For the first three weeks of camp, we were in a luxurious little hotel in La Cumbre. The only downsides were the cold (unavoidable), small meeting spaces which inhibited certain games we had prepared, and few bathrooms. Otherwise, it was a beautiful location that included an indoor pool and antique memorabilia which suited our filming purposes. Oh, and conveniently located next to the orphanage I happened to visit two years ago with Scott Jackson, the other random Texas missionary in Córdoba.*
One week, addressing the money and space issue, we had camp in a Franciscan monk residency. That is, the monks work in the hotel (?) which is as simple as simple comes. We had two-bed bedrooms that were adorned with a cross, one cubby for clothes, one small desk and a chair. The tiny bathroom at least had amazing water pressure for the showers so I didn't complain even when a giant spider wanted to share the space.
We shared many memorable moments with the teenagers that week. The advantage was that the grounds were quite spacious so we could play an intense game of hide-and-seek (which we called Cowboys and Indians, in the least racist sense) where one teacher was never found. And as the cell phone signal was in and out, we couldn't even text her to tell her to come back. She stayed hidden until midnight.. after all the teens had already gone back to their rooms. Talk about embarrassing! Yet, she didn't complain because the whole time she was planning some of the activities she would do with the kids when they got back to classes the next week.
|part of my group "Galactic Productions"|
I had a deeper conversation with one of the students from my group who brought alcohol to camp. From what it seemed, his parents know about his alcohol problem and say that it's okay.
"I just drink before I go to the parties," he told me.
"So you don't drink ANY more after you leave home?" I asked.
A look. A look that says whatever comes out of his mouth is going to be a lie.
"Are you lying?"
"You drink a lot, don't you?"
There is only so much one can do when you know each other for less than 72 hours. I figured, it was better to tell him some truth than not say anything at all. Even if he ends up hating me, at least I told him that he should stop drinking because I cared.
"The only thing that will ever satisfy you is Jesus," I told him. "But if you can't go down that road just yet, you will at least need to fill your time with helping people to make up for not drinking."
At the end of camp, everyone really enjoyed the line dancing that I had taught them. So much so, that they asked to dance for our final moment together. In the middle of one of the songs, the light fixture from the ceiling came crashing down. Even though where it had fallen was right in the middle of where the students were, not a single student was hit. We thanked God and said goodbye.
The last camp of the season (end of November) will be in the same location. We have already decided to be more clear with the teachers when they go hiding that if it's 11 o'clock, they can go ahead and make their way back.
*Scott is now married to an Argentine. Woot! And Mike, from the OM team, has lately joined Scott's ministry of coaching and playing American football in the city. Pretty cool, huh?