It was the Summer after I graduated college and camp planning meetings had begun early. I was set to counsel the grade I had been following one last time.
Things were falling into to place. I was semi-content with my post-grad internship at Siminsights and was happy to serve again. I would be joined by Jesse, whom I co-lead with the first time around; as well as Kevin and Danny. Who together make up a super squad of counselors.
And then, curveball.
A week before camp started, I was given a job offer from Reality Check Systems. I mean, I was overjoyed to finally have a real job, but I wasn’t about to ask for a week of vacation during my 2nd week of work. Bitter sweet, I broke the news to everyone.
I knew I couldn’t just not go. I had to hold some sort of presence. So I wrote them a letter. It was meant to be read on the first day, but unfortunately, Danny misplaced that letter and it was never read to them. I think I originally intended to email it out to them or something, but I never got around to it. I was digging around my documents and found it randomly the other night and remembered. I figure better late than never, right? I’ll fill in commentary below, so things will make more sense.
Dear Senior Men,
My sincerest apologies for my absence during your last year of camp. I had all intents and purposes of being there with and for you guys, but alas, the real world decided to be nice to me for a change and gave me a job the week before camp. Although I am grateful to be finally employed, it is indeed a bittersweet feeling. I’m sorry, you won’t be able to destroy my trademark snail clock.
I assure you that I wanted to do camp since I began my job search in Fall. In fact, I turned down a job that offered to pay me $50/hour up in Nor Cal to free up my Summer. Yeah, do the math, that would’ve been $100k a year. So do me and yourselves a favor and really let God work in your lives this week. As I prayed so many times in the weeks of planning leading up to camp, let God’s will be done, not mine and certainly not your own.
You’re definitely in good hands. Danny, Kevin and Jesse are far wiser and studly-er than I will ever be. But enough mushy stuff. By God’s grace I’ll still be around at FCBC for a long time, so go to college Sunday School. But yes, experience God this week. We’ll certainly be in touch. We’ll do lunch some time.
Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I think of the future.. and in this case, it’s the things I wanted to say to you guys during the camp week:
College pro tips: I highly advise you guys NOT to date until about your 3rd year of college, it’ll make more sense when you get there, or when you experience heartbreak, whichever comes first. If you have no idea what to major in, be an engineer, the world could certainly use more. Get plugged in, preferably in a solid Christian fellowship (AACF, IV, EPIC, etc..). It’s okay to fail classes. I failed 4. Just don’t let it get the best of you. It’s also okay to take more than 4 years to graduate. I took 5. 6 is okay too. Just don’t take 7 years. Lastly, make the most of college. At the very least, spend your senior of college YOLO-ing everything like I did.
Quick stories about Matt Louie:
- You know those basketball nets in the MPB that can retract all the way up? One time Matt made a full court shot.. while they were retracted up.
- One time as a birthday present for a friend, we decided to record ourselves doing ridiculous things. One stunt we did involved hitting Matt with a relatively large stick. The stick proceed to snap in half to Matt’s six pack.
- On one of our mission’s trips to Thailand, Matt taught a last-minute unplanned English class of college level students. It went well enough such that some of those students proceeded to hang out with us later during the time we were there. A couple of those guys were lead to Christ. Oh, Stu helped too.
Some motivational sayings that helped get me through tough times:
- If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.
- Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.
- Whatever you are, be a good one.
- You haven’t failed until you quit trying.
- Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.
Sometimes, the only way to build something up is to break it down first. I pray that God grants you tons of grace during your college careers. God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. I’m sure you know this already. But it’s good to remind yourself of this during midterm and finals season. God’s plans > your plans. If God does or doesn’t want you to do something, He’ll certainly make His point clear to you (see Jonah…).
My Prayer to you guys:
That God would spend the next few years of your lives making you guys super awesome, so that some day you’ll be able to be properly equipped to lead the next generation as well.
There are probably tons of ways I can encourage you guys through this letter (prayer, words, Bible verses, etc..), but I figure your other counselors will doing plenty of that throughout the week. Camp will be great! Have fun!
Let Go and Let God
So I have a snail alarm clock that looks like this:
I used to carry it around with me during camp because I wanted to set an example that just because I am a counselor, it does not justify me using my phone as a watch. After all, I’m all about leading by example. It had a trademark annoying alarm tone and everyone knew me for it. They had plans to ransack or destroy it that year. (My views have since changed last year, since I was on call all week for work)
It’s true, I was offered a job by Beta Soft Systems while I was still in school. They offered to pay a lot because it was a contract job (no benefits). I ended up turning it down because the job had a contract that was a borderline scam. The guys didn’t know that, but that wasn’t quite the point..
I included stories of Matt because they enjoyed hearing about him as much as I enjoy talking about him. These stories were like bedtime stories to them. I would tell them these before they went to bed to help them sleep and stuff. By the way, all the stories are true.
The motivational sayings were taken straight off the motivational wall Eddie and I created:
I actually had no intentions of being a college Sunday School teacher when I wrote this letter. I plugged it in because attendance was sparse during my 5th year of school. Besides, Sunday School is good for you. It wasn’t until after camp, where I attended the debrief meeting. Darren posed his usual question of “How will you be following up with your campers?”. Convicted, I shared that I would contemplate joining the college Sunday School staff, to which I eventually did. I felt pretty bad about not being able to go to camp for that week.
So I guess I traded that one week for the next 4 years’ worth of Sundays?