I Love Vespers

I just wrapped up my third camp of the summer and the counselors have arrived for my fourth camp. I have had some camp changes and will be spending a second week at Loch Leven with Chi Rho camp! CYF 2 just ended and I am left in awe of these amazing campers. I have had my ups and downs through every day, but something that I have come to love and appreciate deeply is nightly vespers. To see these youth coming together and organizing worship service for the rest of camp is already amazing, but for each vespers to be meaningful seems like an impossible task, but they have continuously blown me away.

Kamp Kaleo had vespers down by the fire every night. The setting alone was incredibly spiritual, a campfire on the bank of the lagoon next to a field that is filled with fireflies lighting up the night sky. That is an image I will always cherish. Family groups had the responsibility to plan the nightly vespers and that gave so much room for diversity. One night we wrapped string around our wrists in a unity circle to connect us all. Another night we all walked away with a rock from Kaleo, so that we might always remember the sacred place that is Kaleo. The clear Nebraska skies provided amazing stargazing. My favorite moment was after a vespers service myself and some of the other counselors were looking out on the field of fireflies and there was a deer prancing through the field. It was so amazing.

Texoma Christian Camp in Oklahoma gave me a beautiful night of vespers down by the lake followed by stargazing. Texoma was a mixture of CYF and Chi Rho campers, but we did most of our worships separately. I had the honor to watch some of the campers in my small group give testimony about being vulnerable and being able to see and hear God in those vulnerable moments. One night we had double communion because one of the interests groups had made the bread and grape juice but the small groups leading communion wanted to have strawberries and whipped cream. The joy and kindness that went along with each vespers at Texoma was something that I will cherish forever.

This past week at Loch Leven with CYF 2 I experienced some of the most thought out and thoughtful vespers. Each night was filled with personal testimony, group exercises, and amazing spiritual connections. One night we all stood on two cartons of eggs without the eggs breaking to show just how strong these eggs could be. Another night we all had our feet in the pool and lit our burdens on fire inside a metal bowl that floated on the water. Every family group was so thoughtful with everything that went into vespers, I was blown away every night.

This experience is amazing, but it can also be really hard and trying at times. There are days where I am so exhausted that I consider sleeping through breakfast. But ending every night with vespers brings me back to a place of calmness and clarity. Watching the campers come together to talk about the lesson of the day and to share in Gods splendor with one another keeps me going. I am so grateful that I get to see a different vesper every night because that is where I see God working through these amazing campers.

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