Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Family Camp

We've returned from our annual vacation at Village Creek Bible Camp. You might wonder why we drive twelve hours every summer for family camp. For starters...
  • Atmosphere. Village Creek Bible Camp is nestled in a valley not far from the Mississippi River in northern Iowa. We enjoyed highs in the upper 80s, cool evenings, starry nights, and misty mornings.
  • Spiritual Renewal. Family Camp gives us a week to spiritually recharge. The daily chapel services in the morning and evening have inspiring worship music and moving speakers. Our kids have classes led by counselors who love Jesus and lead them in games, songs, and Bible lessons.

  • Challenges. Family Camp has activities like the Tree Climb. Sydney climbed all the way to the top, sixty feet in the air, for the first time this year. Hope did it again this year, and Lane made it part way up.

  • Family Time. The Men and Boys breakfast (Lane and his cousin are pictured below) gave Mr. Edwards and Lane an early breakfast in the woods. The guys charged a hill, cooked "boar meat" on sticks over an open fire, smeared charcoal all over their faces, drank Mountain Dew, and heard from the word of God.

  • Tea Party. Sydney, Hope, and I had tea together at the Girls Tea Party. Our hostess read "The Princess and the Pea" and spoke about being true princesses. Like the princess in the story, genuine princesses who are children of the King will be unable to sleep with sin that is unconfessed. We had lemonade, tea, truffles, tarts, and gummy butterflies. (The Edwards girls are pictured with their friend.)
  • The Lake. The swimming lake is the main destination every afternoon. One of the Edwards family highlights was Toby speeding down the big black water slide. I stood at the bottom, thinking I would catch him. Instead, he came at me like a bullet and knocked me flat. Only my hat was above water! But no one had a camera for that one.

  • Instruction Hours. There are so many possibilities for instruction hour activities, it is impossible to do them all. We found time for: archery (Lane shoots his arrow, below), paintball gun range, pony rides (Toby is shown below), beading, creek stomping, rockets, trampoline, and leather crafts.

  • Arena Lessons. For an extra fee, Sydney and Hope had an arena lesson every morning for an hour. They learned the basics of riding and leading a horse as well as caring for a horse.

  • Kayaking on the Mississippi. Every year Mr. Edwards and I kayak about four miles on the Mississippi along with a group of campers. We usually see bald eagles and other wildlife. This year was no exception. We also watched an enormous barge pass by the main channel carrying coal up river. As we stood on the sandy shore of the beach we had kayaked to, the passing barge created a swirling suction of water current. It was thrilling and fearful all at once.
  • Family Assistants. Village Creek family camps assign staff assistants to each family for the week. We were blessed with two: Abbie and Taylor. Abbie is a college student and has been working at Village Creek for most of the summer. Taylor is a high schooler who participated in the JUMP program, which is an introduction to working as a camp counselor. The family assistants at Village Creek are the jewels of the camp experience. These young men and women are passionate about Jesus and serving Him. Their summer experience is hard, hard work but they are discipled and trained for service by the full-time camp staff. The picture below was taken right after we arrived at camp. As soon as we stepped out of your car we were matched with our assistants. After initial greetings they asked, "What can we do to help you get settled? Would you like us to take your kids over to the playground?"   Abbie and Taylor were tremendous helpers and outstanding role models for the Edwards children. What a blessing!


Berglund Family said...

Hi you guys! Good to see your blog, and I plan to keep on reading it. If you're at all interested, this is my blog: It's a bit more the pictures I take than pictures of me, but still...


Sharon said...

Wow! This does sound like the ultimate in family getaways - time out from the run of the mill, opportunities to have fun as a family and a time to be renewed and blessed by daily Biblical teaching. And here is little ol me looking forward to the Perth Womens' Convention in a few weeks which only lasts for 6 hours! I am glad for you that you had such a good, restful (in the Biblical sense) and refreshing time.

What did you think of the girls & mum's tea talk on princesses? Did you think it was just a self-esteem talk? Or did it talk of the blessings of having God as our Heavenly Father, and being co-heirs with Jesus? Sometimes these "princess" talks can get a bit like just another pep talk, so I'm interested to hear more of how this one was.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

The young woman who hosted our tea was a college age girl working (very hard I might add) in the camp's kitchen all summer.

She opened the tea by saying, quite briefly, "How many of you pretend to be princesses?" Of course, my daughters (one of which routinely reads straight from the giant "Complete Brothers Grimm") raised their hands. Then she went on to tell how if we believe in Jesus we are, in fact, princesses because we are daughters of the King of the Creation. Then she said, "I'd like to read you a story."

She opened up her book and read "The Princess and the Pea" from a children's treasury of stories. At the conclusion, she said that we are like the true princess and that sin in our life should make us feel black and blue so that we can't sleep. "How many of you feel really sorry when you've sinned?" More raised hands. She talked a bit about confession and then went on the with the tea.

I thought it was beautifully done and a blessing because it was clearly the contribution of the young lady hosting the tea. It was mostly just a sweet young hostess who loves Jesus giving us a new way to look at an old favorite fairy tale.

One of the blessings of camp, which probably came through in the post, is not only seeing how our own children are impacted, but seeing how God is transforming the young people who staff the summer camps. The directors of this camp do a wonderful job of creating a partnership in service in the family camps. I was very inspired, for example, by the faith of our assistant Abbie and her desire to find His will for her life, which lies before her. It is a great example to my children. Meanwhile, she often said that she loved seeing families seeking God together as an example for her and her hope for being a wife and mom some day.

Glory to God!

Good to hear from you, Sharon! I wish I could join you at the Womens' Convention, or at least for a little tete a tete over tea.

Sharon said...

Thanks for writing for me about this, Amy, I appreciate it. It sounds like the talk was more in line of an object lesson, just using the cultural idea of princesses as the starting point, which is quite far from how most "Christian princess" talks seem to go. It sounds like a wonderful springboard for intimate mother-daughter conversations afterwards, as well.

I was thinking after I commented how much a blessing the service of those young people would have been to your family and also to themselves! It would have been a great opportunity for them to learn about parenthood from someone other than their own parents. It would also have given them, I imagine, an opportunity to take a closer look at a Christian marriage - again, other than their parents'. Also the opportunity to be trained by the longer-term camp staff.

Jeff was the speaker at a church camp for teens last summer and he said one of the best things he got out of it was seeing how well-taught and how enthusiastic and diligent in their service the leaders (mostly early 20s) were.

God Bless!
~ Sharon

Ruth said...

What a fantastic family camp! There are just so many organised activities which all sound so great! We would love to come on a camp like this... it almost sounds worth flying over for!

The Men and Boys breakfast, and Tea Party really sound wonderful and so well organised.

I found your blog through Sharon's blog... I had Sharon and her 4 children over to my house today and we had a lovely time. Want to come visit? :-)

Mrs. Edwards said...

I'd love to come over for a visit! If my bank account made that possible I'd make plans right away!!!

As it is I'm enjoying the online conversations.

Thanks for checking out my blog.

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