Heading off back to Elmira

Phone call will be made to inform pick up times at the church.

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Cabin 14

THURSDAY 9:00 PM: Sitting here in the dining hall, as two 14 year old boys talk my ear off in Spanish, I realize that I want to share with those of you in Canada how I blessed I have been this past week. In particular, I want to share with you about the girls in Cabaña Catorce.

8 girls and 3 counsellors (including myself) share a room together. We sleep together, eat together, play, swim, talk and coordinate outfits. I cannot express how much these girls mean to me. Their at-first, semi-intimidating presence has quickly dissipated into sweet friendship as the week progresses. They are only a year or two younger than me and exemplify the fun and personality of being a teenage girl. More than that, they impress me every day with their maturity. They are kind to all. They have endless patience for my limited language skills. They give me grace when I go to bed early (11 or midnight). They are careful to be inclusive in every activity. They are frankly hilarious. And they are willing to be real with each other.

SUNDAY 4:00 AM: This is the first opportunity I have had to write again since saying our goodbyes. Emotions are running high and sleep low. My heart breaks and rejoices all at once when I bring to mind the faces of my campers. But it is their inside beauty that I will never forget.

To better understand my last day at camp, you might appreciate some context. I was stung (we think) by something in the water midweek, resulting in a swollen left foot. No need to worry, Mum, if you’re reading this, but on Friday morning Becky and Carlos took me to a clinic in Playas to get it checked out. The inflammation wasn’t decreasing and to be safe I went in for a medical consultation.

I had asked for prayer from my girls the night before because both the pain and unknown were distressing. In the morning again, at devotion, Susana gave a prayer request for healing. After waking up twice disappointed at the state of my foot, in all honesty, my hope for a miracle had sort of disappeared.

I got back from the clinic while the kids were listening to a workshop in the chapel. I went to my room, opened the door, and my jaw dropped. The girls had cleaned meticulously and decorated the cabin with paper flowers and balloons, spelling my name out across one of the bunks. If I hadn’t walked in with Micah, but by myself, I 100% would have started crying.

Soon everyone was dismissed from chapel and the girls raced over to see my face. The surprises continued: a banner, with personal written notes from each of them, and at night, a pizza delivered (I had told them it how it was my favourite food). We talked into the morning, and occasionally one of the girls would give the reminder to speak slowly, so that Sarah “puede entender.” But they were all talking over each other excitedly, and I was having difficulty concentrating, so that I didn’t follow much of the conversation. I simply leaned against Susana’s bed and basked in their love and encouragement and giggles.

This was all my greatest blessing. The secondary blessing was that the pain in my foot completely disappeared, to the point that (at the extreme displeasure of my girls, those sweet, wonderful girls) I was playing soccer in early afternoon. If you would keep my foot in your prayers, it is still a rather embarrassing size, but I am thankful to say that it has not hurt in the slightest since Friday morning.

SUNDAY 4:00 PM: Adriana, Michele, Michele, Joysi, Nahomi, Nicole, Belén, Tami, thank you for an amazing week. Thank you also for trusting me with your prayer requests. If I can add some, they would be these: That you would always seek Jesus before anything else. That you would feel confident solely because of your identity as a daughter of the King. That you would never be camera-shy, but would always care more about the state of your heart than the state of your looks. That you would make wise decisions as you grow older. That your lives would continue to carry the love that is a side-effect of the love of our Saviour. I love you.

Susana and Diana, I will always speak of you with love and affection. You welcomed me with open arms and are in so many ways models of the woman I want to become. You counselled with humour and care and it was a pleasure to be alongside you each day. Thank you for being dear friends. I love you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Allen