Friday, July 9, 2010

North and South

Well, for the past 2 weeks, we've driven three hours north, two hours south, then another 8 hours south.

We spent our first week of vacation at Fort Wilderness in northern Wisconsin. Peter was the speaker for a children's camp there. He taught about sixty 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds about Jesus in the mornings and evenings, and the afternoons were filled with all sorts of outdoor activities. Peter has spoken there before, but this was the first time our sons were the "right" ages for the camp. They had a blast, got dirty, spent lots of time outdoors, and got to see their Daddy in his element.

Part of the reason Fort Wilderness is so special to us is that Peter and I have visited during each different stage of married life. He spoke to a high school youth group's winter camp when we were first married, and to another high school retreat when Aaron was our only child. We brought both boys there when they were 2 and 3 for a boys' camp, then again three summers ago while we waited to travel to India to bring home Anya Rashi. This time, we were waiting for baby #4 -- and we hope to go back again in two years with four children.

We stayed in a sweet little cabin nestled at the bottom of a hill that leads down to the lake. The boys LOVED the loft they slept in. Hope no one is squeamish about rodents . . . because we found out when we were packing to leave (ICK!) that some mice called the loft home.

Anya Rashi started out in a cute built-in wooden toddler bed, but graduated to the pack & play next to our bed after the first (sleepless) night. Poor thing -- she was so excited about the bed, but it was just too different from home.

After our week at camp, we drove down to Milwaukee. After cooking out with my sister and her neighbors (who have sons the same age as Aaron and Nathan) it was time to walk down to the lakeshore. We watched amazing fireworks over Lake Michigan, and could see them reflected in the tall buildings along the shoreline.

Then, we drove south to visit some friends in Kansas City. We spent some time at the International House of Prayer with them, which is such a restorative place to be. One night, I spent two hours in a prayer gathering devoted to praying for victims of human trafficking. We were praying specifically for children in Rio de Janeiro, which is the 2nd most-frequented city for s*x tourism in the world. It was painful and glorious at the same time to know about the depravity that happens there, but be united with others who share God's concern for these forgotten children.

For anyone who is interested, they have a ministry called Exodus Cry that is devoted to praying against and ending human trafficking. They will debut a documentary (scheduled for December 2010) about trafficking called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.

That last topic isn't exactly "vacation-y", but it's something I'm passionate about. It goes hand-in-hand with my passion for adoption, since many children who "age out" of orphanages are easy prey for traffickers who promise legitimate jobs, then send children into hell on earth. The Red Letters blog on the sidebar is also devoted to trafficking, if you're interested.

Now, we've spent two nights in our own beds (but I'm not caught up on laundry!), and my kids are getting used to regular life again . . . and being forced to shower and bathe a little more regularly again. :o)


Candice said...

I have such fond memories of summer camps! Now my kids are going too and it's so fun to see! It will be awesome for you to go back as a family of 6 I'm sure!

I already follow Tom Davis's blog and love his passion for Christ and the helpless! He is such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing!


Emily said...

What a wonderful Summer adventure! It sounds so fulfilling in so many ways. Isn't it amazing to visit a special place at different times in your life? It's like a living memory album, reminding you of how much you've grown as a family. Glad to hear you are enjoying your own beds, and regular baths :) Emily

theheartofachild said...

I share your passion. Love what Tom Davis and his ministry are doing!!! I also have been to IHOP and LOVE that place! Our prayer chapel at church streams in the 24 hour prayer awesome!

Julie & Patrick said...

That little cabin sounds wonderful! How fun to road trip it to so many great places...within hours of where you live and to spend such quality time focusing on the great causes you support.

Coming home to your own bed always feels so good too! Yay, for summer adventures!


Jeff and Leslie said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I really enjoy camping and can't wait until Manu is a little older so that he will really enjoy it too. That said, it's always nice to be back home.

The Labontes said...

Sounds like a wonderful family vacation - full of love, fun, God. Not too bad. Max is still talking frequently of his "India Family," Anya Rashi being the target of much curiosity and desire.


Alarie and Todd said...
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Alarie and Todd said...

welcome home! sounds fun! I grew up attending church camp and later counseling at one. miss it now that my nephew is there this year! So glad you all had a chance to get away as a family and enjoy..won't it be that much more fun when you have all 4 of your children together and get to return?! YAY! looking forward to any news on the horizon!