The Campers Come Today!!!!

We are so excited to have the campers join us at camp today…it just isn’t the same without them! Please pray for safety on the roads, for the weather to stay clear today, and for the bus leaving New York City to be able to get out quickly in spite of traffic already heavy this AM.

Staff training was a great time for the staff team to build team unity and to begin to make Camp Gilgal 2013 Home. Please stay tuned on the blog, it is all about to get a lot more interesting once the campers arrive!

Today we have: swim test, all camp activity, and a campfire. Please pray for Scooter who is giving his campfire talk tonight, that he would have confidence and that he would communicate truth from the Bible and truth about what God is doing in his life to the campers.

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It’s that time again! (Oh…and the staff come up to camp today!)

This little lady has grown up a lot since she was posing with parasols and will be joining us at summer camp for the first time. Help us welcome her by guessing who she is!Umbrella Baby

We’re at camp!

Well…the advance team anyway. Yesterday Scooter, Sonic, Beardo, and I (RedSox) made the trek up to Camp from NYC! It thunderstormed on and off the whole way up and then once we got in there was a GIANT thunderstorm at camp. There were the biggest raindrops that I have ever seen and camp even lost power for about an hour! Rain is in the forecast for the next 10 days. So here is a reminder: PLEASE PACK RAIN GEAR!

We are settling in slowly, but it sure feels good to be back at camp! Last night for dinner we had mixed vegetables and chicken; for breakfast we had great scrambled eggs, fruit salad, and amazing pastries that Chef makes; and for lunch we had grilled cheese and tomato soup and bonus: quesodillas!
This is already shaping up to be a tasty summer.

While we were moving in and getting the staff room set up, we made a sweet discovery. There is a family of baby birds that is living on the side of Blewish’s cabin! Someone at camp took a look at them and told us that they are some kind of swallow–probably barn swallows. We tried to take pictures of them, but the nest is too close to the roof line to get a good photo, but this gives you an idea. We’ll try to get photos of them and keep posting about our baby birds, we think that there are at least 4!swallow 1mama bird

Tomorrow we’ll be joined at camp by: Twister, Strings, BabyCarrots, Bologna, Nature Valley, Wolf, Watson, and a few staff who have yet to be named. You’ll be hearing from different parts of the group as the sessions of camp continue. This weekend we’ll get the last few staffers and the campers too. Please be praying for the staff that we would quickly get adjusted to the camp schedule and that we would have an increasing amount of energy to play once the campers are here. Please be praying for the campers that they would be getting excited for camp and that they they would come ready to hear from God. East Coast Camp Gilgal 2013 is almost here and I can’t wait!

It’s almost that time!

This time next week parents of Junior Campers you will be checking and double checking duffel bags. You will be making sure that your child’s clothing is all labelled with their names and that they have stamps and pre-addressed envelopes hoping to ensure that you will hear reports of their experiences at camp. I’d encourage you to make sure to point out specific things you have packed that you want your child to know about. We have campers who find their laundry bags, pillow cases, or Bibles on the last day of camp– not so helpful! We send out a packing list, if you have a forgetful child (or a distractable one!) maybe include a “what to bring home list” for them to check off as they leave camp. Here are a couple of blog posts from the greater interweb that might be helpful as you prepare to send your child to Camp Gilgal: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/the-canteen/2013/06/11/dont-forget-preparing-your-kids-for-camp-and-beyond/ , http://shiftmama.typepad.com/blog/2013/06/prepping-the-kid-for-camp.html. We the camp team want to make sure that we are giving you as much information as possible so that you (and your camper of course!) can feel adequately prepared for the weeks to come.

Some things to consider:
1. Don’t underestimate the power of getting mail at camp. Your campers love (and actually NEED) to hear that they are missed at home. Care packages are great, but they don’t beat frequent letters from loved ones!
2. Explain to them before they leave that you will miss them and that you are going to want to know about the fun they are having. We once had a camper who understood he was supposed to put the pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelope home in the mail…but he didn’t put a letter in it. We’ll do what we can to encourage them to write early and write often.
3. The camp staff will be blogging as frequently as we can. Let us know what you want/need to see more of and we will try and make it happen.
4. If you camper is new, remind them that everyone was new once. We have veteran campers and staff, but we also have brand new campers and staff. No one at camp this summer already knows everyone and I think that that is awesome!
5. If your camper is a veteran, please be encouraging them to think about how to bring the newbies into “the Camp Gilgal Family!”
6. During Junior Camp, your camper will be hearing lessons every day from the book of Joshua. Would you consider reading the book along with us and praying every day for the staff and for your camper? I know that Twister and I would be greatly encouraged to know that you are praying with us as we seek to teach well from God’s word.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with you as you seek to train up your children. We are excited to see what God is going to do in their lives this summer and we hope that you are excited as well!

In Messiah,
RedSox

Blessings, Curses, and a Bold Donkey

This week’s parsha is Balak and it comes from Numbers 22:8-25:9 and Micah 5:6-6:8. It has been three parshot since the spies went into the land and brought back a majority bad report, but from this parsha we see that others are aware of the power of God. Balak is the King of Moab and he has heard of how God blessed the Israelites in number even in Egypt, how he miraculously brought them out, and gave them victory over the Amorites–and he is afraid. He sends a prophet named Balaam to curse Israel so that they will not be a threat to Moab and the King of Moab’s power. In 22:6 Balak says to Balaam, “For I know that whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is accursed.” Balak has heard of the power of God, but believes that Balaam’s powers of blessings and cursings are able to trump the will of God.

Verses 8-20 are pretty interesting as we see Balaam arguing with God. God tells Balaam not to go with men from Balak to curse Israel because he has blessed them. Balak is insistent that Balaam go and curse Israel, Balaam consents to go–but it’s not a good thing. As he sets off the Angel of the Lord is in the road to block his path. Balaam, a prophet who has been hearing from God…if not always listening to him, does not see the Angel blocking the way with sword drawn. But someone does: Balaam’s trusty female donkey. She does everything she can to turn Balaam away from his intended mission and Balaam beats her. Finally, she’s has enough and the Lord opens her mouth. That’s right, a talking donkey! She says, “what have I ever done to you!” She’s trying to save his life (and her own) and he’s beating her. They have an argument and then the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the danger his donkey has protected him from. He repents and sets off back in the direction of Balak having promised the Lord only to speak the words God gives him. Isn’t it amazing the lengths that God will go to teach us to obey him!

There is a scene with Balak where Balaam prophesies about Israel and her future. He prophesies about the coming of the Messiah and the flourishing of Israel. The prophecy is repeated in Micah. The promise of such a redeemer in Numbers 24:17 is also the promise that Moab will be defeated. This is not what Balak was looking for! Balaam reminds Balak that he cannot curse those whom God has blessed or bless those whom God has cursed.

But this parsha tells us that Moab is successful in being a burden and even in ways a curse upon Israel at this time. As Israel settles closer to Moab, many find the detestable practices of Moab appealing and begin to worship false gods. Balaam’s words from God let us know that this state will not last forever, that Moab will be defeated. But for us, let us look to go where God is going and bless those God blesses. Even more, let us look to the day when Y’shua our Messiah will return and take away the things that distract us from following him.

It’s Wednesday…Baby.

Who did this cutie grow up to be? She loves camp and is looking forward to this summer! #wbw #waybackwednesdayBaby3