Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kid Counselor

The saying says that time flies when you’re having fun, but fun isn’t a requirement. I just got back from another fun week of camp and it makes see how time is moving.

I remember being in Cadets (boys group) at church and at the end of every year we would have a points auction to buy stuff with the points we earned that year. I always used all my points to purchase fishing lures, bobbers, and other related items. The only time I ever used it was at camp, but I was ready to sit on that dock by Lake Crumb in the hot sun to use my gear.

Now, a few seasons have passed and the lake has changed, but I still have most of that fishing tackle. However, now it’s used to help other kids sit on the dock in the sun to get that first bite. I love seeing their excitement as they real in the catch and remember the thrill I had as well.

My first year as a counselor was full of excitement with a touch of nervousness in how I could help. It seems like just yesterday I was reading bedtime stories to two wide-eyed boys that didn’t want the day to end, but it inevitably did as they drifted off to sleep. Last week, I served as a counselor with one of the boys and he has already celebrated five years of helping.

The week before camp, another counselor was showing pictures on Facebook of back when I was a camper. I quickly recognized everyone in all 16 pictures and had flashbacks to stories with them at camp. However, in at least 12 of the pictures most if not all of the faces have gone on to their eternal home.

This week marked my 20th year at camp, my 13th as a counselor. The boys I worked with in my cabin weren’t even born when I started as a counselor in 2000. It’s very possible that for some, their parents hadn’t even met by that year. My first year as a camper my dad would have been 36 years old. As a now 60 year old man with salt and pepper hair he helped me to serve the campers as a 35 year old counselor.

In Scripture we read that this life is gone in the blink of an eye. The opportunities we take, or miss, today may be gone tomorrow and before we realize it, the kid with wide eyes staring at us will be serving alongside us.

I’m very thankful God has given me good health and has enabled me to serve all these years. Sometimes the work can be tiresome and I still wonder what year will be my last. If you are given a chance to serve to help others, I recommend taking it while you can. We never know when our dot in history will be over and only memories remain.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dia del Padre

Father's Day, or Dia del Padre in Spanish, has come upon us once again. God has not had in the plan for the life He has given me to be a parent. However, that doesn't stop me from wondering what it would be like.

I am not shy to the fact that I enjoy working with children, at least most of the time. When John was here last month it was fun having his boys around. With young children especially, you never know
Acting as a stroller
what to expect. That was made abundantly clear when the five of us went out to lunch at a local fast food chain. Upon getting his kid's meal, TJ promptly bumped his milk over dumping it down my leg and the side of my chair. While that was being cleaned up, Jeremiah grabbed a nearby sandwich and learned how gravity works on food.

In this life I've been given though, I would need to start with older children. During the lunch entertainment above the milk container was two inches from my hand, but I couldn't grab it to set it upright. When Jeremiah woke up screaming in the night, I couldn't hop out of bed and offer to help pace the floors. That's not to say that messes and waking up at night doesn't happen with school-age kids, but they can at least crawl up beside you in bed under their own power.

When I get to speak at grade schools, I love teaching the students about disabilities and how we can all serve God. I could easily see family devotion time and helping my kids learn about God, His creation, and how to live for Him. Family trips out to the tracks would also be a regular activity in the summer and model railroading in the summer.

Even without being a parent, I'm very thankful for the children God has allowed me to work with in different roles. It has been far more than I could raise and hopefully has a lasting influence. I am also thankful that I've been given a father who works very hard to keep funding for me and help me with so many physical needs.

No matter if you have a good or not so good relationship with your earthly father, always look to our Father in heaven. His love is so great for us that He sacrificed His son, Jesus, so that we don't have to take the punishment we deserve. His is the example all earthly parents need to demonstrate in love for the children they've been given.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Word Wobble

For the past few months, I've been watching a few British based shows on Netflix. First, I watched a series on people looking for for homes in the country, then I followed that up with some British baking competitions. Listening to the accents of everyone is interesting, but word usage can be rather odd at times.

When searching for a new home, families often wanted to have space for a "holiday let" and start a business. As near as I can tell, this is basically a bed and breakfast type of situation, but without the breakfast. Their version of country also doesn't coincide with what I would expect. Some homes were in the middle of open country as I would think, but they could also be in the center of a small town, or village as they say. This could easily just be different understandings, but some get even more strange.

I'm very familiar with charged and dead batteries as the difference can mean a day out and about in my chair or stuck in bed while it charges. In the U.K. and other European countries, a battery without charge is flat. I guess that means one with a full charge is bumpy, but I can only guess. In Australia, if you're nursing a baby, it simply means someone is taking care of a baby and is something that men can do. In America nursing a baby means, something entirely different.

Not only do words have different meaning depending on what country you're, they can also change over time. One example is the word unicorn. Today, this word brings up images of a horse with a horn coming out of its head that is used in different fairy-tales. However, an 1811 dictionary has unicorn described as: "An animal with one horn; the monoceros. This name is often applied to the rhinoceros." If you look at the scientific name for a single horn rhinoceros, it is "rhinoceros unicornis." Therefore, if you read a King James Version of the Bible, from 1611, and read unicorn in passages such as Job 39:9-10 and other places, you must consider its meaning at the time it was written.

Modern vocabulary can be very interesting when you get away from your familiar roots. Be careful you don't go flat out like a lizard drinking (Australia) and be too quick to assume a meaning. It could make for confusing encounters at best, and major embarrassment at worst.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Summer is when I like to be active, and one of my regular activities is volunteering at CHAMP Camp. It is coming up in a few weeks and will mark my 20th year, 13th as a counselor. Unfortunately, I've been letting doubts start to sink in lately about the work I do.

Every camper has some sort of need for mechanical ventilation. Some require complete hands on care for everything and others just need some direction and can primarily help themselves. Without the use of my limbs, I obviously can't help with any of the physical needs of the kids. I can sit and watch, but that's pretty much it.

In order for me to go, it takes a lot of work from my caregivers and dad to help at camp as well as preparation in packing and planning. I have therefore been wondering if I really should be putting them through all the trouble and being up so much that my pressure sores will very likely get worse. The question is am I going just for something to do and catch up with friends or do I actually help?

One of the founders of camp, Dr. Chuck Dietzen, recently wrote a book called Pint-sized Prophets and I just finished reading it a few days ago. Dr. Chuck talks a little about camp, but the main subject is on the children he has worked with in his career in the U.S. as well as several developing nations. He describes how he helps these patients with their physical needs, but also remembers to treat them as children with goals and dreams. I know from experience this isn't always the case in the medical field.

It is commonly known that in Matthew 25 Jesus said that by serving others as His disciples, you are serving Christ. Throughout my years of being a counselor, I have seen kids accomplish more than they ever thought possible, and it brings back my own memories from too long ago. No, I can't help to feed someone or clear an airway, but I can be a listening ear. I have been in school where I'm the only student with apparent physical disabilities and remember what it's like. If nothing else, I can be someone that knows what life is like and can offer help from my experiences.

Yes, my body will likely be mad at me when I get home, but I will continue with my extended flat times. At least I can help work with these campers while God gives me the ability and be extra thankful for the people He has put around me.