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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je....

One of the greatest loves the Lord has blessed me with is the love of children. I've always loved mothering them, teaching them, mentoring them. I loved Jr. Church when I was needed there and I love my Sunday School class I have now.

My Sunday School class is made up of girls from ages 9-17. ( This is one of the necessities of a small church-we have lots of kids and not too many teachers!) We call ourselves "The King's Daughters". I feel very close to my girls. About 80% of my class comes in on the vans and come from broken homes. I marvel at these girls faithfulness in spite of having no one to wake them up and tell them to get ready for church. They rarely miss. Some of them have been with us since they were about 5 years of age.

This summer we had a camp theme. With the help of my dear sister Esther we transformed our Sunday School room into camp.

I took cardboard refrigerator boxes and made a false cabin front and taped it to the end of our tables. The girls were able to name their cabins after we divided them up. One cabin called themselves Joyful Gems and the other The King's Daughters. (wonder where they got that name?)

I took another table and made a roof and sides over it (with the help of white paint and refrigerator boxes) and turned it into the canteen. The table was covered with chips, pop, candy bars, and cokes and each one of them were given different points values.

Another table became our craft table. Outside the door a cardboard sign pointed to our door and said, "Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je" with an arrow.

The bulletin board was transformed into a scene with a mountain in the center, two cabins at the bottom on each side of the mountain and pictures of our girls heading up the path to the top of the mountain.

In my class the girls receive points for each of the following:

  • Present-50 points

  • Bible - 25 points

  • Offering- 25 points

  • Verse memorized- 50-100 points (extra if you know it when you walk in the door)

  • Visitor-500 points

  • Bible papers filled out-100 points per paper

  • Bible reading chart filled out and returned-100 points

Each girl moved up the mountain as her points increased. The total points of each cabin were put on the top of the board on each side above their cabins.

The girls are given individual folders with a cabin glued to the front that has an attendance chart on it. They mark their own points (with Esther right there to help) and inside they keep their papers and Bible reading charts. Also inside they have an empty sandwich bag stapled to their folder. As they earn points they are given paper money to spend at the canteen. Each item in the canteen is marked with a point value. They run from 50 points for tiny candy bars to 500 points for the giant candy bar. Chips, theatre candy and pop are in between that. Based on how much they do they are able to spend money in the canteen at the end of class!

Sunday mornings were divided into careful time slots. Attendance-10 minutes. Announcements- 5 minutes Game and song time-10-15 minutes Lesson-15 minutes Canteen-5 minutes

Some mornings we had song contests, some mornings crafts, some morning we would go across the hall and play a cabin against cabin game of air hockey. We made up a camp song from our camp name -I'd-Ra-Ha-Je. (Have you figured out that it's the beginning letters of the song, "I'd Rather Have Jesus"? Esther came up with the name and I love it!

Here's our song to the tune of Jesus Loves Me!

I'd-Ra-Ha-Je that's my camp!

Come and join; you'll be a champ!

Learn of Jesus God's own Son,

Crafts and Games, come have some fun!


Camp I'd-Ra-Ha-Je (rah!)

Camp I'd-Ra-Ha-Je (rah!)

Camp I'd-Ra-Ha-Je (rah!)

The Camp that we all love!

We've had contests to see which cabin can sing it the loudest and they've made me laugh with their enthusiasm. I've watched the girls bring lots of visitors this quarter. We've had new girls that don't know the Lord as their Savior in attendance several times this quarter. It is good to see my girls trying to learn their verses.

Today when I announced that this was the last Sunday of our camp theme I was met with groans. You know it's a success when they don't want it to end. I assured them that they had nothing to fear--Sunday School class is about to become a fitness center! The canteen will now be a health shack, because we're about to start a new theme---"The Fitness Center"....can you imagine where I'm headed with this one?

Children always amaze me at how much they can learn when you come along side and encourage them, excite them and give them your full attention. I am counting on seeing these girls grow up and do great things for the Lord. I tell them often that I want everyone of them at my table at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let's give it our all as we minister--rather it's the nursery or a Sunday School class. It doesn't take much money--just a willingness to invest our hearts and lives into theirs!

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