&All the Rest

An average twenty-something who wants you know that you can conquer the world. Phil 4:13


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The Final One

How often do you give in to your immediate impulses? Whether it be an ice cream come from McDonald’s or a cute shirt at the store. Maybe it’s opting to watch TV instead of doing chores or choosing to do something stupidly spontaneous with your friends. When we do this, we often forget reasons for why we do it and focus on the instant gratification of getting what we want. Is there a higher purpose in the immediate choice? Are we acting out of love? or greed? Things like the Seven Deadly Sins may seem like a foreign mythology but they are more active in our lives than most people would anticipate. Where are your priorities and what is it that you value? Do those values stay present in the every day or do they get pushed to the side while other idols take the forefront of your mind? What is really happening? and what do we do?

We give in to our human inability to control ourselves. Living out of essentially one suitcase and my kicks all summer, I’ve come to realize that the things that matter, aren’t things I can see all the time. Often the big, consumer-media world we live in destroys our basic values of what we are here for. For me, I found that out this summer.

It’s people. It’s ways of living. Living simply. Taking away all the extras and working with what you have and God. It’s being present. Loving others as God loves us. When we realize that He’s in it for us, we can finally make the choice to be in it for Him. Working and breathing mission work all summer not only gave me a constant spiritual outlook on life, but also a practical, realistic view that I need to give up everything and follow Him. I’m not talking about the house, the car or the shoes on your feet, but all the earthly, physical desires that draw us further away from leading a loving life. What we have to offer is far more than money and attention, but love and understanding. Take time to listen, smile at someone, smile at yourself. Do yourself a favor and ask God what He wants for you, instead of focusing on what you want for you. I know I’m not perfect and that the choices I make are mine alone, but if you let Him guide you, the burdens of life become His, which he willing died on the cross to do. Smile today and know that you are loved. Live a life that would make Him proud and never look back on the mistakes you made, but move forward in Christ to live a better tomorrow.

Peace & warmest blessings,

Leslie


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Hi, I Love You

Today starts set-up week for camp #3. 

As much as I love it, I must also say that with each new day comes new challenges. For example, today was the most bizarre day of them all.

On the way to Troy, MO from St. Louis, Macy and I took two wrong turns, lost the boys and almost ran out of gas. When we finally met up with the guys at a Subway, Macy found a credit card on the ground with the same last name as hers. The water dispenser rumbled and shook whenever I tried to get water, and then in the car, our two main go-to channels were playing the same song. Needless to say, it felt like we were in an alternate universe today. 

Finally reaching our set-up hotel, everything wound down and we’ve been doing some logistics work to start our last camp off right. Already visited the hospital to inform them of our presence in the community next week and the manager seemed curious as to our doings in Troy these next two weeks. It’s reassuring especially when the week gets busy but it’s time to make the most of our last camp.

So in this eclectic post, maybe I can pull something meaningful out of it…

Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves”

So whether you’re religious, a Christian, an atheist, a patriot or a sinner, maybe take today or tomorrow to remember that people are people no matter what their beliefs or actions. Share the love today and smile at someone new.

A smile from me to you, 

Leslie

🙂


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3 Clear, 3 Transparent & How Animals Eat Their Food

This morning at lunch line, Lion King was blasting from my phone and sleepy campers came a-staggering over toward my end of the cafeteria.

Now let me tell you a smidgen about lunch line — It’s a super speedy, super fun assembly line of all the food each crew needs for the day. They bring their coolers in from outside, fill ’em up with water bottles, sandwich making goods, chips and a loaf of bread, and shoot out the door for it to be picked up by their vehicle. Sometimes I sing them a song about lunch line; sometimes they get Kevin making funny voices at them. Today, however, they were asked to take 3 clear water bottles and 3 transparent ones.

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If you don’t get it, that’s okay because neither did some kids this morning. 🙂

But so far, so good. Campers rock. Hospitality teams and snacks provided by the cosponsor rock. Programs TOTALLY rock.

Today is our half day, so campers come back around 12:30 pm and vacate the school for the whole afternoon. We as staff get to take a shower, nap for a few hours, eat lobster and get rejuvenated for the end of the week! I’m so excited for my nap, you have no idea.

Aaand the variety show is tonight!!! Workcamp calls it “variety” not “talent” because it is not a contest, and it is probably more appropriate to say “variety” anyways. This evening, we’ll be entertained with a tap dancer, a violin/piano/singing duet, poetry, a juggler, some music, and a rendition of “How Animals Eat Their Food”. If you have not seen this video, please reference grand ole YouTube here.

Additionally for Lights Out, Macy and I will be doing a dramatic poetry reading of “Call Me Maybe”. Video to come?? Stay tuned!

Thanks for your support & love! You’re wonderful. I’m gonna have an awesome day and I hope you do too!

booom boom pow,

Leslie ♥


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And Awaaay They Go!!

Today is the first day of camp in Harbor Creek, PA and let me tell you: these kids rock. Majority of campers at this camp are vets and have been to camp before, which is AWESOME because they bring with them so much personality and enthusiasm. They would have been out on sites last night if we had let them!

So looking forward on this week, my only anxieties are that crews will forget their lunch, get confused on their projects, or be unhappy on their crews. As a crew manager, I am responsible for making sure everyone is where they need to be, has what they need and has enough food for the week. For the most part, it’s well-organized and I am confident in the system I’ve been trained to run. However, there are times when I just feel like something’s missing, like something might go wrong. Uncertainty is the hugest butt in the world. It’s stressful sending 400+ people out into a random community to knock nails into houses, and one can only pray that it all goes okay.

I’m praying for a brilliant and successful week and I really just ask for your prayers for me, the campers, residents and all the volunteers this week. Fingers crossed no one gets lost today!

ring ring answering telephones,

Leslie


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Is That Your Red Shirt’s Coat?

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Welcome back! Sorry I’ve missed you all recently, last week was bustling with sweaty campers decorated in paint from work sites (probably more on them than the walls) and tons of fun and Jesus-loving!

An update on this past camp: All our work sites were in Norristown, PA and were primarily interior and exterior paint projects. Many of the houses were smaller brick homes, much like the ones you see in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and have tight working conditions inside.

After the final tally, 56 out of 57 work sites were completed with 397 participants hammering and painting away all throughout Norristown. Below is a map of the city and all the sites the campers worked on last week. It’s pretty amazing how much can get accomplished in just a matter of 5 days. I’m so proud of all our youth and youth leaders who really worked hard to accomplish as much as they did.

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Looking into this week and the next is our next camp over in Harbor creek, PA — right next door to Erie, PA.

We are currently staying with our cosponsor in Erie for the week in her home with 5+ kids, 4 dogs, 2 birds and a fish. So that’s fun! A cosponsor is basically the person who comes up with half the money to sponsor a camp in their area, while Group (our company) pays for the other half.

Short story with this: Our cosponsor, JoAnn, found out about 3 weeks ago that the person who was in charge of fundraising for this camp had only raised $200 out of the $19,000 that was supposed to be raised for this camp. So, in a minor panic, JoAnn took a breath, took over fundraising and placed it in God’s hands. In a matter of 3 weeks, she’s come up with a little over $15,000 to put on this camp. Amazing to say the least. Majority of the funds came from a network of churches, friends and neighbors who set out the news about Workcamp by word of mouth. It’s 4 days until camp starts and checks are still flowing into her mailbox every day. Thank God for all the support throughout this community we’ll be helping next week.

I’m excited to get rolling again after this brief break of 13 hour sleeps and endless movie-watching, but it was well-deserved and much needed. Yesterday, JoAnn took our crew out to tour the highs and lows of Erie as well as out on the peninsula, where we watched the sun set over Lake Erie. And no Erie night would be incomplete without some good old ice cream at Sarah’s! Mmm…..

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Stoked for the Fourth & next week! Thanks for sticking with me!

Love,

Leslie


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TONS Of Fun!

Today I bought 1800 lbs of water. That’s 2050 water bottles. That’s basically a ton of water. Like literally.

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On top of that, I also retrieved 74 jars of peanut butter and 700 Ziplock bags from good ole Super Walmart. I kid you not; Super Walmart is the best.

Why, you may ask, do I need these massive amounts of food items? Why, for camp of course! Unfortunately, these did not come in the food order with the rest of the goods for camp, so I had the pleasure of evacuating Walmart of all their water bottles, Ziplock bags, and peanut butter. Sorry ’bout it!

Anyway, that was my fun for the day — picking up and driving a pallet of water back to the school. Not gonna lie, it was tons of fun! (haha puns.)

That is all. Still on setup week. Red shirt volunteers come into town tomorrow AND WE GET TO MOVE INTO THE SCHOOL!!! YAHOO FOR SCHOOL! We’ll be finalizing setup and welcoming campers on Sunday! Can’t wait!!!

love & other drugs,

L-Bizzle


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Dumela!

Dumela! (which is hello in Tswana and is totally irrelevant to this post)

Sorry it’s been so long. The camp in New Jersey that we were helping out with had zero internet connection and was literally in the boonies of New Jersey. It was located at Delanco Camp in Tabernacle, NJ and it was all summer camp style (which is my forte, being a girl scout camp counselor for many years). Most workcamps take place in a school but nope! This one was literal camp with bugs and cabins galore! During the course of our time there, I successfully plucked three ticks off campers and managed to smell like forest at the end of each day. It grew on me, not gonna lie.

So update: We just arrived in Norristown, PA on Tuesday afternoon and our crew got a nice afternoon off, spending it at the King of Prussia Mall — (if you ever get the chance, GO THERE! IT’S HUGE!!!) We also spent the next day sleeping in until almost 1pm and seeing Man of Steel in theaters. (I also recommend this movie for all you superhero-lovers out there. Beware of cliche lines and excessive explosions.)

But back in Tabernacle, New Jersey, it was my first workcamp experience as a red shirt, and boy was it a good one. Although the camp was very nontraditional, the skills and lessons I learned during my time there prepared me better than any training could do. It was awesome to see the best crew manager, my peer trainer from summer staff, in action and have a fantastic Director/MC who really understood and embraced all this camp offered. Through its challenges, there was great opportunity, and one was to catch a glimpse of what camp might look like and feel like before I got to my own the following week.

This aspect specifically hit me on Sunday — when campers arrived. They bring such a joy and life to the camp and it reminds me of why I’m doing this job. In my own experience as a 4-time workcamp participant, every workcamp I’ve gone to has changed my life for the better. I’ve grown closer to God and learned more about myself as a person. I saw this in campers the very first night of program. They joined hands with their youth groups and squished together symbolizing the support system of friends that they have currently among their youth group and family. Secondly, they spread wide, still holding hands, representing the space for many people to enter into their lives this week, including: crewmates, new friends, residents… This moment, simple yet powerful, showed me how God works in mysterious ways. Lives were being changed. Whether the campers knew it or not; if they were thinking about Jesus or about what dessert they wanted after program, they were being changed — commissioned by Christ to do His work this week and see Him in all they do.

I know I say this at the end of every post, but it’s true: I am so grateful for everything this job has given me. I think that’s the gift. It’s that through everything I do, everything that this job entails and all the randoms that get thrown in there, I learn to be thankful for all that God’s given. The people, especially.

Looking forward into the end of this week and the next: Crew I (my crew) is currently based in Norristown, PA, setting up for next week’s adventure in a gorgeous, HUGE facility at Norristown Area High School. We’re blessed with a great staff to be working with at the school and I’m SO SO excited to get rolling for when campers come on Sunday!

Also, there is a youth group from Newtown, CT, where the Sandy Hook shooting took place, that is coming to our camp this week. Many of them were affected by this tragedy and I just ask for your thoughts and prayers in this upcoming week.

Thanks & hoping for the best,

Leslie


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Jersey Shore – But Actually.

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Macy and I excited for Day 1!

Hey there! Thanks for tuning in!! Today was our first day on the job for real — like red shirts, name tags, notepads and pens… serious stuff.

But actually, today was a big day. As I’ve said before, this camp is a hurricane relief camp. Specifically, Group Mission Trips has partnered up with the Hurricane Sandy Relief Center and Jersey Cares, a nonprofit volunteer organization to provide volunteer workers for those whose homes were disastrously affected by Hurricane Sandy this past year.

Venturing through ugly Jersey traffic to various work sites, my crewmate, Ben, and I passed by some of the most desolate and destroyed homes on the East Coast. (Had we not been driving with our phones both about to die, I would have taken pictures.) As we crossed a bridge onto a long Jersey island, all you could see was gorgeous homes lined up on the shoreline like in a magazine. Driving closer did we realize that not all of these were the picturesque houses highlighted on the Travel Channel…

Many of these homes were wrecked from top to bottom and thrown about the shoreline. Some had whole halves of them ripped off and plenty were abandoned and marked with spray paint denoting their uninhabitable state. Some looked fine on the outside, but on the inside were completely gutted by water damage, while others suffered serious structural damage driving many families permanently out of their homes.

One of the residents that we talked to is currently renting out an apartment for herself and her 15-year-old son because her house is seeping with water damage, is half gutted and smells of musty drywall. She is recently widowed and has essentially no income since her husband was her business partner. As she was showing us her home, she apologized for getting emotional, and you could tell in her voice that the hurricane not only destroyed her home, but her life. It clawed at my heart to keep hearing stories of how water poured in from the roof and seeing debris thrown over people’s yards and house after house marked with yellow check marks…

Needless to say, this area needs help. And I’m glad Group and other nonprofits are here to help these people restore a part of their lives. Although it may not be much compared to the tremendous losses many of the homeowners here have faced, I really hope we can bring some life back to this town. Meeting these people has made such the difference — it’s not just those pictures on the news anymore. This is real life. People need help, and we’re able to bring that to them. And that’s the best part of my job.

Thanks again for tuning in; my crew will continue help set up and visit work sites these next few days in the Ocean County area and head out to Norristown, PA on Monday. The other crew, Crew M, will be stationed here for 4 weeks helping the victims of Sandy, running workcamps and bringing some love to the area.

Hope to see you all soon!

Love,

Leslie


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Hitting The Road!

On Sunday, most of the crews on Summer Staff parted ways to go to our various locations around the country… Many hugs were spread and goodbyes exchanged, but silly enough, five crews ended up at the same Subway three hours later..!

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Crew Managers of Summer Staff 2013 having a moment…

Our crew — Crew I — took off on Sunday for Tabernacle, NJ to help set up a hurricane relief camp with our fellow Summer Staffers in Crew M. Making frequent stops, but making good time, we plan to make it to New Jersey by Tuesday night so that there is extra time to set up and find out about this unique camp experience (since most workcamps are meant for basic home repair, not hurricane relief).

I’ll keep this post short and sweet because there isn’t a whole lot to say when all you do all day is drive cross-country through the great farms and country of the Midwest and Nebraska… They don’t call it the Great Plains for nothing!

Oh! but here’s a story for you… Our partner crew, Crew M, gained plenty of ground in front of us after a toll booth in Illinois, but then took a wrong turn and landed up in Michigan. Lessons to learn, kids: don’t try to navigate with one phone and communicate with the other at the same time. You will land up driving 25 minutes the wrong way into the wrong state.

Although that story wasn’t super fun or inspiring, I do hope that all you out there reading stay with me this summer. It’s a blessing.

Time to go pass out: http://mom.me/playroom/6572-kids-sleep-darndest-ways/

♥Leslie


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All Good Things Must Come To An End

(Side Note: I apologize for posting so late in the night… Because of a tight schedule during the light hours, it’s hard to hop on a computer and type away for half an hour. But regardless, thanks for staying with me! It’s a blessing.)

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Tonight was our last night together. Note how I say “we” and not “I”.

This is not by accident.

This is the story of Group Mission Trips’ Summer Staff. Not just me; not just my new friends, but all of us and our support system of dedicated adults and peer trainers at Group. Over the past two weeks, I’ve come to know and love some of the most respectable, loving and passionate people I’ve ever met, and not only are we co-workers, but friends with a similar goal of dedicating our summers to God, youth, and youth leaders.

The sadness that comes leaving such amazing people also comes with memories that will last me a lifetime and a family of Red Shirts that have my back across the country.

Some of these memories include: crazy last night games, goofy snapchats, zumba, a killer variety show, and friendships that will literally last my entire life.

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I can’t believe this week is coming to an end, but there comes a time where we all have to set out on our separate ways and do the work that God has set out for us. These people and this experience mean the world to me and it’s hard to believe that I won’t be seeing majority of these crazy people after Sunday morning. I know we will all do great things this summer, and all I ask of you as a follower is to pray for me and my fellow Summer Staffers as we venture across the country in God’s name. For safe travels, radical hospitality, fearless conversation, divine anticipation, and genuine community.

My crew, Crew I, will be heading out tomorrow morning at 9am MST in the Albino Rhino (a white Penske truck) and the Baby Rhino (a white Ford Focus) for Tabernacle, New Jersey. So if you see us, don’t be afraid to honk or give a shout-out on social media. We’d love to hear from you!

Facebook: Leslie Boey, Twitter: @itsleslieboii, Instagram: @itsleslieboii

Thanks for your support!

Leslie ♥