Archive for August, 2009

Little Ivan and Big Ivan

August 29, 2009

Like I said in my last post I learned tons of things from working the ropes course at Champion this past summer.  I wanted to tell you a story about one of the Urban Weeks we hosted.  There was a leader named Ivan who was probably about in his mid 30’s and brought his son, little Ivan, to camp to hang out with the big kids for the week.  Little Ivan was about 8.  This kid was such a trooper and was hanging out with all the older kids through out the week.  When it was that cabin’s time to come to the ropes course, little Ivan, wanted to be with all the other kids and do the course as well.  He was too small to do it by himself so his father offered to walk through with him.  It took the Ivans about a half hour to get through the  course.  I was working the exit of the course (a crazy swing from about 70 feet in the air) so I got to watch them complete it.  As I’m watching I see little Ivan just working his tail off trying to do all of the elements.  He was constantly falling and hanging from his lobster claws but every time he did, his dad would help him get back up and keep walking.  At no point did big Ivan do anything for little Ivan until he needed help.  He allowed him to take all his own steps and make his own mistakes and do it himself, but then he was right there when little Ivan fell and couldn’t do it on his own.  Tears were streaming down my face at they made their way up the course to the swing.  It was just a good thing I was wearing sunglasses so I didn’t look like a big girl when they rolled up.  This was so special to me not because we got an 8 year old through the ropes course.  This was special because God used this experience to paint a perfect picture of our relationship with Him.  He never leaves our side but He gives us the freedom to make our own choices, take our own steps, and even fall, but is ALWAYS there when we need help back up to start walking and finish the course.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6

Fear is such a real thing not just on a 70-foot high ropes course but in life, because we fall, make mistakes, do things we regret, turn our back on God, and so on.  But God doesn’t leave us or let us go.  He is always “holding the rope” and is always there walking with us, even when He feels so distant, or I should say when we make Him seem so distant.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world .”-John 16:33

Cheers,

-Brandon

Let Me Tell You About CJ

August 24, 2009

Okay so I’m back from Lake Champion, and I cannot even begin to express in words the experience.  But however, I did want to share a couple stories, starting with one about a camper named CJ.

Working on the ropes course, we get to see kids face their fear every day.  We also see fear ruin what could be an amazing experience for that camper.  But what I really got to see was my life expressed on the ropes, and God using my time at Champion as a ropes summer staffer to teach me more and more about my relationship with Him.  At the ropes course we have whats called the pamper pole.  I don’t know why its called that but I personally think its because once you get to the top you feel like you’re going to crap yourself.  But the way this thing works is it is a 40 foot telephone pole with staples for climbing and at the top there is a about a 1×1 foot platform.  Here the campers climb up and then eventually stand up on the platform as the pole continues to wiggle and sway with the persons body wight shaking it.  Then once standing, the camper is to jump off and try to hit these hanging frisbees which are about 8 feet away from the pole, a very daunting task.  Once they jump off the belayer catches them and lets em down slowly to the ground, allowing the camper to feel as if they were free falling for a second.  Very spider man meets flying squirrel type maneuver.  So this camper CJ goes up and makes it almost to the top.  This guy is a pretty tough little 8th grader, from in inner city, talking about how easy it will be to this.  Right before he stands up he freezes and hugs the pole at the top.  He refuses to move or to get on top of the platform.  For about 45 minutes, me and a couple other ropes people try to talk him through it but he is not budging.  It got to a point where the only way he was coming down was if he could climb down backwards, which is not allowed because of danger reasons, so he just hung out up there for a good hour.  I’m belaying him and starting to get pretty tired of holding this kid up.  All he has to do is let go of the pole so he will swing away from it and we can let him down, but he doesn’t.  His reasoning is that the rope will not hold, and he’ll fall and die.  CJ at one point had both feet off, and one arm, but REFUSED TO LET GO. His only fear, the strength of the rope, was now being proven that its safe and yet he still doesn’t let go.  Him holding on at this point is literally doing nothing at this point to support his weight, and all of his weight is being supported by this “incapable rope.”  Eventually one of our ropes interns went and did a rescue on CJ, and was able to let him down.  CJ who had been in tears for the past half hour and now curled up in his leaders arms sobbing.  The cool part of this story wasn’t CJ making it down.  The amazing part is that God used CJ to show me what MY life is like.  What i was able to realize is that I AM CJ.  Everything in my heart knows that I can trust God, His will for my life, and His ability to hold me up, but I still refuse to trust Him.  I always need the security of something else, which makes no sense, because us like in CJ’s case, that thing we hold on to is really HOLDING US BACK.  I keep thinking of what it must have been like for the disciples every time Jesus asked them to trust Him.  They argued and didn’t believe but Jesus proved reliable and faithful each and every time, just like that rope.  Once they “made it down safely”, I wonder how many found themselves in tears needing to be held.

This story was such an amazing encouragement and conviction to me this summer.  I can’t even start to fathom what God will be able to do with me when I finally start letting go!

Hope you enjoyed it, and got something out of it.  More to come.

Cheers,

-Brandon