Posted by Christine Szekeres in Interns on January 15, 2016
Hey everyone! Here are a few snapshots of what the life of an intern looks like. I know technically we are working but who says your job can’t be fun?
Monday’s: A day off! I like to sleep in and then go explore. I’m not from this area so my typical Monday off is taking the bus somewhere I’ve never been. Sometimes on days off though we all hang out and watch movies together.
Tuesday’s: Area work time. Each intern has their own area or project to do. Right now I’m currently working on the programming for midwinter break camp and I know there are others working on other events or even working on improving laser tag and archery.
Wednesday’s: Camp SAM, our after school program day. I love hanging out with the kids, it’s one of my favorite days of the week!
Thursday’s: Practical living and facilities day. The past couple of weeks for facilities we have been painting one of the cabins, it’s almost finished. I can’t wait! Practical living is a lot of fun too, we learn practical skills that are used for our future. We did a practical living session on cooking with our chef, Dale, and he taught us how to make pizza. We had such an awesome time enjoying each other’s company, and of course, eating pizza.
Friday’s & Weekends: we have a variety of events happening. For example last weekend we had middle school bash and Refuge, our high school event. It was Star Wars themed and all of the interns dressed up as characters, the kids loved it; it was such a great time!
Coming up is schools out camp on January 18th, we are going to have such an awesome time! Then also in our near future, only three more weeks, we are headed to Costa Rica! We are all very excited for the upcoming events in 2016, here we go!
Written by Patricia “Dyno” Elders
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Elementary Events on October 16, 2015
Salmon Days 2015 was a huge success! How does one define success? Here at SAMBICA, seeing the joy on the faces of kids and youth, seeing families spend quality time together, and sharing Christ’s love in the community is success.
With five giant inflatables and our new 9-square-in-the-air game, the SAMBICA inflatable zone was packed with families from open to close. All team members (full time, interns, and volunteers) were encouraged to join in on the fun – and they did! It was exciting to see our new high school part-time team, interns, board members, and full time team remembering why we do what we do at camp – love our community.
I have been with SAMBICA for 6 summers and during this weekend I was reminded of the great community we are in. I’ve had the privilege of doing many different jobs on camp, some have been on the phone or behind a desk. It was overwhelming to have campers and parents come up saying hello that I know. Working at SAMBICA has been more than a summer job, it has allowed me to enter into the lives of our families and walk alongside them in this journey of life. It is an honor to be reminded of that great ministry.
Not only did I see families and faces that I know, I also had the chance to meet many new ones. We got to share SAMBICA with many new families in the area, many who had just moved to Washington in the past few months. I hope to see them again and be able to know them as family too. That is success!
Written by Liz “Happy Feet” Pearse
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Intentional Programming on September 18, 2015
As Fall returns to SAMBICA we will have many opportunities to create programming for the various groups, both youth and adult, that visit SAMBICA between September and May.
One of our first groups this season, Seattle Christian High School, presented a wonderful opportunity to create some intentional programming for the group while allowing the new intern team to take the lead! With 245 students, the plan was for a large-scale game of Mission Impossible on the upper field. The students engaged fully with the intern team and the game, making for a rousing experience that the seniors engaged in wholeheartedly (and competitively):
“3…” I looked around … confused, trying to find the missing bucket of tennis balls for redistribution (so all the players could have a chance to grab a ball at the start).
“2…” There it is! The seniors are hogging the bucket. Hmmm, this isn’t going to end well.
“1…” “Hey, wait, guys! I want to…” My words were not to be heard as a loud, booming “GO!!!!” echoed through the field’s loudspeakers.
I stood there in shock as bunch of senior guys took the entire bucket (at least 150 tennis balls), ran across the field (ignoring the hits along the way), and dumped them all into the goal (an airplane with a trash can). Game over!
My head spinning from their competitive ferocity, all I could think was, “Wait, why am I surprised? Seniors win no matter what, right?”
The switch is now edging to the halfway mark as we begin to turn “on” our fall, winter, and spring seasons with an increasing number of youth groups and youth events. Our vision at SAMBICA is to “inspire youth to a relationship with Jesus Christ,” and our goal this year is that half of the guests we serve are youth. Once we finish raising all of the funds to turf our field, we will be able to provide even more programming and activities for youth throughout the winter (when our field is traditionally a mud pit much of this season). I, for one, am looking forward to more ferocious games and opportunities to engage youth at a deeper level this year.
Written by Lily “Hemi” Semenyuk
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Interns on March 26, 2015
About three and a half years ago I found a place that changed my life, a place that has helped to shape me into who I am today. The people there redefined my view of Christianity and taught me about who Christ is and what his love is capable of. The place I’m talking about is the high school I attended during my sophomore and junior years. I was blessed to be poured into on a daily basis by the teachers, coaches, and the rest of the staff. During that time I was going through a lot at home and it was a time that now when I look back on it I can see just how much of a blessing that school was for me. That school is where I started to make my faith my own.
Turn the page, and I am in a different place in nearly every sense of the word. So much has happened, so much has changed, but I haven’t forgotten the place I found years ago. No longer a high school student, I am currently interning at a new place. This place has also changed my life, and this place even now as I’m writing this is constantly helping to shape me, helping me to grow in Christ teaching me how to live a life glorifying to him. This place is SAMBICA, and it too came into my life at a pivotal moment. God brought SAMBICA into my life when I was struggling to remember what I had learned just a year prior, when I had just finished teetering on the edge of holding on or letting go of my faith. A fire had been lit and what I needed at that moment was a chance to share that light with as many people as possible. I needed to pour out and I needed to be poured into, I needed a family in Christ. I needed SAMBICA.
Since becoming an intern at SAMBICA I have been blessed with a multitude of opportunities to work with youth of all ages, to laugh with them, to teach them, to listen to them, to be a light to them. It has been amazing to see God work through all of the people here at camp and to watch as little sparks begin to appear. One of the ways that I have been able work with the youth is by going on school visits. There are a few visits in particular that I know I won’t soon forget.
A little over a month ago Coach (Matt Wimmer), West Beach (Gerald Bouknight), and I had the privilege of visiting The Bear Creek School for their first ever volunteer service fair. We went there to tell the students and their families about different ways they could volunteer their time to help out at SAMBICA. What was really special about it was that at the same time we were able to talk with them about our mission and vision and explain the purpose behind what we do at camp and how in there volunteering they would be able to help us to do that as well. One of the other awesome things that I was able to do is reconnect with some of our campers from the previous summer. Gerald and I got to sit in on a camper’s choir rehearsal and I was able to help one of our campers revise a personal narrative in their English class!
During this same school visit I remember walking down the hall and seeing it lined with student art. They had recently done a project where they used words written in different fonts and sizes to create images. One that caught my eye was a silhouette of a girl all by herself, the student had used words like, “sad, alone, listen, and fear,” to create the image. However what was even more powerful than this picture was what was written on the piece of paper that hung next to it. On it the student had re wrote those words but in between each row of them she had written 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” As we left Bear Creek I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic as I recalled that place I found a little over three years ago.
Fairly soon after our visit to Bear Creek, Coach, West Beach, and I had the privilege of visiting Seattle Christian for their high school chapel service. As soon as I learned about our upcoming trip I couldn’t help but feel extremely excited. This visit was unlike the previous one as this time coach was to be the speaker at their weekly chapel service. Coach spoke to the students about how God’s love NEVER fails and I couldn’t help but feel emotional as I looked around the full multipurpose room as students listened intently, laughing at the right time and nodding their heads at different things. It was a familiar and beautiful sight to see. My heart felt full as a thought occurred to me, these students had found a place.
Towards the end of Coach’s talk Gerald asked the students to write down on a note card something that they needed prayer for so that we as a team back at SAMBICA could lift them up in prayer. After the students were done him and I went around and collected the folded notes. Later that week we shared the notes with the rest of our team, we read the prayer requests out loud and then one by one we prayed for those students and students everywhere. Afterwards I realized something else, these kids were going through a lot just like I had been during that stage in my life, and God with a love stronger than we can comprehend had blessed them in a similar way by providing for them an avenue to be poured into. During that chapel service I realized I had somehow come full circle. God has blessed me once again by giving me this opportunity and others like it to bless others as I have been blessed.
Written by Mackenzie “Bingo” Davis
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Elementary Events on March 9, 2015
A few weeks ago SAMBICA held the first ever Mid-Winter Break Camp! It was an amazing week full of the laughter and joy of kids. Here are a few collected stories from the week:
Yummy! Our kitchen crew did a great job of making tasty deserts each day for lunch. Not only were they delicious, they were also very creative! With a theme of “Under Construction” for the week, the kitchen team created deserts that had each camper anxiously awaiting desert after each lunch.
First S’more! With all the beautiful sunny and dry weather, we were able have a campfire one day and build s’mores! We had one little camper who had never had a s’more before due to a food allergy. Our team wanted to give her the opportunity to taste that gooey goodness for the first time so our chef searched for a cookie that this camper could eat. As she built her first s’more with all of her friends watching her smile the “chocolate and marshmallow grin” was the best moment all week!
Daddy! Nate, one of our interns and a counselor this past summer, loves working with kids throughout the year. He had an amazing experience this past week that the campers might never have known about. At one point the campers started cheering, “Nate is a daddy, Nate is a daddy”. Wait, he’s not a dad! But in the moment, he felt the most precious gift of responsibility of taking care of these campers. He may not be ready to be a dad yet, but what training he is receiving by taking care of these little ones.
Everything! On Thursday, we had two campers that were able to join for just one day. They had never been to camp before and were in awe of all that was happening. Neither of them were shy and they jumped right into the action! Abe asked one of the campers what her favorite part of camp had been that day and this little girl had to think for a long minute. What is she going to say? She slowly turned to Abe, looking up with a huge smile says, “Everything.” Ok, no really if you had to pick one thing what would you pick? “Everything”.
Written by Liz “Happy Feet” Pearse
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Elementary Events on February 3, 2015
As an intern here at SAMBICA, the nights can get pretty quiet. The guest groups are enjoyable and they shake things up a bit. But nothing really compares to the joy of seeing and hearing campers running around camp.
On Friday January 16th, we had Middle School Bash. This was the second-ever Middle School Bash and it was Hunger Games themed. It was such a fun night. Campers were able to gather for worship, fellowship, fun, and a feast of strawberry shortcake. SAMBICA becomes a place of solace for almost everyone who has ever been here. To open up that safe-place where you can be yourself because you’re among family outside of summer is a gift, not only to the campers and their families, but also to the team here at SAMBICA. I grew up going to camp week-after-week in Indiana and each time I return, I find a new piece of myself that I didn’t know existed.
Days after the wrap-up of Middle School Bash, the planning of Kid’s Night Out began. Kid’s Night Out is a night for elementary age students to come to camp for a few hours. While there was originally only one on the schedule back in the fall, we discovered there was a demand for at least one more. So on Saturday, January 31st we had almost 60 campers out for Super Bowl Training Camp. Twenty of the sixty had never been to camp before.
These nights make way for the vision and mission of SAMBICA to appear. As campers come for a night of Super Bowl fun at SAMBICA, they are also introduced to Hebrews 12:1 where they learn about what it means to run the race, or in this case — play the game, while looking to Jesus — our ultimate example. At Middle School Bash, campers learned what it means to put on the Armor of God and stand firm in who God calls them to be. Focusing on Ephesians 6:13-17.
It’s always such a joy to reunite back at camp, to see how our campers are doing, and to greet new faces, welcoming them into the family. Here at SAMBICA, our mission is to be a light on the lake and our vision is to inspire youth to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Events like these are one of the ways we fulfill the mission and vision by reaching campers and families where they are at. Whether by being ready with the armor of God at the Hunger Games event, or learning to focus on Jesus at Super Bowl event — God moves here, and I am blessed to be a part of it.
Written by Carrie “Nala” McCoy
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Elementary Events on January 23, 2015
“SAMBICA Interns exist to make God known by being a Christ-like example to HIS people, loving God, and growing in faith so that God gets the GLORY.”
This is the purpose statement of the 2014-15 SAMBICA Intern Team. After a refreshing Christmas break home with their families, our seven interns are back at it and ready for a great 2015. Our interns, Chelsea, Mackenzie, Carrie, Gerald, Nate, Ryan, and Adam, are busy being a light on the lake through their work all around camp.
They started off their year by immediately jumping in to serve one of our largest guest groups, Seattle Autoharpers Week. It was very apparent by working alongside our interns that we have a very contentious group. They have servants’ hearts!
Chelsea has stepped up and is leading the team as they run Camp SAM, our Wednesday after school camp that is serving 25-30 kids every week and showing them the LOVE of Jesus. They are working through 1 Corinthians 13 and focusing on what the Bible says love is. They have games, crafts, and snacks each week along with a themed activity to finish off the day. My son and daughter have been blessed to participate in this program so I know it has been a blessing to other students as well. Eli’s favorite weekly theme has been Football and Abby’s was the Christmas Carnival. Tons of fun!
A few highlights of the internship have been camping on Whidbey Island, a day trip to Bainbridge Island, and the chance to host a boating day with a group of homeless youth from Seattle. We have also produced separate night out events for elementary, middle school, and high school students. It is awesome to see some of the connections with campers from the summer continue throughout the year.
God is good, all the time, and that is evident every day in the work and growth of the SAMBICA Intern team so far this year.
Written by Ryan “Gilby” Gilbert.
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Middle School Events on October 21, 2014
The first of SAMBICA’s free quarterly events, Middle School Bash, happened a few weeks ago. Nearly 50 6th – 8th graders descended on the campus for an evening of fun and laughs!
While waiting for everyone to arrive, the night began with SAMBICA’s version of Temple Run, a popular phone game. There were different obstacles including the bouldering wall, jumping over cones, and working in a group to cross the islands.
Once everyone arrived, the middle schoolers got to meet an over-the-top, eccentric model, played by our very own Gerald “West Beach” Bouknight, and his over-eager photographer, played by the lovely Mackenzie “Bingo” Davis. The students then learned that the model and his photographer are on their way to a big show where all the photos, which are located on a flash drive, will be shown. In their rush to get the perfect shot, it seemed that the flash drive went missing.
In order to still get the word out about the model, the students were needed to reach other social media sources to spread the word. Through different activities crafted to be like popular social media sites (Pinterest, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), the students got to learn a little more about each other and the staff here at SAMBICA. Each activity teams were awarded part of a cut up power cord and the team having the most pieces was able to choose which team members they got to pie in the face. The lucky pie guy, West Beach.
One parent shared the following regarding her son’s experience at the event,
“My son was worried about attending the event, but we urged him to go … that all would be well. By attending he got to blow off some steam at a place that has such great memories for him … it was exactly the ‘light’ that was needed.”
Through the activities and talk, reflecting on John 15:5, the students and the model were able to see that the only true way to get connected is from the true Source. The night wrapped up with a dance party and ice cream bar to celebrate us getting plugged into the Source.
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Summer Camp on August 15, 2014
Last week, I had the neat privilege to serve as an overnight counselor for sixth grade girls. This role is very different from my usual role as the summer office assistant. I thought I had all the preparation I needed to be a counselor: former ELITE Mentor, Senior High girls youth sponsor, a once-upon-a-time sixth grade girl. I sat through counselor training at the beginning of the summer. I knew everything I needed to know, right? WRONG!
Before you get the wrong idea, the girls I counseled last week were great. I enjoyed watching them as they sang and danced in Rally time, made new friends, and as they had silly and serious discussions with me and with each other. They weren’t worried about makeup or their hair. They didn’t talk about boys. They didn’t really care about how they dressed or the fact that they wore the same clothes multiple times during the week. They were just girls, having fun with new and old friends while learning about Jesus in a fun, new way.
So what was the issue with last week? Well, the issue was me. I wasn’t prepared like I thought I was. I took the experience I had with other campers and with youth group and tried to apply it to my work with these girls. But these girls were different. They weren’t just younger but they were also very unique. They each came with different stories and they all had very different personalities. They had different emotional triggers and ways of handling their feelings. But one things they all had in common. They needed love. They needed someone to teach them simple life lessons in a loving way. They needed someone to be patient with them when they were late to every activity. They needed someone who would listen to every tearful complaint about their feelings being hurt and someone who would offer biblical wisdom to their situation. What they needed was a counselor who could display all these qualities at all times, and I was not that counselor. I missed the mark many times with my girls and I did not always handle every situation like I should have. I didn’t take the time to prepare thoroughly for my time with these girls.
Although I fell short time and time again, I was abundantly blessed to have a wonderful team come alongside me and my girls to give each of us just what we needed at the right times. One time specifically, my girls jumped off the banana boat when they were told not to. They had to sit and talk to Mr. Cress, our waterfront director. Before he came and since I was not on the boat, I tried to listen to each story and figure out what had happened. Two of my girls were in tears and the rest were pointing fingers at each other. When Mr. Cress arrived, he spoke with the girls about what they did and told them why it was wrong. He then went on to tell them that they would not be able to ride the boats any more that day, but when they arrived the next day he would forget it ever happened. They were forgiven. He then proceeded to tell them that in situations like this, he can forgive them because Jesus died for them all and forgave all sins. Even when we mess up, Jesus can forgive us because he loves us. What a beautiful moment it was to see Mr. Cress share the love of Jesus with my girls.
Overall, my week as a counselor was greatly enjoyed. There were many joyful times. We laughed and played together. We tried new things and conquered fears. We each learned something new about ourselves and about each other. There were times of frustration and sadness, but it was in those times that God showed himself in the form of other staff members and counselors.
Even when I thought I was prepared for it all, I fell short many times throughout the week and it was a hard but humbling lesson. No matter what we do, we will fall short. We are human and it’s in our nature. It’s in those moments we can trust that God is still working. Counseling is not a job for the proud. It is for those who are humbled enough to depend on God for their patience and their strength.
Written by Kristen “Infiniti” Gainey
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on April 3, 2014
Back in September, when I moved up to SAMBICA I had no clue what to expect. Since then I have come to realize that in these last 7 months I’ve found my sweet spot. Though I have experienced many different things, my current role is definitely my favorite: planning for Spring Break Camp 2014. As a team we have put our creativity to the test, forced one another to think outside the box, and found ourselves surpassing any limits we thought we had.
I mean, seriously, imagine this:
In the framework of the Olympics, during the entire week of Spring Break, kids compete to win the gold medal for their country. In the meantime, they are caught up in the lives of three goofy characters named Mo, Betsey, and Maximus, who try to reconcile their differences to try to win the gold for IceCreamastan. All the while they are listening to engaging Bible stories of King David in their cabin groups with their counselors, eating delicious food in the dining hall, singing funny songs during rally time, engaging with their peers during arts & crafts, and making memories filled with loads of laughter.
This Spring Break is going to be one that the kids (not to mention the team) won’t be able to forget. It’ll be just a “bite” of SAMBICA’s summer camp … which I personally have yet to experience. I pray that God will use this week to touch the lives of the amazing kids that we will be working with and to touch the lives of their families as they share what they learn each day of camp! I can’t wait to see it all play out, and to see what God’s plan is in all of it. As the programming team, we can plan as much as we want, but God’s plan is always the one that works out in the end. I have a feeling that this camp will exceed our expectations and just be super exciting for the kids who attend. Please, stand with the interns and the staff in prayer, that Spring Break Camp will be an amazing success, and life-changing for the children attending!
Written by Emily Covello
Posted by Christine Szekeres in The Word on March 14, 2014
As the sound of heavy rain and the chilling air force me to escape the comfort of my bed, my mind fills with questions and complaints: “Why is it so cold in here?! Where is the Light?! IT RAINS TOO MUCH!” With just one glance out the window, it’s obvious that the Costa Rican sunshine is long gone.
We are back at SAMBICA, getting back into the grind of things with our usual 9am meeting. As I prepare for the day, I walk by many of my groggy peers in the house and my first smile comes because of the humor I find in the horrendous hair of some of my friends. We take a long walk up the hill and enter the dining hall where the day begins. The usual updates are shared by the staff and I am just fighting to stay awake on the couch due to a low quality sleep the night before. When the meeting comes to an end, I step outside and watch the rain hit the ground for a few seconds before gathering the courage to walk back to Gillette. Still raining, still cold, still no Light. When I get back to my house I eat a quick lunch and rest before I have to show up for Camp SAM.
Today I get to be the Tech Assistant, which means I control the music and the videos from upstairs during rally time. It’s not the most exciting job, but today I don’t have much energy, so that’s not a big problem. As the music plays through the speakers, I sneak a peek outside, hoping to see a slight ray of sunlight … but all I see are “liquid sun drops” and clouds. I notice something else, however, I see Trevor, one of our beloved rowdy Camp SAM kiddos, walking up the Forum stairs toward me. He finally reaches the top and says, “Hey Axel! This is for you. I drew a 49er because I knew you liked them.’’ He then handed me a picture with a sloppy 49er logo and a stick figure football player.
In this moment, I finally see the “Light” that had been hiding all day. Here standing before me is a kid who is a HUGE Seahawks fan. Yet, just because he considers me one of his friends, he put our differences aside and drew a 49er logo FOR ME!!
This showed me that even on cloudy days, the light of CHRIST shines at SAMBICA through the relationships we have with the campers here. There is nothing better than seeing a bright shiny smile of one of our campers on a cloud day! It makes you remember that the SON is ALWAYS shining at SAMBICA.
Written by Jorge Lovato
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Costa Rica on February 15, 2014
Uncertainty flooded my mind as we traveled to Campamento Roblealto (Camp Tall Oak) in Costa Rica on February 2nd with half of our SAMBICA team (the other half would overlap their trip and ours over the weekend). I had no idea what to expect, and particularly because this was my first time out of the country, I was nervous! Little did I know that my perspective on life was about to change.
Within the first 24 hours we had experienced so much that I was sure several days had gone by. After breakfast we received an introduction to the camp, followed by a camp tour across the 45 acres of land, during which time we even worked on some team-building activities. Unfortunately, this exercise ended in a twisted ankle, which sobered our mood a bit. Nonetheless, after lunch we were immersed into various projects around the camp. From watering the trees to cleaning the pool, from brushing away spider webs to digging ditches, each and every one of us had an important role to play. Even though the job may have been hard in the moment, it was well worth it because we were able to be a blessing to them and their sincere appreciation was easy to see.
We got to work with kids at a children’s center in the slums just for one day. The kids there were so precious! They just latched onto us and were so playful. However, hearing some of the kids’ stories was heart breaking and seeing parents struggle to provide for their families triggered my conscience. Sometimes I complain about the littlest, most insignificant, things…and yet these kids do not have food to eat or the things they need for school. Not only that, but they may even be abused at home. I wish I had had more time loving on the kids through a child’s love language of play.
Even though communication was a challenge because so few of us spoke Spanish and not all of the staff spoke English, the patience and gracious attitudes of the staff was so apparent and the language of love through service and play broke down many barriers. A soccer game closed out our week’s work: gringos (people from the US) versus the ticos (Costa Rican natives). This was a really great experience for me and I wish we could have stayed longer. This won’t be the last time Costa Rica sees me; I will be back!
Written by Denisha Moore
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on January 8, 2014
If there was a specific group of people that I had to choose to learn from–it would be kids! Kids seem to have this innate ability to love so deeply, forgive so quickly, and be ever so present in the moment. They just seem to have so much energy and so much life! The best thing about kids to me is their childlike faith. I can learn so much just by hanging out with them, playing games with them, teaching them stories from the Bible, or singing songs and having fun with them. As a Camp SAM counselor, I am able to prayerfully teach the kids the Gospel while learning about them, their lives, and their stories.
It’s amazing how simply smiling at a child could completely win them over.
At our recent full-day camp, I had a group of about 10 girls and we were going over the questions that had been asked after the message. Just after learning her name and answering the questions together, a certain little girl says to me with a big smile on her face, “I love you!” It just goes to show how pure, innocent, and sweet their little hearts are. Camp SAM in 2013 was such a great experience for me, getting to plan for it, sometimes be the lead, and just have fun with the kids, who are all too often expected to be so “grown up” in their day-to-day lives. I’m so blessed and honored to be a part of such a great team that is able to, with God’s help, bring love and light into children’s eyes.
I’m so excited to see what God is going to do with Camp SAM in 2014! I can see that we are building a strong and firm foundation for Camp SAM to blossom beyond what any of us could begin to imagine. I’m so ready to see new kid’s faces, hear new stories, prayerfully be a blessing and make an impact in their lives, and be blessed by the love, innocence, and child-like faith that they naturally have. My goal is not only to be inspired by these children, but for SAMBICA to be able to inspire them.
It’s so cool to know that we have a chance to be a part of these kids growing up and looking back and saying, “Oh yeah, I remember where I got saved; it was at SAMBICA!” Our goal is not to honor us and our work, but to honor Him and His work.
I am so blessed to be a part of God’s work here at SAMBICA. I hope you find yourself greatly blessed by God to be a great blessing to those around you in this New Year.
Written by Emily Covello
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on December 19, 2013
As the car comes around the last bend of roundabout, the slower pace catches the attention of the little ones in the backseat. No more interstate speed, which means they’re almost there! Their eyes peek out the windows searching for the first hints of celebration. Down the road, trees with icy-blue lights pop into view, while twinkling snowflakes on an overpass mark the destination. The car turns and makes its way downhill. Eagerly sitting up as the last speed bump hits the tires, they see it … the familiar glow of red, green, yellow, and white coming from a building across the blacktop. The kids bust out of their seat belts before the car comes to a complete stop. They don’t need their jackets, and besides, it would take forever to get those on, but mom and dad insist. Now they can hear music coming from that lighted building. The Tabernacle, standing as SAMBICA’s oldest structure on camp, is once again welcoming this family, and all families, through its big blue doors.
The Christmas Carnival had something for everyone. Though now over, the good memories are still fresh in my mind. It was a chance for families to have fun together, a chance for the community to join us in our celebration of Christmas, and just another opportunity to see kids smile. The sounds of laughter rang in perfect harmony with every song that played and the oh-so-sweet aroma of an open espresso cart complimented the endless popcorn and cookies ready for grabbing. Kids, and even some parents, made their way through the carnival-game circuit, stopping for a round (or two or three) of carpet ball and some bouncy house action.
I was privileged to witness a father play with his son in the GA-GA arena. The dad may have been the worst GA-GA player of all time, but it didn’t matter to either one of them. The look on that boy’s face when his dad jumped into the game was unforgettable. Right there in that one moment … that was Christmas. Our God came from Heaven and jumped into the ring with us. He’s not a dad on the sidelines … His love is a pursuit. There is nothing that will be able to separate us from the love of God and that is what I celebrate. Emmanuel! God is with us!
I want to thank every family that came to the Christmas Carnival this year. Thank you for sharing your time with us and allowing us to celebrate something very special with you. I hope you had an awesome time! Stay safe, keep warm, and God bless!
Written by Adam “HubCap” Dominguez
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on December 11, 2013
I often hear this time of year that “Santa Claus is coming to town!” But here at SAMBICA, we have already seen Santa taking pictures with many children at our free Christmas Carnival created for the community. Next to Santa’s room is our Christmas village of over a thousand pieces twinkling bright, building anticipation for a white Christmas. Just outside of these two rooms is a large room hosting the carnival, filled with smells of popcorn and coffee floating in the air and the sound of Christmas music playing while kids run happily about, playing carnival games, challenging each other in the Gaga pit, and jumping around the bouncy house.
On the other side of camp, we have a team out in the chilly weather loading pre-ordered Christmas trees, as the smell of evergreen fills their nostrils. As I think about all these things, I realize that just two days earlier there were 40 kids here for our first ever winter break camp. Although this camp only lasted two days and was mostly inside, it was exciting to create a camp when there has never been one at this time of year. Each of these experiences have taught me valuable lessons.
In fact, as I have spent the last couple weeks helping with all of these activities, I have seen the power of individualized attention and care, and have learned the importance of preparing your heart and your programming. For instance, everyone worked very hard to make the break camps happen, but without the combined effort of each person to care for each of the kids and make sure that they were having fun in a safe environment, it would not have worked. As it was, I had a girl tell me she loved SAMBICA because of the counselors. We are no better than anyone else, we simply showed her the love of Christ through paying attention to her and her needs. So I would challenge you in the same way to think about how you have showed the love of Christ through your relationships, and what it looks like to take time for individualized attention to those around you. As an employee of SAMBICA I have learned the importance of that, and as a child of God I am reminded of what He did for me. As a result, I am daily challenged to help carry the burdens of those around me and love them as myself.
Written by Ray “Shipwreck” Duriga