made for His glory

living in pursuit of that

Posts Tagged ‘Smiths’

West Dallas in the Outback

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 October, 2008

Friday afternoon Mindy, Garrett and I loaded up two vans with 20 middle school kids and headed to Columbus, TX for a middle School retreat at Pine Cove Outback Camp. The kids we decided to bring on this retreat were the kids from our Tuesday Bible Studies, so we’ve been getting to know them a bit better over the last several months and we were very excited to spend some serious quality time with them this weekend.  The great thing about this retreat is that Pine Cove had all the logistics covered; the speaker, the program, the food, the activities all we had to do was show up and join in so that gave us great opportunity to build deeper relationships.

The weekend started with a 4 hour drive, in which I heard the song “Bleeding Love,” by Leona Lewis about 40 times…..”I keep bleeding, I keep keep bleeding love.” Garrett created a little scavenger hunt type game that was girls v. boys, they had to find horses, campaign signs, pink cars, cars that started with an “s”, banks, etc and each item was worth different points. Nothing brings out the competitive spirit like a boy v. girl game, that kept the girls occupied. They also had a little photo shoot with my camera, here are some pictures from the drive… 

 

The girls getting ready to roll out

The girls getting ready to roll out

 

Jasmine and Adrienne

Jasmine and Adrienne

Amber and the Sunset

Amber and the Sunset

We arrived safely, and after a little complaining about “there being no one” in my cabin, we settled in. One of the things you should know about this weekend is that for the first time we mixed our kids with suburban kids. We usually bring them to camps that are Urban-focused or where they will be the only group, but this time around we felt it was important and that these particular kids were ready to mix it up with the flavors of the real world. Kids from West Dallas don’t see a lot of diversity, the majority of their neighbors are black or Hispanic and are low income. I believe that if these kids are going to have a future story, if they are going to be able to hope in the future they have to understand what it means to cross racial lines, socio-economic lines and interact well with those who are not exactly like them. This was a very difficult part of the weekend to be sure. Our kids dress differently, speak differently, react differently…they are intimidating in size and volume. One of the girls is 13 and at least 6 feet tall, she towers over me. I asked her once, “Does your mom, hug you?” (Her mom by the way is about 5 feet tall.) She said no. This sweet girl doesn’t look 13, but she is, and needs to be treated that way even though she’s a giant. I hugged her to death this weekend. That is the way it is with all our kids; they might not look or act like they are 12, 13 or 14 but they are. Underneath all the loudness and posturing are hearts that need to be loved and cared for just like any other 12, 13 or 14 year old.

This weekend was mostly encouraging. Our prayer going into this was that we’d bond with the kids, maybe they’d learn to trust us a bit more and that they’d encounter Jesus in a real way. I think we saw some walls begin to be chipped away. I had some great conversations with the girls; honest questions were asked and hopefully answered in ways they can understand or begin to understand.

We had some frustrating moments, one of our boys stole a camera from another leader. The camera that he and his new bride had used on their honeymoon just 12 days earlier. The pictures not downloaded yet, they were needless to say anxious to get it back. He eventually confessed and returned the camera and there was reconciliation, it was great to see. We had girls shut down, get angry over ridiculous things…like what kind of juice they had at lunch.

The most frustrating thing…that we had to bring them home. They loved it there and wanted to stay. These kids aren’t dumb, they know what kind of life exists in their community, in their families. So many loved being free from it all…even if it was just for the weekend.

Here are some more pictures from the weekend… 

Mindy and the girls

Mindy and the girls

Garrett and some boys

Garrett and some boys

All the Girls

All the Girls

Operation Infiltration

Operation Infiltration

The meanest OI force you ever saw.

The meanest OI force you ever saw.

 

 
 
 
Advertisements

Posted in Happy things, WD Kiddos | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »