(Links lead to additional photos on Facebook. Enjoy!)
Hello, wonderful blog friends! I was gone for two weeks again, serving at Apache Creek Deaf and Youth Ranch for the last two camps of this summer. We had plenty of adventures, received many blessings, and I (for one) am thoroughly exhausted.
Camp was a great blessing. It is hard to believe it is over. But, back to my reminiscing over the last two weeks...
Oh, yes. You recognize the assistant director, of course. ;) From playing in the skits as the nervous cameraman to being a good guy fighting off the pancake-recipe-thieves who stopped the train, Samuel is a man who wears many hats! (Literally and figuratively!)
And, here, I was a clown at the rodeo. Fun stuff. My name was Felisha Ariel Jonas, and I swatted campers with my bunch of flowers. They loved it.
I *think* Samuel was leading music here. And then we were keeping score over a relay race game in the gym in the second photo.
My friend Iris and me. :)
Here we have the staff all together. Saying goodbye was definitely hard. I made some good friends and had some fun memories with them!
Speaking of memories, we took a staff hike at Cooney Town. It is an old gold mining town deep in the heart of the mountains.
Gold dust! Yes, there is gold, copper, and geodes there. The water sparkles!!!
Eating wild blackberries was so much fun! :) I ate a wild green apple too.
The scenery was breathtaking. And I loved that we hiked most of the way in the stream.
The lighting is horrible, but here Samuel and I are (1) in one of the gold mines and (2) hiking along the stream.
The hike was amazing. It was about 8 miles and was just so much fun. I love exploring and new adventures. Going inside the mine and hiking over up a dangerous cliff/mine area and seeing an adorable skunk was just epic.
Among other adventures was going on a quick date in Arizona, tasting lemon meringue fudge for the first time, trying mango licorice for the first time, rescuing a bird from a bus and cuddling it for a while, and experiencing Indian Camp for the very first time. During the latter, a few of the teens dubbed me Ariel - their own special name for me.
Oh, the showers wouldn't turn off in the girl's dorm, resulting in a foggy, Amazon-like bathroom with flooded showers. ;) It was at nearly 11:00 at night, the lights wouldn't come on when one counselor went for help, and a skunk was outside the door and making a lovely aroma to add to our shower steam... Fun stuff. ;)
My greatest joy was in leading a specific teenager to the Lord. She had really been on my heart since the moment she arrived and, when she raised her hand during the invitation, I knew I was supposed to be the one to lead her to the Lord. Another counselor took her back, but I prayed that the Lord would somehow let me be the one to show her the plan of salvation. As it worked out, the counselor ended up having her come to me! She accepted the Lord as her Savior and it was such a blessing to have been a small part of that.
And...now that I am back... I dove right into VBS at my church yesterday. Samuel was able to stay for the day and helped out in my classroom. Here we are, battle ready, and getting ready to demonstrate spiritual weapons to the kiddos.
The ministry is such a blessing. There are a lot of hardships, struggles, and hurts - lots of late nights, early mornings, counseling, and hard work. But it is all so worth it. I always share the highlights and fun times, but, honestly, ministry work is labor. A labor of love - one that can only be accomplished through the strength of the Lord and in His grace.
On Sunday, three of my Sunday School students were baptized - two of whom the Lord allowed me to counsel and point the way towards Him in salvation. There is no greater joy than to see your spiritual children walking in truth and obedience. God is sooo good. It is things like that which truly make the ministry so, so worth it.
What have you been up to lately?