Earlier this year I was praying and asking God to send me back to missions, no matter if it was art missions or overseas missions or whatever. I suppose I was missing my missions life and wanted to serve again, but nothing ever seemed to be coming up! No opportunities were presenting themselves. But my heart was open to whatever he might have for me. I am not sure if God will send me back overseas again, but what I do know is that every missionary I learn about didn't start their ministry in the foreign land they ended up in. They started in their home towns. That's because a missionary's mission is not dependent on their location, but rather on the love of God for all people, near and far.
So, a few days after I prayed this prayer I received a text from a church friend who asked, "What would it take for you to serve at Valley View Bible Camp this summer?" and I thought, "Well... I suppose it would take me asking God to call me to mission work again!"
Telling the Gospel
This week I was camp speaker for 8-12 year olds. I spoke on how the creation narrative is a pattern-maker for the rest of the Bible. For example, in the beginning God spoke, and there was light. Later on, Christ describes himself as the light of the world. And then, we are told to walk as children of light. Each day has a trickle-down pattern like that, which I found very fun to identify and talk about! Starting with the chaos of pre-creation, we went day-to-day, learning about how the beautiful patterns God has created can give us a firm foundation to stand on, and therefore allow us to be brave and bold as we go through life.
Sharing Testimonies of Faith
In the evening sessions I told the story of Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China. Her story is simply amazing! I wanted to show the kids about christians from the past that were bold for Christ, so I looked up "podcasts about missionaries and martyrs," hoping to find some inspiration. I found a perfectly apt podcast: Martyrs and Missionaries, which I recommend you subscribe to as well! It's there that I learned about Gladys Aylward, and I loved re-telling the story to the children. I would get audience members to play different parts of the story as I narrated, and I was encouraged when kids came up to me later, asking to have Gladys's name written in their notebooks so they could read more about her later. I hope her testimony challenges and strengthens more believers to live lives of listening to and obeying God's voice.
In between session times I taught crafts! I decided to make paper masks with the kids. It was a perfect craft, in my opinion. The kids could just keep adding things to their masks until the time limit was over! There was no "done," per se. Also, I loved making the craft myself. It was fun to do something different than the artwork I usually do, and I've always been enamoured by masks in culture. The mask templates I used for the craft time were based on the greek comedy and tragedy masks of ancient greek theatre.
Continuing my Regular Work
As I did these things, I tried to take time to retreat to my campsite and work on my regular illustration jobs. I'd go to my camper, sit on my bed and paint for an hour here, an hour there. My office at home is certainly more suited to this work, but the camper is not so bad. (Hear the raging optimism in this statement!) I will try to bring a chair and small table next week so I can work outside under my gazebo, if I still have more to complete by then.
For my Christian friends, I'd love to share how you can join the Bible camp ministry:
They still need some people to come serve at camp. I want to encourage you to really ask God if he would lead you to serve at camp. Here's your incentive: I felt that even just this one week serving at camp greatly increased my faith. I got to remember how good the gospel was, because I was telling others about it. I got to utilize some fruit of the spirit that I never need to use while working at home. Setting aside time to serve God is a wonderful way to build your relationship with him. You can enquire about serving at camp here: valleyviewbiblecamp.com/missionteam
Please pray that the words I and the other mission team members spoke to the kids would be like fruitful seeds in the kids hearts, and that God would water those seeds by his spirit. Pray that they would be a bountiful harvest of faith-filled souls. Also pray that 2 Tim 1:7 would be manifested in their lives, as well as the lives of the leaders serving at camp.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self control!" 2 Tim. 1:7