Bo made it to TMI! Yippee! As of today, he officially has only 2 days left of Boot Camp, then on Friday our family will drive down and join them for a couple days of the first -ever Teen Missions Family Camp. We’ll get to eat with their team and do whatever they’re working on–cleaning up the camp and packing for their trip, mostly–and also spend time in the pool and on the lake. The girls and baby and I will not be roughing it in the swamp, we will rough it at the Clarion right down the road instead, but we’ll get a general idea, anyway! It will be great to have some Bo time before he’s gone for 5 weeks! We’re excited to see him.
I’m so excited about the way this whole thing worked out. The thing is, we "just happened" to finally watch the CBS special about Teen Missions on Father’s Day, after both Rob’s dad and I independently thought of it the day before (even though they recorded it 3 months ago!) My 13 yo had wanted to go this summer, to CHINA, no less, and I just didn’t have any peace about that for multiple reasons, and this last-minute decision of B’s meant there really wasn’t time to even consider it for Z. Last year was months of low-level stress, shopping, packing, reading, fundraising, etc etc. as we prepared for Bo to go. This year, we decided, put the word out, prayed and started packing–literally before we even had a dollar pledged for the trip. The night B said he wanted to go (it was midnight, I promise you!) I told him to pray about it, and we’d pray, too. The more dh and I discussed it, the more it seemed that perhaps he really was supposed to go and that this was a setup. There were so many opportunities that had presented themselves this summer for the kids and for us, and all of them had one by one fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. I’d been really praying for the Lord to show me something he could do for the summer; they weren’t interested in our church youth camp, and the only other camp I’d consider sending them to was over 14 hours from here. I told Bo I really wanted for us to hear from God *before* we even called TMI, because I wanted him to experience being led by the Spirit rather than practical things–obviously if God wanted him to go, the practical things would follow, but wouldn’t it be more exciting to *know* the practical answers would be "yes" before they actually were? So we set out to pray.
The next morning I told B to "think with his Bible." I think that’s going to be my new saying, because it’s totally what I do most of the time! I took my Bible at about 6:45 that morning–no way I could stay in bed!– and opened right up to Daniel, the book the Lord had spoken so clearly to me from last summer for Bo while he was away. Then I decided to read the chapter of Proverbs for the day, which "just happened" to include the *other* scripture God gave me last year specifically for Bo after he got home! When Bo came out of his room he said that he’d been reading in Isaiah about the Lord saying, "Who will go for Me, and whom shall I send?" and Isaiah said "Here am I–send me!" and then later there was something about a time frame of "in just a few days" (he was supposed to leave 3 days later) and also something about living in tents. So he felt like that was all a "yes." I called R’s mom and talked it over with her, and she thought it sounded like the Lord, too, as did my dear friend MistyB who called me that morning to talk about something totally different which I cannot recall at this point. Next step was to wait for TMI to open, call them and see if they’d allow us to sign up so late–was there even room on the team? The kids were due to start arriving the next day, after all! They told Bo they were thrilled he wanted to go, but of course he couldn’t because he wouldn’t have the necessary visa . . . only he did. So there was room on the team and they’d take him . . . if they could get him a seat on the plane. They would call back in the afternoon. So I told B to start packing while we waited! At about 4:30 the call came in–yup, he could get a seat.
We put the note out on my blog, and the rest is history. $325 of his money came in from people who I’m not sure I know! I just received a list from TMI and some names I don’t recognize. Please know, if I don’t *know* you and haven’t already thanked you personally, that we are incredibly grateful and blessed by your giving, we are praying for a hundred-fold return, and that the story of God providing the money in 2 days preceded us to the Teen Missions base–I had people coming up to us saying "How did you do that?" and all I could do was say, "You have to hear God tell you to do it and then pray your head off!" My poor husband was so worried. I think guys have such a burden to provide and give their kids whatever they want, so this was really hard for him! He said to me at least twice, "Ummmm, do we have a backup plan?" and I just had to say, "No, dear, there is no backup plan! God is the first plan and the last plan!" He was amazed, too. It was a great experience. Seriously, if we’d known in advance, we could’ve stashed money away from other places. That’s another reason I think God did it this way–I promise you, He wanted to show off. He taught our whole family a great lesson!
So to top it off, Bo has the best leaders there, and great, great kids on his team. Only 10 kids, and 5 leaders! He’s loving Boot Camp; Zachary and I drove down to Merritt Island on Saturday night to visit only to get caught in a tornado warning with all the kids and have to cram into a 40×20 room with all 600-ish of them (they haven’t had showers, mind you, in a week–ugh!) for the worship rally while the storm blew outside! It was great. Love watching teens worship. And the message was great. He’s happy as a clam even though he’s covered with bug bites and dousing himself with Gold Bond to try to not sweat to death. They expected to return that night in the dark to sleep in tents that were most likely flooded. Don’t know how they do it!
So if you despair of the teenagers of our day, check out www.teenmissions.org some night around 7:15 (it’ll have to be before Sunday, though I believe you can get the podcasts on itunes anytime.) Click on "webcasts", and watch the evening rally. It’s usually on til about 9, when they send the kids to bed so they can get 8 hours in before they have to get up and run the obstacle course. There are a few hundred teens with no mall, no video games, no cell phones, no showers, no comfy beds, no tv . . . and they’re headed all over the world to serve God this summer. I LOVE it.
I’m going to do my best to get back to posting and try to put something encouraging here every day! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!
Here’s a slide show I made of the pictures we had from the first week of bootcamp. Sorry, I couldn’t get the captions to work! Anyway, you can see a bit of what it’s like there.