I’m looking out over the lake on our last morning at camp, feeling protective as I recognize the 13 bobbing heads in the water. They love the swimming pools even though the breeze is cool and clouds cover the skies.
These girls are beautiful -- physically yes, because of their thick black long hair and wide smiles, but also because they will walk arm in arm with a friend or a sister or because of the genuine concern they show to one who is hurt. I know in God’s eyes each has value, and I am touched by their teachable nature when a lesson is taken to heart and they start a new course of action. We had a class on hygiene especially regarding cleanliness as a way of showing love to our neighbors. Without further instructions, they willingly cleaned the bathrooms last evening. Their enthusiasm is encouraging.
It is also special how the elements of the zone, especially inclusiveness, support and facing challenges, were taken to heart. All of the girls went boating, and all went down the water slide, even though some began with a slow toboggan style initial run. It was wonderful to see their willing responsiveness to participating in the activities -- no one had to speak twice to get involved in Brazilian football or capture the flag, even though these require running and being in the sun.
But this beautiful location is not the real world for them. The pressures and restraints of a village culture are so foreign to me that I am scared for them. We have focused this week on the theme of guided by God’s word. The speakers have driven this home with concrete examples of how their choices will affect not only them but also their descendants. We all heard the dangers of being one foot in the world and only one foot following God. I see their potential as children of God and champion heartily for their success. How will they be able to overcome the dangers of sin in their culture? Then again, the difficulties in America are also many, and the same God watches over us all. I feel a sense of closeness because of our common faith and struggle, and I trust God will keep them safe until we meet again.