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Waterfalls and Diamonds

Back in the day, when describing Falls Creek to people who had never been there, I used to talk about the scenery, the tall trees, the waterfalls, Boulder Springs, the Prayer Gardens, the stairs hewn from rock. But, over time, that changed. I began to promote Falls Creek differently, describing Falls Creek as the premier conference center it is becoming, pointing out features like the new and vastly improved recreational area on the other side of Price’s Falls, the beautiful new tabernacle, the Missions Center, and the handy new concession areas that are popping up all over camp. It’s not that nature has become less spectacular. It’s just that I don’t always notice it with all of the new things going on. Sometimes, in the evenings, when students are in their cabins getting ready for evening service, braiding each other’s hair and spraying enough Axe on themselves to kill the Ozone layer, I like to take walks by myself. Tonight, I thought I’d take a look at the new water treatment facility, the one that has completely eradicated the need for bottled water this year. To get there, I had to pass two of the older, if not oldest, cabins on grounds. They have always fascinated me because they are so quaint. I imagine that the seven dwarfs might stay there if they ever came to camp, Snow White as their camp cook.

This year, the creek is high because of the ridiculous amount of rain that we have had lately, and many new waterfalls have formed. Some of the most beautiful waterfalls on grounds are now tucked behind the dwarf cabins and the water treatment facility. In a way, it’s a shame. Few people will ever see them, as I had to go about fifty yards past the “Do Not Pass This Point” sign to get to them. These waterfalls will never get the attention they deserve. All that working and churning for nothing. God sees them, though. Maybe He made those for Himself.

It makes me think of something I saw earlier today. Coming back from the Prayer Gardens, I fell in with a rowdy, rag-tag group of teenagers. Diamonds in the very, very rough, every last one of them, they were wearing matching Tshirts, so I could only assume they were a youth group. Instantly, I felt sorry for whomever was in charge of those kids for an entire week with no television, video games, or law enforcement handy. A few seconds later, turning to see which potential diamond had kicked a rock in my direction, I saw them. Looking like cover art for Hipster Monthly, the youth minister and his wife were bringing up the rear, holding hands in the middle, their Bibles to their sides. ‘Sheep among wolves,’ I thought to myself.

Being a middle school teacher, I had to fight the urge to help them out by having one of my “chats” with the students. What I saw took the urge away. I guess the students didn’t know that the couple had caught up with them. As soon as they noticed, they calmed. Their entire demeanor changed. They walked slower, stopped yelling and climbing on each other, and they smiled, all of them. The girls hung back to talk to the young woman, admiring her dress and asking whether she would go get icees with them later. The boys, instead of throwing rocks at each other, started showing off for the young man, showing how far they could throw rocks down the hill. Within minutes, the group had formed a sort of wheel shape, the couple at the center looking neither put out nor afraid. It was obvious that they loved those kids, and I felt glad that someone did. We live in the days of the megachurch. Live streaming, indoor waterfalls, and pimped out people movers are where it’s at. But where is God? Is He there, too? Possibly, but not necessarily. I do know that He is working in the midst of a rowdy, rag-tag group of teenagers who find themselves at camp this week. He has to be. What else would draw a couple like the one that obviously loves them to work with people who don’t seem to be anything like them? Nothing I can think of. I have a feeling that God is doing some of His very best stuff in places few of us would ever choose to step. Those who are willing to go where things are neither easy nor pretty need our prayers and deserve any support we can offer, though they don’t do what they do for attention or recognition. They don’t seem interested in pleasing anyone but God Himself.

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