Monday, June 13, 2016

Teachable Moments

It’s been a week since we arrived at Trail’s End Ranch (TER) in Ekalaka, Montana.  The road trip was long but uneventful.  Charlie and I had many driving hours to anticipate what may be ahead; I was excited and a bit apprehensive.  We had agreed to serve the Lord by serving the children and staff He would bring this summer to TER… small task!

Now that we have been here a week, I am feeling slightly more comfortable with the rhythm we are in, although that routine will change in one week when the campers arrive.  We are in the midst of staff training and it is an incredible experience.

We are not here for the whole summer but are participating in staff training so we can be fully prepared.  The summer staff members are young enough to be our grandchildren, yet we sit in their midst, eager and ready to learn all that they are taking in.

The year ‘round staff represents a slightly older age level although we still have many years on them.  I find myself a bit more comfortable with them simply because we met them when we were here in May.   They know the camp processes well and have developed relationships with one another.  

It’s all so interesting… God brings His people together and molds them into a unified team.  I sense that synergy developing as we all learn to trust one another.

The training we are getting is much more than mere preparation for summer campers; I am learning things that will forever help me in ministering to the lost and encouraging believers to go deeper in their faith. 

This camp/ranch has every imaginable activity available: soccer field, softball field, swimming pool, high and low ropes course, the “big swing”, zip line, horseback riding, rifle range, archery, campouts, etc.  But within all of that, is a focus on leading campers to know Christ and to grow in Him.  There will be time set aside each day for specific instruction and discussion as well as chapel time, but it seems some of the most important moments come while the campers are having fun, being challenged and participating in some sort of adventure or activity.

We have learned much about teachable moments or “life applications”.   Examples from our training manual:
  •  “A horse stumbles and falls.  You can say, ‘When the horse fell, he got back up and continued on.  We need to do the same thing as the horse when we fall into sin.  We need to get back up and focus on God again.’” 
  • “Learning how to aim at the bulls eye shows me my need to focus on God."
Jesus was a master at using teachable moments!  Remember how He washed the feet of His disciples the night they gathered together at “the last supper”?  (In that culture, the men traveled dusty roads wearing open sandals so when they entered a home, they needed to clean their feet.)  Jesus was using a common, ordinary practice to teach them about humbly serving one another.

In John 6 we read about Jesus feeding 5000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread.  The people had gathered, were hungry and needed to eat.  Jesus was able to use this situation and teach them several lessons about God’s ways and provision.  This
     need for food teaches us a great lesson on how God provides abundantly and often in ways we could not imagine or predict.
     The next day Jesus addressed another crowd looking for food and what did Jesus say? John 6:27, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give to you.  For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

I love being in a place and having special time that God has set aside for me to focus on Jesus and to see Him in everyday moments.  There are fewer distractions and we have specific times of personal devotions along with group instruction/discussion.  But when I return home, where the demands of life threaten to pull me into the “busy-ness abyss”, I will be looking for God’s hand in places I may not have imagined before my time out here. What is God teaching you today through the everyday, ordinary moments of life?

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