Lake Lundgren Bible Camp. Each year, Jeff serves as the missionary speaker for a week and, in return, we all enjoy a fun, relaxing northwoods getaway.
This year, we shared camp with kids going into seventh through ninth grade, including a bunch from our own church. And we enjoyed getting to know the Bible teacher, Pastor Tim (originally from Texas, but serving now as a youth pastor in Peshtigo); his intern, Robbie; Miss Eileen the craft lady, who helped the girls make fleece pillows; and Zoe and Isaiah, the children of the camp's new program director and his wife, plus Zoe's friend, Whitney, who came to visit for a few days at the end of the week. Rachel and Abigail also renewed their friendships with Elena and Caleb, children of the camp's head cook and his wife, and we all enjoyed seeing Mike and Ruth Hryshkanych, the overall camp directors.
Jeff and the girls spent lots of time on or in the water, including a boat ride for which Rachel rowed over half the time and lots of swimming, both at Hryshkanychs' dock and the camp waterfront. I purposely chose to remain on land (i.e., dry and warm, owing to the unseasonably cool weather this year!) and realized rather quickly - much to my own surprise - that I wasn't very nervous at all about the girls' safety in the water. When I thought about it, I realized that I didn't feel an emotional need to be "right there." Instead, I could see that they now understand basic water safety and also - thanks to their summer swimming lessons! - have enough skill to manage most situations. Of course, I was glad Jeff was with them, but it was no small matter that I felt secure enough to stay out of the water myself.
When Jeff was speaking at morning chapel or when he was otherwise "working" - attending Pastor Tim's evening chapel sessions, speaking at a staff meeting, or working the waterfront "buddy board" - the girls and I spent a fair amount of time at Purple Park. They climbed and slid on the equipment, and I read...a lot! In fact, to my own amazement, I devoured three books from start to finish in just one week - almost 700 pages! - a feat I'm sure I've not come close to at any time other than when I was in college.
Two of the books (The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo and Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley) were kid-related - titles I needed to pre-read to decide on their appropriateness for the girls. They were, nonetheless, good reads - books I'd recommend for "tweens" and above.
As for the third - The Reason for God by Timothy Keller - it deserves at least an entire post all to itself! I cannot begin to do it justice in just a few sentences, but suffice it to say for now that I think it's very likely one of the best "God books" I've ever read and, perhaps, the best book in terms of presenting faith in Christ as a viable option to modern, generally rather skeptical or secular Americans. In fact, I'm quite sure that copies of the book will find their way into my shopping cart as I consider Christmas gifts later this year. :^)
Like me, the girls seem to be "homebodies." So - though we weren't "homesick"– we were thinking of home and cuddles with our kitties by about Thursday afternoon. Not at all wishing for our last couple of days to rush by, but just appreciating the comforts of home even as we took full advantage of the peacefulness of camp. And so we happily pulled into our driveway this past Saturday afternoon. But we very much hope for a return engagement next summer, when we'll celebrate our fifth anniversary as a "Lake Lundgren family."