Monday, August 22, 2005
Warm Beach 2005: the massive update

Lots 'o pictures first, reflections last. Sorry dial-up.

This year's high school speaker was Pastor Gar Nishioka from Japanese Presbyterian Church. And yeah, it's fun to have another person around called "Gar". He was a great speaker who gave honest, direct, and conversational messages to the kids.

JC was this year's worship leader. Notice his t-shirt... heh.

Returning counseling veterans Samantha and Alli... Sam wasn't feeling the Scrabble.

Ryan and Chris matching up over chess. Chris graciously directed this year's camp and did an awesome job.

Late night hold 'em action in the highschool boys' cabin.

As this year's organized rec leader, I made sure that the game time was best spent making everyone (camper & counselor alike) look ridiculous. Allison, Jayna, Evan, Victor, and Pat all demonstrate how to pass candy via a toothpick. =D

Nina, Christine, and Shelly. Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a counselor and who's a camper... everyone looks young to me.

A mini UW AACF reunion of sorts, with us re-enacting an old picture. Ray and I were helping with the junior high / high school camp, while everyone in the back was helping with the children's camp (pre-k to 5th grade).

The youth leading worship during 'family night' on Saturday evening.

Trying to pinch the sun...

The 7:00AM morning leaders' meeting... zzz.

Pat and Evan dual against each other in a round of oshiri-do, pitting first and second year counselors against each other.

Have no fear, the mature kids are here! Hahaha. Zach, Kristen, me.

Me and the CBC high school guys (Ed, Jeremy, Kelvin, and Kevin up front) who were also in my small group at the CBC youth retreat. Wu-Tang!

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto... beep beep, Pert & Allison.

Sean and I are hungry ninjas. Need food, please.

This year's awesome crew of counselors... and I'm one of the OLDEST. Oh man...
Back row, L-R: John, JC, Victor, Pat, Pert, Tiffany, Ray, Evan. Middle row, L-R: Sam, Shelly, Alli, Allison, Jayna, Courtney, Chris. Front: me, Ryan.

My very own Warm Beach souvenir... a slightly sprained ankle from a competitive game of ultimate frisbee with the kids & counselors where I "found" a pothole in the field. =P

The "super-sized" gallery of these pics and more can seen right here:


If there was one thing I missed while I was in Japan, it was the opportunity to serve and minister at the annual JEMS Warm Beach camp. This year was memorable for me in that a lot of the kids I counseled back in 2002 and 2003, and the BASIC kids from CBC, especially the young guys who were in my small groups, have really matured and become leaders - they take the initiative to make friends with the new campers, to pray, etc. While maybe part of my ego would love to take credit for that, I know that their growth as people comes from God's provision and faithfulness. To be able to participate in that process and witness it happen are privileges that I have only by grace, not by merit.

I still remember how awkward I first felt working with the kids back when Amy (who was the Pacific Northwest JEMS youth minister at the time) asked me to help at Warm Beach. It almost feels like another lifetime.

But yeah... I'm glad that I really went and participated this year. Between all the craziness of taking my mom to the ER, work for Wing Luke, and preparing for grad school (still gotta find a place to live...), I actually seriously considered not going at all. Still, I felt compelled to go anyways... maybe it was from a sense of obligation, but I'd like to believe that it was God Himself calling me because He wanted to refresh the lesson that no matter what personal trials I may be facing, I can still find joy in serving others - whether it's praying for them, listening to their problems, playing frisbee with them, eating with them, writing a note to encourage them, etc.

I was also reminded of the importance of being in a community of believers. I think of these verses:

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:10-12)

Working with the kids was such an encouragement because in the way they cared for each other and even me (their hair-less emcee/rec leader) were reflections of God's love. Many Christians are fond of dropping the phrase "God is love" without considering that such an abstract and revolutionary concept is more that just an idea, it's a spiritual law that compels action. As human beings, it was God's intention that we both be the benefactors and promoters of His love... but too many people seem content to receive and never give. The irony of doing so is that when we forget to care about others, when we forget to be the bearers of the compassionate and conditionless love that only comes from God, we cripple ourselves from being able to understand what love really is. Love can never be understood without the context other human beings.

(/remove soapbox)

In any case, I praise God that Warm Beach was great for the kids... it being great for myself is just added bonus. On a somewhat related note, it sort of has renewed my heart for the next CoHi...


ahhh...thank you so much for the WB update!!! man, it's so nice to see WB continue on and it's amazing how some of the leaders were jr. highers when i first led camp. I feel OLD!! praise God for his faithfulness...and thank you, garrett, for your dedication to the youth! funny, but i was strangely drawn to look at my old WB photo albums on sunday, not even realizing that it was WB weekend. i guess it's in my blood... thanks again!
ok, i have to say it. your foot is not pretty...and i ain't talking about the swelling. :D
Hey Gar, Thanks for this post. You have no idea how much i needed to remember that verse. A million heartfelt thanks~
swirley - yay for WB updates!

steph - haha.

bek - np.
nice pics!!!

haha, that re-enacted picture definitely looked familiar. had to do a double take.
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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



UnseenGC @ AIM
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