Hi Swamp Bloggers!
Welcome Back to the Swamp blog! I hope your week is off to a great start! If you didn't know, December was a super busy, impactful month for the Swamp! Two Swamp Corps teams went across the globe to help with camps in different countries. We are super grateful everyone is back safe and sound! This week we have the treat of hearing two Swamp Corps team members, Ariana Holt and Alanis Espinosa, talk about their experiences in Africa and Nicaragua. Enjoy!
Adventures Across Africa
First up is Ariana Holt:
"Going to Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa for a total of three weeks, was one of the most amazing trips I've ever taken. I had the honor and privilege of going back for the 2nd year in a row for Camp in both Zimbabwe and Kenya. I'm amazed at how God has transformed both camps in such a short amount of time. Here in the states, we have the privilege of 7 weeks of Camp. However, in Kenya and Zim, there is only one week. As a result, we have to squeeze training and everything into a shorter time span. However, both the counselors and campers were able to get into the spirit of Camp and make it their own.
I had amazing campers who changed my life in both Kenya and Zim. They taught me how to laugh, cry, be vulnerable, real, and it ultimately challenged me to be a better counselor. Going to Camp in Zim and Kenya made me realize how much I can take Camp for granted and as a result, I want to invest way more into the Campers and the Camps all over the world. Gratitude doesn't capture how grateful I am to have been able to go back to both countries and see the growth. I can't wait to see how far they go."
"Going to Camp in Zim and Kenya made me realize how much I can take Camp for granted and as a result, I want to invest way more into the Campers and the Camps all over the world."
-Ariana Holt, 21 years old
Adventures Across Nicaragua
Next, we have Alanis Espinosa:
"Hola familia! My name is Alanis Espinosa and I am honored to share with you about our 3rd year of camp in the incredible country of Nicaragua. I could honestly write a novel about this place but will do my best to describe to you a glimpse of how much it means to me. I remember 3 years ago when the announcement for the 1st year of camp in Nicaragua was made and my sister and I were overjoyed that Swamp was being introduced into a Spanish-speaking country. We immediately signed ourselves up and counted down the days.
The 1st year so beautifully surpassed any expectation and the love they had for us and for camp, regardless of how it was all new to them, was so Jesus-like. Now here I am, reflecting on the 3rd year of camp in Nicaragua and so far my 4th trip there. They so easily made it their own since the very first time it was introduced to them and it has been a blessing to see how much its grown to reach more children in Nicaragua and throughout Central America. But just like us, they cherish camp traditions by completely immersing themselves in the singing devo and taking cabin challenges quite seriously. God’s presence is so evidently spread throughout this camp. I can assure you that there is no other love like the love you receive in Nicaragua. You can feel it through every embrace, hear it in every “te quiero”, and see it come to life by every friendship. Every time I return, I not only am the last one in line at airport security after saying goodbye to each of my friends 10 times, I also leave una gran parte de mi corazón ahi.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to these trips whether that was anything from praying for the camp, donating money to a USA team member, or sponsoring a child to experience a week of this camp. I am eternally and indescribably grateful for the adventure God has taken me on through these trips and I know He will continue to move mountains (and volcanoes) among the people of Nicaragua and Central America. A mis queridos amigos en todo de Centroamérica, los amo un montón y espero que nos vemos muy pronto."
"God’s presence is so evidently spread throughout this camp. I can assure you that there is no other love like the love you receive in Nicaragua. You can feel it through every embrace, hear it in every “te quiero”, and see it come to life by every friendship."
-Alanis Espinosa, 20 years old
Wow! It is so cool to hear stories about the amazing work God is doing through Swamp all across the world! And, guess what? There will be a fourth year of Swamp Nicaragua! If this sounds like something you want to commit to, click HERE to view upcoming Swamp Corps trips. There will also be a Swamp Corps trip to Cambodia in May and Kenya in July.
Speaking of registration, registration for Summer Camp will begin February 1st! Applications for volunteers, teen workers, and volunteer/full time counselors will also open on the 1st. (Exciting stuff!)
Until Next Week!
Much Love & Respect,