Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Camp

With much planning and finalizing of Winter camp details still to do, we had to quickly put our trip up north behind us. The week between

Thanksgiving and the first weekend in Decemeber was pretty hectic. It included unpaking and doing laundry, inventory at camp, cleaning, shopping, repacking, organizing, ordering, calling, emailing, calling and emailing again, fixing, reorganizing, reordering, and finally actually getting everone to camp. It was a lot. It seemed impossible and out of control, but God had everything all worked out!

The Winter Camp theme is based on the book by Robert Munger, My Heart, Christ's Home. It is about taking inventory of the rooms in our heart, making it a home for Christ and allowing Him to run it. The analogy is of each room in a house representing different areas of our life that need or should be surrendered to Christ. We are only able to cover some of the rooms over the course of a weekend. The book is great if you are looking for a good read. We were somewhat concerned that the material might be too deep for the campers, and to a degree it is. We saw the counselors bring it to the level that the campers could understand. It seemed to work well. Those who wanted to go deep could and others chose to not go deep at all. The topics reached different campers at different places. To wrap up the weekend, the campers could sign the Title Deed of their heart over to Christ if they wanted to. We saw some actually take it seriously and surrender their lives and hearts to Christ. Please pray that they would want to have Christ be the center of all they do, on or off the mountain.

The snow was an added bonus for the weekend. We didn't have a lot of it but enough to make snow-sculptures and have a few sledding times. We hope to get more snow for future camps.

We are excited for the holidays and being with family and friends again. We hope and pray your Christmas season is blessed and full of Christ's love.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanksgiving with Family

Our trip up north was nice.  The kids slept most of the drive as planned.  When they were awake, they were  easily able to enterain themselves. 

We enjoyed a nice trip to Tilden Park on Sunday.  It is an amazing park, almost similar to Irvine Park, but on a hillside. It was super cold and overcast.  It seemed as if the sky would open any second and pour down buckets of rain on us, but it didn't.We road the train and visited the farm.  The kids had a blast!

We had a family bowling outting!  That was fun! John was the ultimate winner, but we all had a good time. Even Charlie and Gracie gave it a try.

Thanksgving was a special time of traditions.  We enjoyed preparing the foods, setting a beautiful table, had a little family walk and a fun movie together!  As you can see, Gracie was the master chef for our meal!  

We played cards until the wee hours many nights, had fun playing with the kids and tried to get some family pictures.

Thank you to all who prayed for our trip.  We traveled well, no one got hurt or real sick.  We were glad to come home and we were pleasantly surprised to come home to snow.  It has been freezing here, but I guess that is what winter is all about!  Winter camp has started and we are enjoying being with the campers again.  We will get some updates for you about that soon.  Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY TO CHARLIE! So now you will all just have to deal with some super cute pictures! I hope you don't mind. The day began with waking Charlie up to the birthday song. As you can see, he was not happy at all! (that was sarcastic!) Charlie then took a very big sniff in and said, "I don't smell cake!" He was right, I was not making a cake at 7:30 in the morning! Actually, we didn't have cake, we had cereal... for breakfast. Again, he's not happy at all!

Later in the day, Charlie and Gracie were singing and dancing in the living room. I should have taken video, but this is what I got! Notice the cool new clothes from Grandma Sue. In the afternoon, we took a trip off the hill. Charlie was excited to play (work, as he calls it) on his new Cars Laptop. He looks so official here! We went to Toys R Us where Charlie used a special gift card and some money from Grandpa Blaine to buy a Cowboy outfit. For some reason, Charlie has been talking about dressing up and playing cowboys for about two months. I am not even sure where he got that idea from. But, as seems to be the norm lately, we got the outfit and Charlie is afraid of it! This picture was taken just before the tears started. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Red Robin. Charlie got an ice cream sundae and a loud happy birthday song from the waitresses, which he hid from. Overall it was a great day! The only exception would be that we should have had the ice cream for breakfast, maybe then the sugar high would have worn off before going to bed!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Just Got These Photos

Hey look! Another family photo. We just got this picture from Scott. It was taken on our vacation in September. Also, this is just a great picture of Charlie and Gracie. They were giving each other love in the middle of amphitheater time at camp. Just wanted to share!


Yes, this is the same picture that was on our newsletter, but it is a rare occasion that we actually get a family photo, so I will put it everywhere I can! I believe Van took about 100 pictures of us this day and this was the best one! Hopefully it will get easier as the kids get bigger!
It has been a busier season than usual. We spent a lot of time in OC for camp events. It was busy but good! We really enjoyed going to our home church while we were down there. It is always nice to reconnect with friends and family there.
We are looking forward to a few weeks at home with some regular routine. It sure is beautiful here. The fall colors have come and they just glow in the sunlight. Just when we think it is getting cold and might snow, the weather shifts again. Soon we will be going to my sister's house for Thanksgiving. We are looking forward to being together, playing cards, cooking, eating, laughing, Christmas shopping and more. Charlie and Gracie have not been before. Hopefully the drive up there won't ruin the entire time! We'll see. We'd love to hear from you. Please write or call. Maybe we can get together???

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Season

First of all forgive me for the lack of posts. I had great intentions of writing about every summer camp week. This obviously didn't happen. Needless to say, summer was awsome and we are blessed to be in our Fall season. We have plans to have Lisa take over the blog postings and me handling the Facebook side. I'm excited about this because it means that you will all get to hear from her. She has such amazing insights and perspectives. Not only that but she is the one raising our kids primarily and that means that all you people who don't read the blog you just want pictures of our kids, this will be the place.
All in all this season has been an amazing time of growing, learning, and preparing for the next year that God has for us. I am praying that as we learn how to use these cool new mediums of communication that we will all feel more connected as we serve Christ together. Looking forward to postings from Lisa!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Session 5 - All things New & Junior High

Session 5 was our last Junior High camp. It was well lets say a Junior High Camp. There is a special thing about Junior Highers and that is that they are Junior Highers. That amazingly awkward yet awesome age where reason and logic are being tested by social skills and peer pressure. Someone once said that if you live through your Junior High years then you may actually grow up to be something someday. Again I'm not sure who said it, but I did right now. We had a full group of Junior highers. We had what is called the perfect ratio, 24 campers, 12 counselors. We were amazed at how God worked out the numbers. The only thing that I was worried about was the fact that 8 out of our 12 counselors were brand new. Brand new to Camp ALandale, and some brand new to the idea of ministering to abused children through a mountain camping program. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is a verse that is common when it comes to new believers and the new life that God has given us. It was the verse that really was the tone of the week as well. It reads,

"What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!"

We had quite a few veteran campers coming to camp this week so I was anticipating not many issues related to campers acting out or really trying to test our faith and our love for them. For the most part that is what happened. We had a few campers that were needing a little extra love and attention. Most of the ministry this week was the healing of so many wounds. What blessed us the most this week was watching God open our campers up and clean out the wounds. Seeing them open up and Give their hurt to God was so amazingly powerful. The Lord Really blessed this week of New. For many of our campers it really was that 2 Cor. 5:17 became their verse of the week as they accepted God's forgiveness and God started the healing work in their lives. Praise to God for his amazing work!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gideon's Mighty Men - Session 3

Session 3 – Gideon’s mighty Men
This week was an amazing reminder of the power and work that is only God’s at Camp Alandale. The week started off with 3 of our 12 counselors that were signed up canceling on us, for various reasons that none of us could control. Romans 8:28 comes in real handy during times like these. We were definitely holding on to it’s promise. We ended up with once again a full camp and were wondering how it was going to go. Let’s just say that God made those 9 counselors seem like 12. He showed us how just like Gideon it’s all about having the people that God calls more than some number or a ratio that seems to make sense. Sometimes we make plans that seem to make sense because we’ve prayed over them and all the numbers sound like they will work. Then God throws a curve ball to remind us who’ really in control.
JH Camp. 7-9th graders. It was our first taste of JH camp this summer. What was nice was that we had about more than half of the campers were veterans, meaning they have been to camp before. That mix of veterans more than helped the situation. It was a camp that surprised us in so many ways. It was also the first camp that we got to do campfire talks. They are family style talks at the end of the night where we share like parents would to their kids about God’s thoughts through His word on hot topics that teens deal with today. The last talk we do for the week is called the “freestyle talk”. At the beginning of the week we ask the campers what subjects they would like us to talk about. Their suggestions are amazing and always great discussions. From Sexual identity, to questions about God, it is always so amazing to share God’s truth with hungry and thirsty souls in need of spiritual Truth.
We did have the typical Junior High relationship stuff. You know Girls giggly and flirty with the guys and some of the guys wanting it to much and others oblivious. The great thing though was that it seemed like for the most part they took our encouragements to not get caught up in a summer camp romance and to enjoy the week with everybody.
I wish there was more that I remembered. I admit that I waited too long to really do all that God did justice in these notes. I hope your hearts are as encouraged as ours are at the amazing things that God will do when we give Him are all.
Lord Bless, and can’t wait for session 5.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Camp Week 1

This summer started big. Litterally. 28 campers, 13 counselors, 8 Jc's. Our numbers in previous years have been dismal, especially on the first camp of the summer. It was as if God opened the floodgates of heaven and rained Foster children down from heaven on us. We had enough kids on a waiting list for the first two sessions to fill a third 4-6th grade camp! Enough about numbers, because each one of those 28 campers has a name, face, life, personality and is just that a person. Due again to protection issues I can't post real names and pictures of campers, but I can tell you amazing stories of what God did in a few of those campers. One camper we had we'll call her Sherry, she had never heard about Christ or all that He had done for her. Her counselor was so excited to share with her about God's Love and how He loved her some much. She was amazed all week at the truth from the bible she was learning. There was a glow of joy and excitement about her all week because of it. It is amazing to think that a girl in Southern California can grow up and never hear the gospel. It's true, and she wasn't the first that we have ever run across. I think it's amazing that the Church in Southern California doesn't do more to reach kids in the system and kids in the poorer, drug ridden neighborhoods where hurting people are. The interesting thing about hurting people is they are just that, and they hurt others in the process, namely their kids alot of times. Those are the people that Jesus is reaching with or without the Christian Church. I am preaching instead of telling you all the amazing things that God did at camp the first week. Sorry. Back to the Glory of God.

Another example of God's amazing Grace at work at camp was a boy we'll call Tim. Tim comes from one of those neighborhoods we mentioned and his life even though he is only in 4th grade consists of fighting and crude jokes he learned from others where he lives. He had a hard time at camp, no joke. The Love of God hits hard and can freak kids out sometimes. He was one of those that got freaked out by it. I can tell you though, God's love is also like it says in the Bible, Kind. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Through the kindness of God Tim gave his heart to Jesus later on in the week. Tim went home at the end of that week to that neighborhood with Jesus in his heart!!

There is no way for me to tell all the amazing stories, because I didn't even see them all. In fact the week seemed like a blurr of people. This was the largest camp that we have ever done at Camp Alandale. We try to keep it small for a reason and this camp although amazing was too big. I know that sounds wierd, but again we keep it small for the campers sake, for the individualized attention sake, for supervision sake. The best thing about a big camp is we serve a big God who reached each and every heart, including ours that camp. Thank You Jesus for your amazing Love and work in our lives!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer Staff Training Week Reflections

I know this is coming a little late now that we are coming on Week 3 of the Summer, but I thought I would just let those of you who were praying know that our summer staff training was amazing. We bonded really well with our staff and there seemed to be a real spirit of unity. It was a lot of information for everyone to swallow and take in. That part of it we need to work on making better. It was amazing to hear everyones testimonies and how God brought them to camp for the summer. We even have one all the way from North Carolina. God is amazing and has shown us more of that balance of doing as much as we can and giving it all to Him. Ultimately there is always too much work, but we aren't trusting this summer to the hard work that we get to do, but to the God that never slumbers nor sleeps and is always keeping us in His arms. The first picture here is a picture of Jonathan and I mounting a cross behind our amphitheater. Also here is a picture of our Family at the Training week and a picture of our summer staff team. Please keep us all in your prayers as the Lord does His work in and through us at Camp Alandale.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tired Energy

There is a moment in time when you know your past the point of exhaustion and heading toward the second wind. The only thing you wonder is how long can I go on. How long can I feel like no matter how much work I do, it never seems to get done. Thus is the plight of ministry. Ministry is just that. A monster that tries to eat you and your family alive. A monster that does it's best to roar so loud you can't hear the still small voice that you so desperately need. The thing that keeps us going is the thought of Billy the camper coming to know his savior. Christ in us, the hope of glory!!. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us during this tumultuous time. Thank you for your work at work days and your voices to share the Love of Christ by speaking about what God is doing at Camp Alandale. Exciting things are happening. Out of 9 sessions 7 are completely full with waiting lists. Because of the response I can pretty confidently say that by the first day of Summer Camp our registrations will be full!!! thanks for your prayers for that and we are so blessed by all of you partnering with us...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In Two Short Weeks

In two short weeks counselors will be arriving for the very first camp of summer 2009. In two short weeks campers will be loading a bus bound for Camp Alandale. In two short weeks the months of preparation and training will traslate into action and lives changed. In two short weeks Charlie and Gracie will have to share mommy and daddy with 24 other kids. In two short weeks the new season will officially start. In two short weeks Christ will be glorified in the campers lives at Camp Alandale!

Thanks for all your prayers heading into this busy season. Please keep them up. We are really excited and tired. Pray for our children as we transition into the busiest season of our year. Pray Pray Pray.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Reason I asked Why

Some of you may already know, but my previous post was because of the sad news and finalizing of Tony and Tina Massa Leaving Camp Alandale. They were the San Diego Directors, and had been with camp for 10 years full time and 14 years total counting the years they volunteered before that. Again everybody asks why, but seriously only God knows totally. There are lots of things that God is doing through it all. The saddest part is the fact that sometimes things happen so that God can show us He is God and that we submit to His will and what He wants. In Idyllwild at the OC Camp Alandale it has bonded us closer then we have been ever i think. Praise God for that. The ashes in San Diego are still smoldering and only God knows what the future will be for our San Diego ministry. The great part is that God is still God and he still wants to reach kids for Christ in OC and San Diego and the world! So we submit to God's leading and direction and plan even if it makes me ask the question why. I just need to remember who to direct it to!

The Question Why?

Recently there have been some events that have happened that have lead me to ask the question why. It is a great word. It begs and demands an answer that would seem to somehow bring some kind of resolution or justification. The only problem is the facing the special kind of why that has no resolution, justification or even common sense. The why that leaves Calvinists and Armenianists on common ground. The why that brings Baptists and Penecostals to a potluck of ideas together. The why that leaves us with only one place to go. The place of course that we should have gone long before our aching and worrying and sleepless nights seemed to take us. The place where peace and contentment leave us with the only question left to ask. Why didn't I go to God with this in the first place!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A new era of communication

Well we are taking the plunge. The head first bellyflop into the world of blog and facebook. It is no surprise that we would need to someday, but after so many encouragements and some friends that have gone before us we knew that this medium could be used as a powerful tool to keep us all connected. My hesitation was that if we took the plunge it seems like something else to add to my list to maintain. Then it dawned on me that a few minutes a week posting a picture and sharing some praise reports would be worth it. From what I understand though those few minutes will quickly become the goal to keep me from staying to long on it.

Thanks for your patience and prayers. Please let us know if this is something you want to keep in contact with us. Post more soon!