Del-Haven, in the two weeks I’ve spent there this year, has been a mix of trials and encouragement. At the moment, though, I just want to focus on the good. Here’s a small list of moments I loved.

  1. Sha’Nifa running up to me and giving me a hug as soon as she saw me
  2. Playing basketball with Trumane and John — and earning their respect by out-shooting them
  3. Alyiah, finally warming up to me, standing with an arm around her while we watch the stars
  4. The older girls asking to be able to say goodnight to everyone before I turned out the light, and then reminding me to pray
  5. Kelsey, when she heard I wasn’t going to swim: “Awww, sad face!”
  6. Making a “what not to eat on a date” list with Derria and Laura
  7. An air-squeezed-out-of-me hug from Dayonte before she left – a camper who got extremely angry at me when I had to use an unusual tactic (ice water) to wake me up in the morning.
  8. Leading all the different versions of “Lord’s Army” with the kids :)
  9. Playing “the floor is lava”, hide-and-seek, freeze tag, etc
  10. Beasting everyone in Foosball. Just sayin. :P
  11. Bonding with all the counselor’s over Despicable Me — “IT’S SO FLUFFY!”
  12. One particular night at the little kids camp when a little boy came out of the bathroom with NOTHING on, John yelling “RUN, Raymond, RUN!” — thankfully I didn’t see it happening, but just being there when it happened was hysterical.
  13. On that same night, the trees were literally sparkling with fireflies — it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen
  14. Sarah Jane. Enough said.
  15. Eating pancakes with chopsticks with the campers :)

There are so many more moments that I loved, but they’re already starting to wash away from my memory. :/

One more thing that I loved though, was listening to Sheri’s (the head counselor) devotions. Every year she presents the gospel, though never forces the kids to come forward, say a prayer, anything. She faithfully plants the seed, explaining in detail how Jesus came to Earth, lead a sinless life, then shows how he died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. Every year it strikes me again.

It’s distressing how quickly I become calloused to what Jesus did for me. How he hung there, suffered and died for me. And every year at Del-Haven I’m reminded of how much he loves me. I love it. I love seeing the faces of the kids (even if 3/4ths of them aren’t paying attention, or falling asleep), hearing the gospel for the first time.

My heart is so burdened for them…I miss them all so much. I may not ever see them again. They may have already forgotten me, but I hope they remember that most important story, the songs they learned and the verses they memorized.

Pastor talked about Haiti last Sunday, about how there’s a group of girls and women there, falling in love with the kids like I did. I was on the stage, holding my violin and struggling not to cry as I remembered argumentative Otenell, ornery Jackenson, sweet Rose Guerlin…I miss all of them. Haiti feels so far away, in the sense of the time that’s past and just…well…the location. And yet, as much as I want to go back, there’s something also in me that whispers “move on”. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go back, but right now it doesn’t feel like God is calling me to be there.

I’m starting to ramble, so I’d better wrap this up. Ivy Bend is in five days! So close! I’m excited, but I feel oh-so unprepared. I’m trying to avoid my concern that it won’t be as good as last time. Like always, I don’t want expectations, I just want it to be what it will be.

ANYWAY, haha, I’ll blog about Ivy Bend when I get home!