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Archive for February, 2007

Wishin and Hopin

Posted by hrgarippa on 5 February, 2007

Mariah is in the eighth grade and has been a troublesome student since she signed up in our program three years ago. Last year she went to Wyld Life camp, (Wyld Life is the Middle School version of Young Life) while at camp she and I had the opportunity to go to the pool a lot. Mariah would always stay in the shallow end wearing a life-vest. One day she ventured into the deep end, but she held on to the sides with a death grip. All the other kids around making fun.

Mariah knows how to swim, but she has no faith in herself, and she is often filled with fear and will refuse to attempt anything that could lead to failure. But little by little throughout that week we worked on letting go of the side, taking off the life-vest, kicking our legs, holding our breath, touching the bottom the pool, even diving and now eight months later when Mariah sees me she say, Remember when you taught me to swim…I can’t wait to do it again this summer.

What an incredible expericence it was to be able to show this child how to believe in herself, how to have confidence, and faith. Swimming is something small, but in that moment – in the pool, all Mariah’s toughness faded away, she was moldable, she was reachable, there were no barriers between us.

Learning to swim hasn’t changed Mariah’s life, she is still a troublesome student. But I believe that this small gift, this small moment in time has served to do one thing, one very large thing that doesn’t happen very often in this world of despair and it has given Mariah something to hope for.

Camp is an unbelievable experience for the kids of this community, for an entire week they are taken out of their familiar surrounding, taken away from their problems, their families, away from the gangs, the drugs, the sex, the music, the violence that fills their world. And they are taken to a very serene enviroment; usually Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountians. In this enviroment many of them breath fresh air for the first time, see enormous trees for the first time, and taste the steadfast, amazing Love of our Father for the first time. At camp a kid can be kid. They do not have to front, the walls come down, they are actually 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 instead of acting all grown. It is one of the most refreshing weeks in ministry and even though you know that most of it is just that mountian top experience you welcome it just the same. Because when they get back to the ghetto, they start wishin and hopin for camp again.

Kids in this community don’t hope for much, they don’t see much beyond today, and so for them to look all the way to next summer is a gift.


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