There is a phrase that I learned in my career as a teacher that has served me very well over the years: Adapt and Modify. Things rarely go as planned, and even when you feel as though you have covered all your bases something will happen that will force you to abandon the well thought through plan and improvise. Today was one of those days. But through all of it we were able to see God work though us and in us, and for that I give him praise.
The morning began very wet as we set off to Camp Gardner. Camp Gardner is a former scout camp that has been taken over by a group called Hope Mission. Hope Mission is a group dedicated to sharing the Gospel with poor and disadvantaged people throughout Alberta. We have partnered with them this week to help them restore the campground to a more functional site. Our service allows the staff to share the gospel with children all summer long. It is a privilege to be a part of this wonderful project.
Did I mention it was wet? We began our journey seeking a free pancake breakfast. The one I had identified was located at a mall. I was told these are the best, so we got a fairly early start and headed for pancakes. When we arrived there was a line at least a half mile long waiting…IN THE RAIN…to get their free pancakes. Free is free, but I have my limits. We called an audible, the first of many today, and bought the kids some breakfast muffins from McDonalds. Then off to Camp Gardner…or so we thought. The GPS directions that we had input took us in a completely different direction. We finally got a good address, after an hour of touring northern Calgary and made it to Camp Gardner. By the time we arrived the rain had stopped. Surely the providence of God to allow us to to our outside work without having to deal with the rain. Today we chopped and stacked wood, moved picnic tables, and cleaned restrooms.
We then drove to the Assumption Ukranian Catholic Church. This beautiful church has a rich history and we were greeted by one of their members who spent an hour explaining about the beautiful facility. It was also a great place to sing, and so we took advantage and sang a few verses of one of our anthems, a cappella.
Next, we drove to one of the beautiful city parks to relax, enjoy the day, and grill some hamburgers. We didn’t have quite everything we needed, so while some of our chaperones went to the story the students enjoyed their time. When everything arrived we began the process of lighting the charcoal, and then it rained. Not a gentle drizzle, or soft afternoon shower, it was as though the Edwards Aquifer decided to target our grill. Several attempts were made to protect the grill, and at one point Dr. Seth and I were huddled around the fire with our two umbrellas vainly trying to keep it alive. Please take a moment to enjoy that mental picture.
Another plan was then hatched to buy pizza from Dominoes next to our dorms. We drove back so we could change and get ready for our evening concert back at Camp Gardner. On the way back to the dorm I received a call from the camp. Sincerest apologies were offered as they explained that they had given me the wrong time for the Chapel service where we were to sing. It wasn’t two hours from now, it was in thirty minutes.
We made it back, changed, ate pizza, drank slushies (it was 7-11 after all and they were free), and then headed back to the camp. We arrived with enough time to finish the service with a few songs. We piled out of the vans and headed for their chapel, and no one was there. Not one person. Not even one. I decided to take a short walk to see if I could locate someone (READ: I didn’t want the Chapel Singers to see my frustration). After walking a while and following a few counselors, I stumbled upon the relocated chapel that they didn’t tell us about. I walked back, gathered the kids, and we sang for the campers. Our students were engaging, energetic, and on point with their purpose.
We used this opportunity to talk about planning, and giving God complete control, even when nothing works like we want it. It was a great chance to live this truth. We have great plans for tomorrow. Maybe we’ll get to do some of them.