Hello Swamp Blog Readers!
Welcome back to the Swamp's weekly blog. Camp Swamp has experienced an incredible, full summer. We experienced an amazing six weeks of summer camp fun and learning about God's image, during which time the campers took over the blog to talk about their experiences. Swamp also took four Swamp Corps teams across the world to spread the camp culture in Cambodia, The Middle East, Kenya, and St. Vincent. Through it all, we got to see God work in amazing ways through Camp Swamp.
This week I'm going to tell you about the St. Vincent Swamp Corps trip that I got to go on this past week. It was a very faith-building trip that encouraged me and challenged me at the same time.
Taking Camp Across the Caribbean
It's honestly hard to describe the trip without first talking about God and how much he really led us and protected us during it. The U.S. portion of the St. Vincent team was composed of myself and two others, Jacob Williams and Dylan Chisolm. None of us had ever heard of St. Vincent Island before being asked to come on the trip, and we had only had one conference call with the camp directors, Shawn and Gale Carter, before heading out for the trip. All we really knew was that we were going to get on some planes and land in Barbados to meet the other portion of the team, who would fly with us to St. Vincent to have camp.
U.S. Team Members: (L to R): Dylan, Jacob, and Julie
I think for all three of us it was a big step of faith just to go on the trip, knowing we would be without Mr. Jeff or anyone we were familiar with. However, God made sure we were taken care of in every situation. The Carters welcomed us with so much hospitality when we arrived in Barbados, and when we got to St. Vincent the campers and counselors took very little time to warm up to us and make us feel welcomed.
Obviously the trip wasn't without moments of homesickness and feeling very out of our comfort zones. However, even in those moments I felt God with us, leading us and pushing us forward as we brought our knowledge of the camp culture to a new place.
It was also amazing to see how God has really grown BIM Camp (Barbados camp) since it first started seven years ago with one of the first Swamp Corps trips ever taken. And, more than that, it was a dream realized for the Carters and all the Bajans as they took BIM camp to another Caribbean island for the first time. It was essentially a Swamp Corps trip for the Bajans as they brought their camp to campers from the islands of St. Vincent and Grenada.
Another thing that was encouraging to see was the level of gratitude amongst the campers. Our campsite was in an eco-lodge up thousands of feet in the mountains, far away from any shops or stores. And, during the first few days the water cut out in the majority of the campsite. So, we had to walk a good distance just to use the bathroom or fill up our water bottles. And, it was very hot with no air conditioning, so as you can imagine, it proved difficult. Once the water returned, we still had cold showers with low water pressure for the rest of the week. However, the campers showed great flexibility and little to no complaining during all of it.
The camp also had less in the way of resources, but the campers made the most out of everything. In St. Vincent there was no laser tag or slip'n'slide. Most of the evening games we played were games like dodgeball or made up games with no equipment, yet the campers had so much fun and enjoyed everything we did. What they really cared about was enjoying each others' company and having fun together. They were inventive and creative, and made the most of each situation.
Same Camp Spirit
Through everything, the trip really showed me that camp and God are the same everywhere. The St. Vincent camp was on a Caribbean island I'd never heard of with people I'd never met and only 23 campers total. Yet, the camp spirit, quick bonds of friendship, and spiritual conversations happened just like in America. The culture was different and the situation much different, but the spirit of camp was the same. It truly was a surreal and amazing experience that showed me how much God is powerfully at work through Camp Swamp.
Thanks for reading about my experience in St. Vincent. I hope to put more Swamp Corps stories from other people on the blog in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned to see how God is at work all over the world through Camp Swamp.
Until next week!
Much Love & Respect,