Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm going back.

I open up the countdown app on my iPad and am greeted with a picture of the John Day river winding lazily through hills and fields. The numbers and words which are below said picture read: "127,163 mins until I get to go back to WaFaRa!!!" (And yes, I know. Having it count down the minutes may be a tiny bit excessive.) 89 days from today I will be making my way to the YoungLife camp in Antelope, OR. to provide childcare at a camp for teenage moms. 

This adventure started five weeks ago when I crammed some clothes and a tooth brush into my black duffel bag and set out for this place called Washington Family Ranch. I had no idea what I was in for, but I figured it was a good way to spend part of my Spring Break doing some manual labor with other college students in Central Oregon. However, I wasn't prepared for the way this camp would change my life. When I got there I was shocked at the sheer beauty of the place. When I hear the word “camp”, I think of dirty wooden floors under creaking bunks where you are trying to get settled on a mattress that probably had at least one kid throw up on it in the past thirty years. However this place was more like I would envision a retreat rather than a camp. During the time I was there, I realized how much I value both deep conversations with other people, and time alone out in God's creation. In between the valleys and mountain tops which is Central Oregon, I felt God restoring my soul and healing me. (Side note: my new favorite verse is Psalm 23:3a) Naturally, I couldn't wait to go back and started looking for opportunities to make that 196 mile trek once again. 



As I looked at WaFaRa's website, I found this thing called "YoungLives" which said something about childcare. I immediately thought, "oh hey! There is something that I could do!" (If you know me, you will know that I have gone overseas not once, but twice to provide childcare at missionary conferences and I have absolutely loved it.) As I read more of the details, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. Each summer YoungLife puts on a special week long camp exclusively for teen moms and their babies, thus giving them a chance to relax and be kids again without neglecting their duties as mothers. Both women and men volunteer to go cuddle and play games with the children (I know, big sacrifice!) while their moms attend the different activities. I put in my application and just four days later received the email saying I had been accepted. 

This year's camp is July 25-31, and I need to raise $500 which pays for my housing/food and also lowers the cost for these girls who may not be able to afford it otherwise. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare for this adventure, and also be praying for the girls who will be at this camp. I am so excited about the opportunity to be a part of this amazing ministry, and to then share it with all of you through words and pictures! 

For more information, click here or contact me at rebekahstraw@corban.edu 

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