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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunshine Camp, Part 2

Now back to the story.  The training had started Wednesday morning and it was now Friday afternoon.  The students started arriving by the bus load from all over China. These students are the best of the best.  They were the top students from the best universities in China. And let me tell you there are a lot of students in China.  I helped some girls load there luggage up twelve flights of stairs, a few too many times. For an in shape person it would have been nothing, for me it was a marathon.  I then went to my room and met the three guys who I would live with for the next seven days; Stone, Kevin, and Paul. I was privileged enough to give Paul his English name. I have trouble remembering English names, Chinese names are a whole other story. His Chinese name is Pei Hoa, pronounced pay how. I was glad to give him my fathers' name.  Another thing that made me really happy was that all the guys in my group were from schools in Xi'an. So after the camp got over I would be able to continue our friendships.   Therefore the camp started out really good. Because the biggest reason I was there was to create relationships that would last. I wanted to influence people with love, and a different way of living, that they probably were not used to. 
From left to right: Paul, Sonny, Me, Stone, Kevin, and Tang Pan.  Awesome group of guys.

I will do my best to shorten this down, because there are so many fun stories I could tell.  The schedule was this; wake up at 7:20 breakfast at 8:00, 9 o'clock morning rally, then lecture and group discussion, then lunch at 12:30. 1:00 to 2:15 ping pong. That was a necessity. At 2:30 we had to be back for afternoon activities, they went until 5:00. Dinner was at 6, after dinner we had to be back in the meeting room at seven. We were usually done by 9:30. We went to bed anywhere from 11 to 12.  I take that back. I went to bed then, the Chinese students went to bed at 1-2 in the morning. They are so crazy. I did that for seven days straight. By the end I was terribly exhausted.
This was my Life Group. 

Some of the major highlights were seeing these students who have never truly opened up to someone in their lives open up to each other.  It is truly amazing to see people being vulnerable, so that other people can better understand the person underneath the mask.  The things we went over in the camp, like living with integrity, love, humbleness, leading with a servant heart and other basic things, were new ways to live for most of them.  The games we played were very basic, but they fell in love with them.  We sang the "hey macarena" song, and all 220 students plus danced to it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a ton of fun, but mostly because they were having so much fun. It was amazing just to see these students break out of their shell for the first time. The whole thing was incredible.  The most amazing thing though was to see how many students told me that they had never seen love like this before in their lives.  Almost all the guys in my group told me that their minds were changed in some way. That is a big step.
Carnival night, this was a booth where you could model newspaper clothing. Pretty awesome!

People left the camp in a flurry, I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone I wanted to, but I guess that is life.  I got home to where I live in Xi'an Saturday afternoon, exhausted and tired.  In the end the camp was everything I expected and more.  It is hard to put it into words. It was such a beautiful thing. When new life comes, new joy and new hope, it is tough to describe it with words. All I can say is that the people who started the Sunshine Camps are making an amazing difference in the lives of many.  Thank you so much for reading. Until next time.

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