Monday, blessed Monday.
I must have the greatest job in the world. I get Monday off. I get tomorrow, my birthday, off as well. Today, I cleaned. Tomorrow, I chill. That is a worthy reward for working the weekend.
This was a weekend I'd been thinking about and looking forward to and planning for months, all without having any idea what it was going to look like. I knew just little enough to have an excuse for it to tank, but had just enough responsibility to feel some ownership for it. It's a weird position to be someone new in an ongoing ministry with all of its traditions, patterns, relationships, and unwritten rules. They bring you in with fresh eyes, to improve things and make changes and see it like they don't. But you have to be a spectator for a while - after all, some things are untouchable.
This weekend was our 9-12 year old February Retreat. It needs a better name than that, I know. We did our marketing, mailed out lots of brochures and hung posters all over the place. A few signed up ahead of time, many didn't. That's an ongoing challenge here - you never know just how many are going to show up. As of Friday, we had 15 or 16 on the list, guessing that "maybe 30?" might come. By 8:00 Friday night, there were 32 or 33 kids here, which was just a hair above my lofty expectations of "maybe 30?"
That's enough to make traditional camp large-group games fun and have a diverse bunch. Enough to drown out my amateur guitaring in chapel and to make defending in Gold Rush a challenge.
- Kids asking me again and again for Mosquito tag. They would just come up and demand more Mosquito. Come to think of it, all the games seemed to go over pretty well. Oh, and kids cheated. But whatcanyado?
- Francisco telling me he learned English from Cable TV. I didn't realize how effective that was.
- It is never not funny to wake kids up with a cowbell. Ever. My quote: "I've got a prescription.... Dang it, I messed the line up. I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell." Cue Julio on cowbell, mostly right in kids faces.
- Kids had fun, heard about Jesus, and no one got seriously hurt. That sums up a successful retreat fairly well, I'd say.
-Me picking the same girl, with the unpronounceable name (for me, anyway), twice as a demonstration for mosquito tag. Went something like this:
"You have to say their name three times while giving a double high-five to a partner over their head. What's your name?"
"Uluaualsamar" (or something)
"Okay, Ulaammaman, Ulauslubauar, hem-mm-hmm-mmm-mmr."
-My fingertips dying a slow death at the hands of the rusting strings on my guitar. I haven't played it regularly in months, so the ever-important callouses are kaput. Which leaves my tender fingers raw and hurty today.
What is going on here? This might have been Bible Study. I'm not sure.