Monday, July 18, 2011

ArtLife 2011

Just deleted this entire post I had written about Art Life. Oh man. This is rather lengthy, I realize, but this past week was so wonderful, I can't help but share.

So, Arts Camp, renamed ArtLife this year, has been taking place since the summer of 2003, hosted by one of my dance teacher's parents at their home, which is a Christian retreat, and local church in Buffalo, TX. This year, we outgrew the facilities there (we had about 60 campers and 25 staff & chaperones), so we moved to Waxahachie and the campus of SAGU. ArtLife includes dancers, musicians, actors, and artists of all kinds. My dear friend Shannon and I had a handful of kiddos to watch out for, and I got to teach a beginner/intermediate contemporary dance class, but for the majority of the week I got to act like a camper and participate in class, which was really wonderful. 

For the past year and a half or so, I've been questioning whether I might be through with dancing. I'll always dance as a form of worship (I'll never be able to stand still while singing to my loving, awesome heavenly Father), but even though I have taken some classes, I've been feeling like the classes and the performing aspect of dancing may have run their course in my life. Now I don't think so. Nor do I think I'll ever go back to dancing hours upon hours a week, and I still have no thoughts of being in any kind of professional company, but I am not done learning yet. Also, if the pieces I get to perform are half as worshipful as the one I did Friday night, I'll keep doing it. 

"Come," choreographed by a beautiful young woman of God I look up to greatly, the video of which is at the bottom of this post, was about each of our individual walks with God, searching, seeking, struggling to find that place of rest where we rely on our Father to take care of our lives, which He absolutely will. It is His desire for us to place our trust in Him and let Him guide our lives down the path He has set, to follow His perfect will. It was such a blessing for Sarah to share the concept with us and also allow us to truly make it our own journey by letting us choreograph and improv some of the movement ourselves. 

The piece is what we worked on each morning following breakfast in preparation for Friday's "Come to the River" night of worship. Before rehearsal we had a worship session of singing and time in the Word with Pastor Bob. Then after lunch, Pastor Rodney spoke for a bit about missions (more on this later) before we had four classes, dinner, and then a cute little theme party each night (superhero, nerd, twin, and luau). Before bed came something extra special and never-before-done at Arts Camp; we had a special guest, Michelle Patterson (and her husband Barry arrived Thursday) to serenade us and give us another chance to experience worship. One night someone videotaped, which is also at the bottom of this post. Michelle is a singer/songwriter who is a personal friend of the couple who host Arts Camp, and she's more or less a living legend around our dance studio. We have performed to a number of her songs; the girls who did recital dances to her stuff got to perform them live, which was extra special for them and for us watching. She brought her kids and two of their friends, and all of them were little blessings to spend time with.

The theme of the week was "The Overcomers," so Pastor Bob's lessons pulled from Revelation 2 & 3, where there are seven letters to the seven churches, detailing what they need to do to overcome criticism, disillusionment, unbelief, deception, duplicity, and self-sufficiency. As part of the armor of God, Ephesians 6:16 instructs us to "take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Revelation 12:11 says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." We sang a song called "The Overcomers" by Abel Musuka (the youtube video of which can also be found at the bottom of this post [:) which was absolutely fabulous.

The week was basically pure joy. God actually planted a seed in my heart that He may be asking me to go on a mission, quite possibly to the Philippines, in the future. I was, frankly, shocked when I heard that from Him; I have never felt personally called to missions in such a way before. I understand that it's part of the Great Commission written in Matthew 28:19 to "go and make disciples of all nations," and I've gone on a few mission trips just in Texas, but I've always felt that I could be missions-minded without actually being the one to go. In all honesty, I've been quite annoyed when camps or retreat weekends focus was fixed on missions, because I feel like there is so much more to being a Christian than just telling people the gospel. But I'm beginning to understand that though it's true that giving money and praying for missionaries is vastly important, it's even more important to obey God's command to spread His love. The thought of going to the Philippines is actually incredibly exciting to me. I've been kind of in love with the islands for quite some time; I know several people who have been there, and even had a good friend in high school who was born and raised there. The language fascinates me, I think the people are beautiful, and I would love to go love on them in Jesus' name. The thought of raising the money to go there terrifies me. However, I know that if it truly is God's will, it will happen. It's only a seed right now, but I'm praying about it and was blessed this week with another couple at camp who I can talk to about making the possibility a reality. I just want to follow God's will, because I know it's the perfect path and plan for my life.

All of this being said, it is my prayer that this is no "camp high" that I'm experiencing. I want to stay in the sweet, sweet spot with Jesus I find myself in, and I want to grown only closer to Him, rather than going back to the dull day-to-day routine I've sunk into. And it's my prayer that anyone reading this, watching these videos, listening to Barry & Michelle's music, would know God's love the way I do, and would understand that His will for your life is wonderful; all we have to do is trust Him, listen, and follow.

We've conquered all in Jesus' name


Post a Comment