Just the fact that it’s Thursday evening and the first time I’ve blogged all week should clue you in to how hectic this week has been. Last weekend was exhausting. And I came back worn out and a bit beaten down by my allergies.
But last weekend was also amazing. And even though I’ve been tired, sick, at doctor appointments, and handling other busy things, I wanted to blog about attending Frequency with my Transit girls and co-leaders.
The seventh and eighth grade students attend a fall weekend retreat called Frequency. It’s called that because the point of the camp is to help these students get “on the same frequency as God” like you would tune into a certain frequency to hear a radio station.
We had so much fun.
Friday night, we had our first big group talk and worship. But before they did that, we were introduced to our entertainment- “Coach Hassel” and “Coach Hoff.” These guys basically spoofed southern coaches, and it was hilarious.
They kept telling us to “take a knee” before spouting out random “wisdom”…which pretty much read like the back of every sports tee from high school. They made appearances all weekend.
On Saturday, they had “pool olympics.” Yes. In October. The pool was freezing, and I only know because I sat on the edge with my legs in…after a couple of the girls forced my legs in.
They had it divided by gender and grade, so there were plenty of kids competing in the pool- voluntarily. Including one of our own girls, Bayley.
First there was the Shamu Relay.
Then there was “alligator wrestling.”
And then they had a relay where they kids had to swim the length of the pool in a sports coat. That’s the one Bayley was in.
Did I mention she swims competitively? On a team? Well, she does. And she kicked butt.
The reason there is no one else in the water in that picture is because she was leaving them in her
dust wake. Seriously. That was the only thing the 7th grade girls won. Boom!
After that, we all went back to the cabin. While Janet and I chilled, the girls went on walks all over camp, hung out in the cabin, ate way too much candy, and had “wars” with each other. Which were both funny and really loud.
I have no idea how they had the energy- Janet and I only got about 4 hours of sleep the night before.
At the end of free time, we got ready for the “Freq Out.” Basically, you get your whole group as ridiculous looking as you can.
Our group had glow in the dark necklaces, masks, bracelets, and wands. We also had crazy hair with bandanas and pipe cleaners woven in and sticking out everywhere. And face paint. And bracelets made out of florescent duct tape. We were loud and proud.
After getting ready, we all were to gather at one location in camp. Each group is given a set of clues, and we followed them all over camp doing fun stuff together.
Our first event was using a huge slingshot to hurl water balloons at moving targets.
Did I mention that my girls are a bit…um…competitive? And a good shot? Because they definitely got a golf cart that zoomed by.
And they might just have nailed a Transit leader that was running around with a sign for 200 points attached to her. As she did a cartwheel, our girls might have beaned her with a water balloon. And it might just have burst on her face with so much force that it knocked her over.
And she just might have been the leader for the group right next to us. Yeah. Poor thing- she was good sport!
Next we had to run to a new location to get our t-shirts and sign them all. But before we could earn our camp tees, we had to get a picture where only something like 11 feet and 10 hands were touching the ground. We had 21 people in the picture. It was interesting!
After that we had to eat everything that was given to us in a bag- baby food, warheads, dry ramen noodles, vienna sausages and more (I almost puked downing some baby food; it did NOT taste like green beans!).
When that was done, we were given a stack of napkins and a bag of flour. We had to make “flour bombs” and fill a trash bag with them.
We headed up a huge hill next (and I used my baby bump to get a golf cart ride- it was a long trek) to do a team-building activity with ropes and bucket of water, take a quiz, and then do an obstacle course.
I don’t have pictures of any of that stuff because I was too busy being a part of it and laughing at the silliness going on around me.
After dinner, there was a HUGE flour bomb war. Just imagine 800 middle schoolers and their leaders smashing each other with flour filled napkins. The girls had flour in their eyes, their hair, and even in their ears.
But the best part of the whole trip was later that night. We had an outdoor worship service, where Britt, our speaker, shared about the amazing life changes that only God can bring about in us.
In case you noticed and wondered why Britt was holding cardboard, it was to illustrate the idea of a “cardboard testimony.”
Never heard of it? Neither had I until a couple months ago. Here’s a video that shows them being done at a church. Fair warning- I cry every time I watch it. You might too.
They had 12 leaders come up and share theirs in front of the camp. It was awesome.
After they shared that, we had communion together. It was a really neat thing to get to do that with my Transit girls.
I grew up in a church that did this regularly, and at a church the scale of Northpoint, it is done only occasionally, and as far as I was aware, never during Transit. It was so special to do this with them at camp.
We headed back to the cabin after that for small group time. We sat in a huge circle, each of us with a small piece of cardboard and a marker. We wrote on the front something that we had gone through or were currently going through, and on the other side we wrote how God redeemed that situation or left it blank.
Janet shared how she lost her baby boy only a few days after he was born and how God used that to grow her trust in Him and her love for others even bigger.
I shared about my miscarriage– about how it broke mine and Tom’s hearts and how I struggled to trust God after it. And then I told them how He used others (like Janet) to remind me that I was still being pursued by His love even when I had been too angry or doubtful to trust it.
(As a side note, the song that I talked about in the post about my miscarriage- it was the first song played as we got to camp and the last one played before we left. Awesome.)
None of them but Janet had known about the miscarriage, and I could tell they were surprised. With each girl that opened up about things that they others didn’t know about, more and more things came tumbling out.
Struggles with friends, family, and themselves. Their wondering how to deal with situations- some of which no middle schooler (or any person) should have to face.
I looked around at those precious girls and cried. In fact, every person in our group cried. My heart just broke when I heard what some of them were facing, and I was also filled with joy when I heard how some of them had come through to a better place.
It was amazing to see how God was moving into these situations, and to see how others had been completely protected from some tough things.
Yet lots of those situations have not been resolved yet. Some of the girls are still waiting to see God show up in those times, and that’s a struggle for them. They were so honest about their questioning it, and their trying to hold on to faith in the middle of a storm.
I didn’t have answers for all of them, but I did lots of hugging. I can’t imagine facing what some of them are living with day to day.
But just knowing that they have leaders and friends they can talk to about it, and a God who loves them…it’s good to know they aren’t alone in these times where they are facing hard stuff.
After we had small group, there was a worship service. I hear it was awesome. But I stayed back with a few girls that were wanting a few more minutes to talk. I don’t regret that. I love connecting with these girls and hearing their hearts.
The next day was much like Friday night- a little food, a talk, and some more worship. The “coaches” and Janet all played a game on stage with some of the kids first.
Britt gave the wrap up talk of the weekend.
And then we sang and sang and sang. The floor was shaking as 1600 feet jumped up and down.
Fists pumped the air, and praises rang out.
After demanding (and receiving) a double encore, the kids accepted that camp was actually over.
And we loaded on the bus to head home.
I feel like I get where these girls are coming from now. I thought I knew before, but this weekend really opened my eyes. And they have friends in their groups who they can talk to as well as leaders who love them and pray for them.
Some of them have texted me already to let me know certain girls are on their hearts. It is so sweet to see them open up to each other and be received with that kind of love.
It really was an amazing weekend. I’m so glad I get to be a part of a church that creates opportunities for these students to be completely real about their lives and their faith.
I sure do love those girls.