at camp and have some fun. As you will see in some of the pictures below, the kids and adults get a little crazy with their outfits. We didn’t know it until today, but this year Fredonia had a mystery guest…Captain OMC made an appearance! I would love to say much more about this, but I have to move on. I will let the pictures and slideshow on Sunday speak for itself.
On Monday night, Jeff asked us to write out a prayer request and place it in a bag. We have prayed over that bag all week. Some prayers have already been answered this week and I can’t wait to see how God answers the others. These prayers will continued to be prayed over until CentriKid 2015.
Tonight in church group time it was very emotional. The kids shared what they had learned from the week. Our church staffer, Aleah, shared her testimony with the group. The tears started to flow when it came to ‘graduation time’, when Jeff made his presentation to our graduates of the Fredonia Children’s Ministry…Chandler, Kelsey, Hayes, Madison and Hailey. Jeff presented Chandler with an orange OMC t-shirt signed by everyone on the trip. We’ve absolutely loved having Chandler and Mrs. Sandra with us at camp over the last four years. They will certainly be missed in our church family. Jeff presented the other four graduates with a devotion book. Lots of tears of joy were shed by a lot of people. I have been involved in the lives of these kids ever since they were babies. I have watched them grow physically and spiritually. It’s exciting to see them continue that path to Christian maturity as they move from the Children’s Ministry into the Youth Ministry. I know each of them have a bright future ahead of them.
There were other spiritual decisions made last night that we are so excited about. You will be hearing more about that on Sunday. God has moved in so many ways this week. I know the kids have certainly felt His presence and I can only pray that they will take a portion of the “camp feeling” back into their normal daily lives. As an adult, I can certainly say that the devotions and time alone with God has taught me things and I’m in a better place leaving that I was when I arrived.
Friday is another busy day! We have to pack and have our luggage on the trailer before 7:15, then breakfast. We will have a closing celebration (“I Can’t Wait”) and then we will head home. We will stop at Chick-fil-a in Leeds for lunch and then on to Fredonia. Please keep us in your prayers today as we travel.
Mrs. Rose has been Chandler’s best buddy this week.
He’s always wanted to be a rock star.
Cody and Beth figured this OMC thing out.
Red team did well today. Love these kids!
Chandler received an Orange Team OMC shirt signed by the Fredonia Crew
Our graduates that are moving on to Youth! (tear)
Day 3: Word of the day: Reconciliation….
We started out Day 3 with breakfast at our normal 7:15 AM time slot. For some reason the breakfast lines have been really long this year. It usually takes about 15 minutes or so to get from beginning to end. The breakfast has been just as good this year as previous years. Today we had fried chicken patties and eggs. I found out that chicken patties are one of Jeff’s favorites.
After breakfast, the kids found their spots for quiet time. Mr. Jackie has been in charge of keeping the kids straight when it comes to quiet time. He told them Monday night that he wanted them to take it seriously and not rush through it. When he came out of the cafeteria this morning, expecting to find them gathered around the poly-pong table, he found that most of the boys had already found a secluded spot and were already having their quiet time!
This part of camp is one of the things that is most special for me. I remember when Hayes started four years ago…I had a big group of boys and I led them through the devotions each morning. I watched over the years how Hayes and the others have learned to do it all by themselves. Sometimes we find the older kids helping out the younger ones. It’s really great to walk out in the morning and see the kids serious about studying God’s Word and prayer time.
During our “I Can’t Wait” assembly this morning, we learned another game skill to help our host for the week fix the Reed’s Quest game. Today we learned the “double jump” skill. This requires the help of another individual. This skill is used when you need to jump a great distance in order to clear a big obstacle. You grab another player by the wrist. One player jumps and then the other player jumps with the help of the first player slinging them. We learned in worship tonight how to apply that to our spiritual lives. We learned that some obstacles in life can’t be overcome on our own. We can only do it with the help of Jesus. When we rely on Jesus, we can overcome big obstacles.
The kids had their track times at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 and then at 4:30 we made a mad dash to get the kids into their swim suits and down to the lake by 4:45. Everything worked out. Not everybody wanted to swim so I think we ended up with around 30 kids and adults from our group in the lake. The lake is lots of fun. They have big obstacles and jumping things to play on. The kids always have a lot of fun trying to climb up the obstacles.
Today the kids learned about the word “reconciliation” during Bible Study, recreation, track time and our church Bible study. Beth Matlock led us in Bible Study tonight. She shared that she was saved at Shocco Springs on a Wed night (4th of July week) when she attended a youth camp here. She shared with us from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. The word “reconciled” appears in those verses about five times! She discussed with the kids that reconciled means to be “made right with.” She challenged the kids to consider if they are right with God this week. She closed out by showing us in the last part of those verses where it says that, as Christians, it is our duty to have a ministry of reconciliation. We should not be satisfied that we are right with God, but we should be showing others how to be right with God as well.
God is moving in the hearts of children here at CentriKid this week. We heard this morning from an adult leader from another group that said one of her girls said she was homesick and after talking to her found that it was the Holy Spirit dealing with her. That young lady was saved. In our own group I know God is working. We had one young lady rededicate her life tonight and I’m sure there are others that are closer to God now than they have been in a long time. Keep praying for us.
After our church Bible Study, we played for a while and waited for the pizza to arrive. Pizza night is always a kid (and adult) favorite. I think some of the kids eat chicken strips on the first night and then wait until pizza night for their next meal! No, I haven’t seen anyone walking around hungry. We had to eat quick because a storm was blowing up. We all made it to our rooms before the bottom fell out.
There is lots in store for Day 4! We have more Bible stories and worship, but today is also OMC day! The kids love getting dressed up in their team colors (3rd grade-yellow, 4th grade – green, 5th grade-blue and 6th grade red) and getting messy. I think the weather is supposed to cooperate too. It’s supposed to be around the mid 80’s which will be a nice change. Pray for us today because, even though the Gospel has been presented all week, it always seems the kids wait and make their decisions public on Thursday night. It’s always a tear-filled, joyful night!
We had lots of Fredonia kids on stage today!
Day 2: continued…Birthdays, Exodus and Bazooka Balls…oh my
As I mentioned in a previous post, this year’s theme (Reset: God Redeems) is centered on video games. For the daily skit, we are following the story of an interesting young lady that is the niece of a man that owns a video arcade, CentriKid Arcade. There is an old game in the arcade called “Reed’s Quest” that is broken and her uncle has challenged her to fix it. We are learning the things that we need to know to fix the game. Each day the kids have been taught a new skill. The first skill was how to jump. The kids are supposed to jump whenever an adult says the word “Beta.” (I haven’t seen it work yet.) The skill we learned today was smash. When an adult says “turbo”, the CentriKidder is supposed to throw an “air punch” in a smashing motion. We have used both of these new skills to get us through a couple of obstacles in the broken game of Reed’s Quest. I’m sure we will learn another interesting skill at our next gathering.
On Day 2 of Bible Study, the kids learned about the Israelites’ Exodus and the Passover. They learned that even though the Israelites messed up over and over again that God was still willing to forgive. This was a topic that was discussed in depth at both of their Bible studies today, in worship and in our small group time with our church.
This was the first full day that the kids were able to experience what camp is really like. The weather was nice today. The sun has been shining, but there has been plenty of clouds to give us a break as well. The temp hung around the 90 degree mark. Most of our kids mixed it up with some indoor (air-conditioned) and some outdoor tracks, but we have a couple of kids that have all outdoor activities. I’m sure they were thinking is was a “hot 90 degrees” by the time supper rolled around.
The tracks are a lot of fun, but they are used to reinforce what the kids are learning in Bible Study. Beth “birthday girl” Matlock assisted with the volleyball track and she was telling me how well the staffer did at teaching the kids volleyball skills and relating it to something Biblical. Beth said that they would learn a skill and then go sit in the shade (it was really hot standing in the sun) and talk about how that skill could relate to the Bible story for the day. Good stuff. There are lots of tracks going on this week such as: archery, baseball, football, tennis, wet-n-wild, drama, sign language, kitchen chaos and many, many more that I’ll never remember off the top of my head.
At the Day 2 worship (7:00 PM), our camp pastor talked about the Israelites and how excited and happy they were when they were free. We read John 1:29 and then we talked about the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:14-19) and how its purpose is to help us remember the shedding of Jesus’ blood and the breaking of his body. The pastor reminded us that the shedding of his blood was a covering for us just like the lamb’s blood on the doorposts of the Israelites was a covering for their household. The lamb’s blood covering the doorpost protected the Israelites and the lamb’s blood (Jesus) cover us protects us.
After worship, we went to our small group church time and Cody Matlock talked about how, just like the Israelites were captive to the Egyptians, we were all born captive to sin. Cody reminded us that Jesus willingly died to have a relationship with us. He told the kids that camp is supposed to be fun and exciting. That’s to be expected….but how much more exciting could it be to walk away from camp “free”.
Jeff asked the adults to stay in the room while the kids left on a secret mission. We had a surprise birthday party (and cake) for our birthday girl. She received a Shocco Springs T-shirt signed by our entire group. We have tried our best to make this week special for Beth. She has been a celebrity around camp. Everywhere she goes, people wishes her a Happy Birthday.
After cake time, we played Bazooka ball. This is sort of like paint ball, but the guns shoot nerf-like balls instead. There are obstacles to hide behind as you try to take down your opponents. This is usually a highlight of the week for the kids. It’s a lot of fun.
There is lots in store for Day 3: breakfast at 7:15, Opening Celebration, Bible Studies, Rec, Tracks and tomorrow we go play in the lake. Thanks for all of your prayers for the group this week!
Beth was a celebrity today. This was right before “Hap-hap-happy birthday”
We had lots of Fredonia kids on stage today.
Adam bunting in the baseball track
Anna channeling her inner Katniss.
This is our staffer, Aleah and possibly the only posed picture I’ll ever get of Skylar.
Birthday girl and her t-shirt signed by our group.
Day 2: Getting the day started
The first full day of camp is in full swing. We started the day with breakfast at 7:15 AM and then quiet time. During quiet time, the kids get in small groups and work through a devotion guide. It’s an awesome thing to see kids leading each other through the morning devotion. At 8:30 AM, we headed to the worship center for “I Can’t Wait…”. This is a high energy way to start your day. We sang, played a few games and sang Hap-Hap-Happy Birthday to our birthday girl, Beth Matlock. The kids were dismissed for recreation time and Bible Study and the adults stayed for a great time of worship. The camp pastor read several chapters from Psalms and Austin led us in some great worship music. More on that later.
We are now getting ready for lunch….stay posted.
Day 1: Continued….Bible Study
I (Drew) was fortunate to be able to lead the Day 1 Bible Study in our small group church time. I had a great time preparing the lesson and I thought it was a really great topic. This week at camp, the theme is all about video games. The focus is on how no matter what we do in life, our life can be “reset” with a relationship with Jesus. We talked about how life is a lot like a video game:
- Everybody starts out the same. If you are familiar with Mario Bros. (video game) or really most any other video game you can think of, that everybody that picks up the controller starts out the same. You typically have no special “skills”, extra lives or anything else that sets you apart from anybody else.
- There are temptations. In video games, there are always goals or prizes hanging out there that tempt you to try to get them even though is might cost you your life. Sometimes we can try to get those things, but we fall (maybe into lava). Life is full of temptations that cause us to fall.
- There is a time limit. I know with Mario Bros. you only get a certain amount of time. You can’t just stand at the beginning of the level and not do anything because when the time has run out you die and you’ve accomplished nothing. In life, we all have time limits; some longer than others. If we don’t move from where we are, then we will have accomplished nothing when the time runs out.
- Lots of goals and achievements. The ultimate goal for a gamer is to “beat the game”; to beat every level, collect all the coins, see the credits roll. There are lots of goals in life as well. Some of them result in rewards.
We read Genesis 3:1-7 about how Adam and Eve were tempted and fell. They messed up, but that wasn’t the end of the story. God offered a “reset” through his Son Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Just like when you go to Chuck-e-cheese, win a bunch of tickets and REDEEM them for a prize, Christ died on the cross and He REDEEMED us….he paid the price and He won the prize. What’s the prize? It’s us. He desired to have a relationship with us so much that he paid the price of his life. That’s a humbling thought. We finished by reading Philippians 2:5-11.
Day 1: A Great Week Ahead!
We had a great first day at CentriKid 2014! The day started out with the 8:30 AM meet-up at the church for the traditional “group shot in front of the bus.” We pulled out of the parking lot a little after 9:00 and we were CentriKid bound. Thankfully, we had a very uneventful trip over this year. All of the wheels on the bus (and trailer) kept going “round and round” as you would hope they would (read last year’s blog if you don’t remember that reference).
We arrived at camp and were greeted with camp staffers full of excitement, waving pool noodles and high fiving the kids. I’m sure some of the third graders (newbies) were starting to wonder what they had gotten themselves into. The kids unloaded and were given their purple “Game Reset” camp t-shirts. Then it was time for the big moment…the moment the kids have been waiting for since December….room assignments! The kids couldn’t wait to find out who they would be spending the week with. I saw lots of smiles from the boys and heard several squeals of joy from the girls so I think everyone walked away happy. We unloaded the luggage and left to lay claim to the “best” bed and which corner of the room would belong to who.
I learned several things from getting the boys settled. I learned that Adam Conlee brought lots of caps to camp (one for every day I believe). I learned that labeling iphone charges was high on the priority list for most preteens. Weston taught me that if I stack the suit cases just right that I can balance my drink directly in front of the air conditioner blower and keep my drink cool. I also learned that having a “real key” is WAY better than those old fashioned credit card keys.
We ate supper at 5:30. This might be the only meal that Hayes actually enjoys this week, but I’m sure he ate enough chicken strips and rolls to hold him for a few days. After supper, we headed over to the Opening Celebration and Worship at 7:00 PM.
Opening Celebration is the first taste for the kids as to what camp is going to be like this week. It starts out with some energy filled worship music (Jesus aerobics). Our band this year is being led by Austin Adamec. He has led it for the last three years and has always done a great job. We watched several “Saturday Night Live”-like videos that explained the camp rules to the kids and we were introduced to our camp staff.
The kids left to meet their Bible Study staffers and the other kids that will be in their groups this week and the adults stayed for our orientation. After the kids returned, we headed to our group Bible study room.
I have no wi-fi in the room this year so the blog won’t be a lengthy, detailed and up-to-date as last year, but keep checking back regularly.
Saying our “good-byes”
CentriKid Crew 2014 (minus Taylor, Dana, Grace and Graham who met us in Leeds, AL)
Bro. Chris leading us in our pre-trip devotion.
Lots of hugs before we hit the road.
Kids waiting in line to get camp shirt.