My family are avid campers. Not the kind of camping that involves tramping up the sides of mountains carrying your survival necessities on your back. Also not the kind of “camping” that requires that you drive a bus outfitted to resemble your living room from place to place enjoying nature. No, our camping kind of takes the middle ground.
We like fresh air, cooking outside, feeling the wind but we also like staying dry.
Dry turns out to be a pretty big deal.
Looking on the Sunny side
We loaded up our tent trailer and dragged it down to the Oregon coast on the first Monday of spring break. The weather report said that we MIGHT get a SMALL AMOUNT of sun on ONE day but we didn’t care. The trailer would keep us dry and, if it was really cold, it had a heater of sorts.
We’d be fine. We were excited. This is one of our favourite places to visit.
Our trip started out poorly.
There was an electrical problem and none of the trailer lights worked. We found an RV fix-it place and they had us on the road three and a half hours later.
Oh well…we’re going camping!
It rained (poured actually) all the way to the Oregon coast without a break. It was cold and windy. No problem.
Except there was actually one problem.
A River Runs through it
When we got to the campsite, the people at the little check-in booth had sort of a, “sorry, folks” kind of look. I was a bit concerned. They explained that the campsite was flooded.
“A little flooded?” I asked (we’re seasoned campers…a little extra water is no big deal).
No, really flooded.
They suggested that we go have a look at our reserved site. We did and noted that the water in the site was actually too deep to drive through. There was a current running through the campground! There was not a spot that wasn’t completely covered in standing water. It was ugly! “Not to worry!” said the friendly park personnel. “We have made arrangements for you to go to the next campground (about 20 km away). They are expecting you.”
So off we went.
They were expecting us and directed us to Loop D, which was reserved for all of the campers needing to escape the rising floodwaters of our original campsite.
Upon arriving at Loop D, we found that every site was as flooded as the first campsite! There was a river running through the washrooms! We couldn’t actually pull our trailer through the site because the water was deeper than the bottom and it would have soaked the inside.
At this point, we took this as a sign that we were not intended to camp this holiday.
We found a great hotel on the beach and had a great holiday. We dragged our trailer to and from Oregon without ever opening it.
Oh well…life happens.
More than meets the eye
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul explains that God comforts those that suffer so they can comfort others. Now a flooded campground hardly constitutes suffering, but it got me thinking about a student group that also engaged in a trip this spring break.
After much planning, praying and preparing, 10 students and 3 teachers travelled to Nicaragua to engage the students at Centro De Fe Christian School. Unlike our camping trip, their trip went very well. They learned in a way that will last forever and that not everyone lives like we do. Those people suffer in real ways yet they are happy, they learn, they care for others and they love Jesus.
Perhaps some of our students experienced the type of spiritual prodding that may result in reconsidering their life plans. Maybe they will be better prepared to deal with suffering and disappointment in their lives. Maybe they realize that the community of believers is big and real and powerful in a way that they didn’t before.
If one of the trips was to result in a less than stellar outcome, I’m glad it was ours.
We had fun anyway, but theirs resulted in changed lives.