Although last week concluded the infamous Monday Memories series, the summer has officially begun with this year’s first Base Camp. Base Camp Alpha arrived with some new, exciting, expected and unexpected (as always) circumstances and events.
The most significant change centered on a new location for Base Camp. As mentioned in an earlier post, we recently said farewell to Camp Lake Lavon. Instead, Texas Women’s University in Denton hosted Base Camp Alpha this year. Although both staff and Jimmy were initially perplexed at the high-rise building that housed all iGosians, the fully functioning air-conditioning expedited the adjustment. Led by our Base Camp Coordinators, Rowdy and Danielle, the day began with an orientation of the new campus, followed by some time spent in prayer for students and parents on their way.
Donned with new badges and attire, the iGo staff and Jimmy welcomed 23 students, who began Base Camp following a time of commissioning by their parents. Most of these students will spend the majority of the summer overseas in their various locations, with trips lasting approximately 10 weeks. This year’s group of participants included both alumni and first-timers serving in the regions of North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and Southeast Asia.
As usual, each of these four teams was required to enter in and survive the mysterious land of iGosia, where the volunteers (often alumni students and adults) are eager to hassle, help, and harrass them. Alpha’s group did not disappoint, complete as always with annoyed immigration workers, the intense chief of security and a misguided bus driver or two. Following a delicious culture meal served with iGosia’s finest dining, the students split up and made their way to a simulation of Underground Church, where they studied 2 Corinthians 4 and learned about the suffering that followers of Christ are called to endure.
Alpha Day Two brought with sunrise a spontaneous passport check that had to be seen to be believed. That being the case, I am still not sure all the team members believe it happened since most of them had yet to open their eyes. However, all eyes were wide open for the traditional morning exercises along with a healthy breakfast of cucumbers and tomatoes, of course.
Following the official iGosian celebration, students rested momentarily before digging into the Word through teaching and training. Brad, Shu and Rowdy knocked out the teaching of the Core Values, while tribe leaders Sarah and Jami Lee covered other topics in a smaller, discussion-based setting. Brad reminded students that they “aren’t called to be the hero or the MVP this summer, but are called to be a part of a team” through focusing on HGPF (humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance), the characteristics mentioned in Ephesians 4.
Teaching sessions focused on Evangelism and Cross Cultural Training included a lot of good activities that involved students naturally sharing their story while focusing on The Story, culture games that challenged the students, as well as team building games where students sought to “find the dollar” before trying to discover the “one way in, one way out” while blindfolded.
Sunday and Monday evenings were set aside for worship through song (led by Jeff and Jourdan Johnson) and the Word (taught by Brad). Brad’s first message brought the students to 1 Timothy 4:11-16, focusing on the need to be reminded repeatedly of the Gospel. Hearing the Gospel helps us remember how bankrupt we are, which is a liberating reminder. Brad continued in 1 Timothy 1 the last night, challenging us to stay in the FOSmosphere (Foremost of Sinners). As believers, we should never seek merely to progress in sin management. Sanctification, instead, reflects maturity in an understanding of the Gospel.
Pray for these four teams of 23 students that left Tuesday to serve in North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and Southeast Asia. If you participated in Alpha Base Camp, take the time to share some of your highlights from this weekend in iGosia.