27 07 2009

 Well again this is kind of a late post, but its certainly a post worth posting! Anyways a week ago I went to a camp called Royal Family Kid’s Camp that my dad had been raving on and on about. This was a camp specifically for abused children. My dad said that it was one of his favorite places on earth, and it had better been since he bought some much for it. We would be walking around the block when we would see a sign for a yard sale, I would laugh and comment how they were probably just selling a bunch of crap but when I would turn around my dad would already be over half way there. The next time I would see him he would be carrying home a bag full of crap like a Santa Clause out of a job. Well as they say one man’s crap is another man’s treasure.

 My point is that my dad bought all this to use in his lessons at RFKC, he bought all of this because he loved the camp so much. So finally I was old enough to come, actually I wasn’t even old enough to come being only 15 but they made an exception this year. Along with me two other 15 year olds came. I was a bit iffy about going considering that my dad brought a huge bag of crap to camp every year for his lessons! =D

 Well actually, camp was great! In fact it was one of the best experiences of my life. In fact, my dad’s lessons were amazing. He was creative and he really captured the kids attentions. It was truly amazing.

 When the staff took the ride up to the ranch that we would be working at I got a little background on the camp. As stated already its made specifically for abused children. Many were abused by their parents physically, but the greater percentage were abused in even worse ways. Most were abused in ways to graphic to write about. Honestly, how their parents did these things to these children is beyond me. A parent would have to be pretty sick minded to do such demonic things. RFKC seeks to help this kids forget all this in a week of fun, were they can just have a good time and learn about God.

 We put a lot of work into preparation and that was ok, but I really didn’t start enjoying myself until the kids arrived. The first day of camp me the teens, and the other helpers woke up early in order to get on the bus that would take us to the church were the kids would be arriving. As they would arrive we would pack their luggage. On the bus ride back to the ranch were they would be saying I got to know a few of the kids. Already I was seeing how awesome these children were.

 As we pulled into the ranch we were met by the children’s guides and my dad, the youth pastor. They were screaming and waving the signs that had the name of the children they would be looking after inscribed on them. My dad, always eager and truly excited about camp, had already gotten his grey hair painted with colorful polka-dots.  When the bus stopped the children got out to meet the adult who would be looking after them for the remainder of the week.

 The rest of the week was insane! I mean donkey screaming, hair coloring, birthday throwing insane! Basically it was just really crazy, in a good way. So the first day went by, and the night of the first day is when things really started becoming awesome. So we are all eating dinner when we get an announcment. So it turns out that there is a mountain lion at the camp! Pretty cool right? Well cool if you don’t count the ten dead campers. Haha yeah just kidding, nothing was harmed by the mountain lion, except for all the animals in the petting zoo. (Thats right it ate all the animals in the petting zoo.) The mountain lion did however cause quite a commotion.

 During the third night is when it all started. It was a mildly stormy, and not so dark night. We were all enjoying the sticky heat of Texas when the ear piercing scream of a donkey was heard through the night! We all headed for cover and waited while and listened to the emanating shrieks of the disturbed donkey’s. Well, to make a super long story short, there was a lot of commotion but it was all a bit anti-climatic seeing as the mountain lion had just been passing by the donkey’s and that is why the freaked out. Yeah its much more suspensful when you describe it slowly word for word, and drag it on and on, but unlike most I don’t have that much time to write on my blog cause unlike most I have a life. 😉 

 Well so you get the drift, there was a lot of drama, but honestly none of that really mattered in the end. More importantly were the people and kids. As for the people I met a lot of great ones there. In fact, when I first got there my dad would be walking me around and then point at a guy and say that that was one of his favorite people in the entire world, and I would look at him and say, “Dad you’ve said that about everybody here!”. Seriously,  my dad thought the people who volunteered here were great, and I saw that too. They really were awesome people.

 When I thought about it and for a while I was confused about how these people were so great at RFKC, but at most other places the people their just weren’t. My dad explained it like this. Everyone that comes to RFKC to help the kids. They set aside their faults to help these kids. As my dad said he wouldn’t necessarly like some of the people outside of camp, but during camp he enjoys everyone. Thats because we are all working towards one main goal. As my dad put it, when a group of people work towards the same common goal it’s a beautiful thing. Sure, all of the people who work at RFKC are amazing people, but they have their faults. When they come to RFKC they set those faults aside for the kids, and they all get along because they’re all working towards a common goal. As my dad said, its one of the most beautiful things that you’ll ever see.

 The best part of RFKC, is the whole reason that it was created, the kids. The kids top it all off, they are what makes the whole experience truly spectacular. I made friends with quite a lot of the kids, and just talking to them I knew that they were great kids. This showed me even more that the fact that the parents did such horrible things to these kids makes them perveted, twisted, wretches. I’ve heard some of these children’s stories, and they had to be some of the worst things I have ever heard. I’ve never heard anything as bad in movies, songs, stories, anything worse than what happened to some of these kids. I knew if I was one of these kids, I’d feel horrible, I’d be completely miserable. But when the children come to this camp, they forget all of that. They forget all of their suffering, and they have a blast! They smile all the time when their here, and its just so amazing that they could forget all the filth in their lives for a week and just have a fun.

 There are so many great things that the camp did for these kids. For one, it teaches them about the bible, and thats probably its greatest purpose. If they believe what the camp is saying about God then they will find a friend that they will never lose, a friend that will always be with them. Also, these kids enjoy themselves for once and its just great.

 For example, there was this one girl, a small little girl, and she would come up to my dad every day and say, “Pastor Mike, we have to do something for my birthday ok?”. Her birthday had been last week, and that hadn’t celebrated it. So she would ask, and ask, and ask. Then Thursday came, every Thursday at camp they would throw a party that was for every kid there, a birthday party for all of them because most of them didn’t get birthday parties and at the camp the workers want to let the kids know how special they really are. So we get the party set up, and then open the doors and let the kids in. As they ran in we’d all clap for them and then sing happy birthday. As you can imagine all the kids were ecstatic, but the one that was the happiest was that one small girl who had been asking and asking my dad for a party. She came up to him, weeping tears of joy, and said, “Thank you Pastor, thank you.” My dad was so touched that he couldn’t help himself from crying either. Practically, everyone that saw how happy she was ended up crying.

 That being said, most of the kids effect the adults more than the adults effect them. As my dad explained during one of his sermons, helping to teach these children, and helping to give  them such a good time helps those working for the children more than it actually helps the kids. Sure, doing all this work is super hard, but its all worth it. Most of us would do anything to make these kids happy, I even colored my hair and let the girls mess around with it a little. Seeing these kids, who have suffered more than anyone should have to, enjoy our work is one of the best feelings ever. Seeing them smile brings an even bigger smile to our face, and seeing them leave causes us to weep thinking of how much were going to miss them, and thinking of the kind of life they have to go back to. Finally, I understand why every week after Royal Family Kids Camp my dad would come back with pink colored hair and tears in his eyes.

Me after coloring my hair and then letting a group of kids mess around with it. Anything for the kids!

Me after coloring my hair and then letting a group of kids mess around with it. Anything for the kids!



25 07 2009

 Well, before I took my venture to the United States I took a two week trip to India! This is a way over due post, and my mom, Monica, probably already stole this post. Trust me though mine will be ten-fomillion-gazillion-brazillion times better than my mom’s!

 Anyways, this trip to India had a lot of build up, but most of that is boring so I won’t go into the details. Basically, we paid lots of money, went to lots of meetings, and sold lots of homeade chocolate chip cookies! =D In the end, though, we all made it to India… Well, after a few plane rides.

The Entire India Group

The Entire India Group

 We arrived in Chennai and stayed the night at the YWCA. You got to come the YWCA! Yeah, sorry I got a bit carried away. Anways, we only stayed there for a night and a day before we took the night train to Ooty! Believe me though the night train might not sound so exciting, but its less exciting than it actually sounds. Also even though it was at night we didn’t get much sleep laying on a bed between two snoring beast with you’re luggage as the only source of some sort of pillow.

On the roof of the YWCA

On the roof of the YWCA


 So the night train wasn’t so glamorous, but at least I can say I did it. Ooty made up for all the suffering though, it was amazing. We met the most amazing people there and it was just beautiful. We stayed at a guest house that was surronded by woods and had such activites as volleyball, a rope swing, and internet. I hadn’t felt such good weather in a long time. While there we were served good food and entertainment… Oh yeah and of course we did a bit of sightseing around India. 😉

 When it all adds up Ooty was a relaxation time, but when we got back to Chennai we started the work. The first day we were introduced to CMCA the church that we would be working through. After that we got a goods night sleep, we would need it.

Back to Chennai on the day train!

Back to Chennai on the day train!

 The activities that lay ahead of us were so much as manual labor as just singing, doing skits, and praying. It didn’t seem that important to us, but as may explained it probably helped more than any hard labour we could’ve done would. We didn’t helped to create so much as we helped to raise spirits, and just try and give these people a few get things to help get them through the pain and suffering they were going through. We based most of everything we did around christianity in the hopes that we might convert a few people, or at least inform them of the good christ is doing. For the most part though, many of them were christians.

By working through CMCA we saw the impact that they were having on India. It wasn’t just a small impact either, it was massive. They were truly doing a ton for India as a whole. They were working hard and to an effect. This fact filled all of our hearts with hope.

 While there we helped distribute food, we visited schools, we put on skits at the church, we visited a Tsunamie effected village, helped pray at the homes of HIV/AIDS patients, and helped out at a leprosy colony. The thing that probably effected me the most out of all of this was visiting the slums. The living conditions there were bearable, but they weren’t at all the conditions someone should have to live through. The houses are basic stone blocks, with a single or limited amount of rooms. There wasn’t much space especially for larger families. Not only that, but the place was covered with filth. The trash was dumped just a little ways from the houses into the sea, for where else did they have to put it? Their were flies everywhere! Around the food especially. I’m sure that many people got horribly sick, or died from just eating.

 The most powerful thing I saw on the day we visited the slums though, was not the tragic position of the people living there, not their small dirty houses, not the rotting food, but the smile that most of the residence bore. Despite this place that most of us would hate to live in, they were happy. As we entered into the slums many of the kids flocked around us, shouting, and wearing huge smiles. They put out our hands trying to shake hands with every single one of us. Young and old one alike smiled as we passed.

 Perhaps they were just smiling because we were there, but I think its much more than that. I think that gernerally many of them were much happier than most of us with fancy houses, and cool cars. I think this is because they knew how to enjoy the simplier things in life. Without the distraction of material things such as videogames, or computers, or plasma screen TV’s they were able to focus on the things that brought true happieness, and even deeper than that true joy. Without that desire for more, more, more they were satisfied with what they had. They could enjoy things that most of us would take for granted. They might wake up in the morning and just smile at the wind against their skin, or the song of the birds in the air, or the warmth of sun in the sky.

 What I mean by saying this is not that having a good house, or a car is a bad thing, but that sometimes we get to much material things, or we distract ourselves completely with them. When we do this we either just don’t realize the true beauty around us, or we create a heart within us that just pleads for more videogames, or more clothes, and a heart like that can never be filled. A heart like that can never be appeased, a heart like that can never be truly happy for very long before it gets hungry with greed again. Most importantly though, a heart like that can’t discover the value of pure joy. All n all, I understand the need to help the residents of the slums, to get them better houses, and better food, but by living in the slums most of them have learned a very valuable lesson. The true awesomeness of life is found not in what you own, but the very creation that God created for us in the first place to enjoy.

Garden of the Gods

25 07 2009

 Well, I live in Thailand, but for most of the summer I’ve been visiting the United States, my place of birth. While here I’ve been to Texas and done many things there but for the moment I’m staying in Colorado Springs at one of my mom’s old college friend’s house. So yesterday she took us out to visit the Garden of the Gods. I’ve been there before but it was refreshing and brought back many good memories.

 When we first got there we ate our lunch. After this we hiked around stopping every five minutes so that my brother could pet every dog he saw. We’d be walking around when my brother would see a four legged creature, he would then scream “Dog!” run after it ‘ask’ the owner to pet it and then proceed to show his love for all dog kind while the owner had just opened their mouth to answer.

 Well, eventually we got to the rocks, but of course not without the persitant complaining of the many younger kids. They would walk and moan until they spotted a rock, they would then get a sudden spurt of energy, climb all over the rock, get back down, and then moan and complain about how tired they were and how they were going to die.

 When we started getting to the bigger rocks my mom whipped out here always beside her camera. Me and my younger siblings would be climbing some of the rocks when my mom would command us to stop, usually in an akward position. She would smile and take pictures, then delete the picture she took and take another one. This usually resulted with us either wedged between two rocks, stuck with our foot behind our heads, or left hanging bearly on to life by holding with one hand on a particulary high rock for thirty minute intervals or more. Sometimes I wonder if mom thinks that pain adds to the beauty of her pictures. 😉

 At one point I had climbed to the highest point of a moderatly high rock, my mom was just positioning her dreaded camera when a ranger pulled up in a small vehicle that resembled a golf cart. He shouted up at me that it was illegal to climb the rocks and that they had “Two firetrucks and an ambulance!”

 At that point we decided it was a good time to be leaving. Along the way my mom babbled on about her paranoid conspiracy that the ranger was actually threatening us because he had, “two fireturcks and an ambulance that could heal any near death wounds he tried to inflict upon us.”

 Finally we made it home, and with only a few scrapes and bumps to show from my mom’s picture taking! (Usually someone ends up having to go to the hospital. That is when the true beauty of my mom’s work comes out =p). Upon arriving the once half-dead kids had a miracluous recovery! They were bouncing off the walls and running around in circles in no time. The rest of the day was pretty trainquil, at least until I got attacked by a group of energectic 7 year olds at a slumber party, but that is for another post.

A beginning

24 07 2009

 As you can see I am starting a blog. I have many reasons for starting one. For one, Its a great way to express myself and my feelings. Secondly, I have to make a blog that will rival even my moms who started a blog, in my opinion, just to make fun of me. 😉  Most of all though, I think that it will be a great way to hone my writing skills. This is very important for me since I plan to pursue a career as an author. Well I hope many of you will read my blog in the future, and will enjoy it. Though I guess it doesn’t really matter very much if you don’t like it just as long as you read it. =)