Saturday, July 28, 2012

Acampamento 2012 (part I)

When Homer Simpson asked his fundamentalist neighbours where they’d been, they replied “We went away to a Christian camp. We were learning how to be more judgemental.” 

It has been some time since we have been able to send the boys away to a camp known as Jovens da Verdade (“Youth of Truth”). A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of taking the little ones – V, R, M + J – for the first week of the camp, which is held an hour outside the city on a site with outstanding facilities.

The theme was Viva La Vida! (“Live the Life!”) and through exuberant worship, inventive drama and a ton of crazy activities, the boys experienced a week like none other in their lives.

The message of one morning meeting was about defeating giants. Using the story of David, the teacher explained how he slew not one, but five giants: His father (who excluded him), the prophet (who had to be told to rise up), his brother (who taunted), the king (who doubted) and Goliath (who boasted). The teacher asked us to think about the giants in our lives that come to frustrate our dreams and our hopes of growth - things that set themselves up against God’s plan (maybe a teacher who said that we were not clever enough to be a doctor or a dad who said that we were a problem from the start and that we were not wanted).

Later that day, I spoke with J about a giant in my life that I wanted to slay/defeat and I asked him to think about a giant in his life. “Can it be a person?” he asked. I said yes. He then seemed to change his mind and said “anger”. I encouraged him and said with God’s help, we’d work on it together. “And how about you?” I asked the ten year old boy who had joined us in line for dinner (not wanting to leave him out). He looked to the floor and then looked up at me and said “loneliness and solitude”. I had to look away, because it was one of those comments that was so unexpected, yet so frank that it made my eyes well up. 

The teacher did a good job. We have some giants to slay.

[ An edited version of this entry was featured in my latest newsletter. ]

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