This summer, 18 of our Austin members flew to California to participate in a domestic mission trip by leading the JoyCamp Retreat for 2nd & 3rd graders (including our children at the church plants). It was an opportunity to teach the children about God, enjoy the beauty of God's creation in the Sierra Nevadas, and have times of fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Berkeley. We started with 5 nights of preparation as we brainstormed for the messages, puppet show, Bible activities and games.
As we arrived at Berkeley, we were warmly greeted by the brothers & sisters of Kairos Christian Fellowship. They gave us an amazing tour of San Francisco, starting off with some delicious In-N-Out Burger on the drive to SF, followed by eating a gigantic mountain of ice cream (a.k.a. the EARTHQUAKE), and then enjoying a nice view of the bay.
The next day, we began a packed day starting with attending the Berkeley JoyLand service. We were able to meet the children and also see all of the behind-the-scenes work that is put into JoyLand every Sunday. Then, the Austin team joined the worship service at Buffet Town that was packed with college students.
The following day, we were headed for Sierra Lodge! JoyCamp kicked off with the theme of The Great Adventure.
One of our activities was taking in the beauty of Lake Tahoe. The brother teachers set up a nice blockade for the kids to protect them from getting into the deeper parts of the lake. Quickly we realized the water was freezing from the recent snow melt. The kids weren't deterred though, continuing to splash the teachers repeatedly. And we obliged by splashing them back - nicely.
On our last night we had a great time around the campfire. We roasted marshmallows, sang campfire songs, and had team time with the other teachers after after the kids went to bed. The brothers realized that they could not pass up a chance to play basketball at Sierra Lodge and concluded with some basketball fellowship at midnight.
It was a meaningful and memorable mission trip for all of us who attended as we saw the children coming to a deeper understanding of God and the gospel and we were so thankful to be a part of it this past summer.