In love with Onigum

There are weeks where working at camp feels like a job.  I need to duck my head and plow through all that needs to be done.

Then, there are weeks where I’m reminded how much I absolutely love what I do.  This is one of those weeks.

Currently, I’m stationed up in Walker, Minnesota.  We are running a day camp in a village called Onigum, located on a Native American reservation.  I’ve been praying and preparing for this week for the past month, as it’s the toughest day camp of the summer.  Many of the kids come from extremely broken homes.  They don’t have stable parents and, when they leave our camp, they return to situations like alcoholism, drug abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, criminal activity, the list could go on and on.  Some of these kids have experienced more darkness and heartache than I will ever go through in my whole lifetime.  My heart just breaks for them.

Over the past couple days, I’ve fallen absolutely in love with the Onigum kids.  Yes, they’re often times a handful, but they are such wonderful people.  They’re so beautiful.  Some of them are so desperate to be loved they have taken to calling me “Mom”.  I’m going to have a hard time leaving them tomorrow.  I wish I could pack them all up in my camp minivan and bring them home with me.

On a slightly different vein, though, I’ve been ruminating over my last post.  The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize that right here, right now, I am living out the kind of life I long for.

Here’s why.

I said in my last post that I want my life to be an adventure.  I want to go places, to meet people, to impact the world.  I am doing all three of those right now.  My job, as Day Camp Coordinator, is to travel each week to a new place in the state and lead a four-day camp.  I’ve been everywhere from Owatonna in the southern part of the state, to the Twin Cities, and now to the north.  Every week, I’m in a new location.  I never know where I’m going to be sleeping, or who I’m going to meet along the way.

One week ago, I was sitting in the backyard of a stranger’s house watching a local theater group do a in-the-forest production of Disney’s Tarzan.  Since then, I have sent my family off on a Montana road trip, visited the Headwaters of the Mississippi, learned about a completely new culture, went tubing on Leech Lake, and listened to one of the host-dads tell African hunting stories.  So much happens within the span of a few days.  I’m constantly on the move, always meeting new people, hearing new perspectives and life experiences.

As for making an impact on the world, what is more impactful sharing the love of Jesus?  Only four days isn’t enough to make Bible scholars out of the kids.  They may never remember the words we spoke, or the lessons we taught, but my goal for this summer is for the kids to remember the way we loved.  And this love does not come from ourselves, but from Jesus.  For it was His love that lead him to the cross to die for our sins, and because of that, our goal is to love.  If kids can leave day camp knowing they are valuable and loved, not only by us, but the Creator of the universe… then the seeds are planted.  The work has begun, and their eternity is impacted.

Ultimately, I have the best job in the world.  There are days when it’s exhausting.  Actually, it’s exhausting pretty much all the time, on the good days and bad.  But I get to live the life I’ve always dreamed.  I get to travel, to see new places, meet new people, and share the love of God with kids.

What is better than that, my friends?

My team this week as we cross the Headwaters of the Mississippi at Itasca State Park.

One thought on “In love with Onigum

  1. Happy Lifeaholic August 12, 2014 / 4:55 am

    Love that you’re getting to do what you’re passionate about 🙂 ❤ Can't wait to see you in a few weeks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s