Here in Phoenix we have a season you might not have heard of: Monsoon. It starts in the summer as humidity levels begin to rise and storms become progressively more likely. As monsoon progresses, rain happens. Yes, rain does fall in the desert… occasionally.
Or, sometimes, even though it looks like it’s going to rain, the wind just kicks up dust.
A lot of dust.
We call these dust storms or haboobs. (Though there is some debate as to whether the latter term is “technically accurate.”)
As I write this a storm is kicking up outside my apartment at the SIMC campus.
I wonder if it will be a full-on dust storm…
I wonder if it will rain a little…
Or a lot…
Or if it will blow over without much effect…
There’s something special about desert rain. It smells more strongly than other rain (the product of the creosote bush, in case you were wondering). And since it doesn’t come very often, the rain is appreciated more. Children rush outside to play and dance in the rare precipitation like Floridians in a flurry of snow. Even adults gaze longingly out windows, mesmerized by the falling drops or crystalline liquid.
But, sometimes, the rain doesn’t ever come. The wind picks up; the sky clouds over; the dust blows…
And nothing more.
It seems that the monsoon storm has left its purpose unfulfilled; holding its rain within the clouds for some other area to enjoy.
This is how life has felt for the past few months as I search for my “next step.” I find a job or ministry which looks PERFECT, send out some inquiries or apply and then… nothing. It just blows over. Something doesn’t work out and the whole opportunity evaporates. Just yesterday I was scheduled to have an interview with a school in Phoenix – the perfect opportunity to stay in the area and keep helping out with the camp ministry with AIF in the summer – and it was canceled; the position filled before I had my time to talk with them.
Each time I think the rain will fall, showering me in opportunity and hope for the future… but the dust blows instead.
But I’ve realized something as I listen to the dust storm picking up outside. This is only the beginning. In the beginning of monsoon, very little rain falls; storms culminate in dust devils and the occasional sprinkle of rain. But by the end of the season monsoon is filled with full-fledged thunderstorms, flooding washes, and sparkling rain-drops, pattering windows for hours on end.
In the Lord’s timing, something will come.
And I must wait through the dust to reach the beauty of the rain.
Three weeks of camp have gone by more quickly than I could have imagined. Our theme this year is “God With Us” which means: CHRISTMAS CAMP! I love Christmas so I’m loving the Christmas theme, complete with Christmas trees decorating the buildings on campus (and Christmas caroling during teen camps)!
The first week of teen camp was phenomenal. I served as a dorm leader (what we call our counselors) in addition to teaching drama class and doing some photography while the regular photographer was unavailable. We had 16 campers that week.
Week 2 was just as awesome but, with twice as many campers, the dynamic was very different. I still served as drama teacher and photographer (sometimes) but not as a dorm leader since we had a work team to help us out.
Drama class was great. Using some of the Bible stories from the week, I had the campers pose in various ways, acting out scenes with costumes and props, to be photographed. Then I put the pictures together in a slide show to be shown while the campers read their parts in the script. We did two different stories the first week and four the second week, since we had more campers. Most of the groups had a great time being silly and making weird faces – one group even got to have a sword fight!
Week 3 was the first week of elementary camp with a focus on the 4th-6th grades. My role this week was help lead morning worship and to teach cooking class. I thought I would get bored between classes and have to find other things to do; other roles to fill in for. I was wrong. Teaching this age group to make gingerbread cookies as well as setting up, cleaning up, and finishing what they left undone took far more time and energy than I had anticipated, particularly since we had 59 campers! I was exhausted by the end of the week when we finally served the finished cookies to the campers at dinner on Wednesday night. We had a fantastic, albeit small, work team this week, and they truly made camp special for the kids.
I’m looking forward to teaching cooking class again this coming week, slightly modified for a younger (1st-3rd grade) age group.
There you have it: three weeks of camp in a VERY LARGE nutshell. And that was only my part in it. So much worship; so much learning; so much relationship building – happened outside of my classroom time. These weeks have been exhausting… but they have also been some of the best times – just as camp always is.
That’s all for now – more updates when the rain finally comes!
Grace and Peace,