Subtle Joy

By: Justin Jo, Summer Intern at Kingston-Galloway

As the summer quickly comes to its conclusion, I’m both excited for the small break that awaits me and sad that 6 weeks have already flown by. Nevertheless, Jesus is working in incredible ways at our site.

I often arrive at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church in a sweaty stupor (as I commute via bicycle), never really prepared for whatever craziness that will probably ensue. The morning often consists of bracing myself for said craziness, which leaves little time to slow down and marvel at what God is doing but more importantly at what God is going to do. My default camp mode has become “chaos control,” where if no one is sent home and no one is injured then we are having a good day. The struggle in flipping that default switch is that you assume the worst for the day, never really expecting the wonderful things that God is so accustomed to doing. 

This past week especially, God has been showing me how ignorant I have been to the incredible work that he is doing in the lives of these children. In my foolishness, I want to see a very obvious display of His glory, but over the course of the summer it has definitely been in the subtleties that I have found myself most in awe.

Take *Bartholomew for instance, he is a favourite camper of ours but unfortunately we don’t have the pleasure of seeing him on a daily basis. He is a quiet and pensive boy, often found by himself playing on his phone or shooting hoops alone, all by his choosing however. A few days ago, another younger camper wasn’t having the greatest day, he really did not want to eat his lunch and all of my attempts to get him to at least try his food were futile.

Then along comes Bartholomew, whether he was intentionally being sensitive to this camper or just wanted to sit next to him I do not know, but he approached the camper and asked what the problem was.  He proceeded by sitting down next to him and offering to play his video game. The camper was still in a foul mood and simply ignored him. Unfazed, Bartholomew continued to play and offer his game, and eventually he got the camper’s attention.

Later, this camper who had so adamantly thrown his lunch in dissatisfaction was happily eating it while playing a phone game with Bartholomew. Whether he was mindful of the effect of his small act of kindness or not, this was one of those subtle moments that if I hadn’t been right next to them, I definitely would have missed it. Something as simple as reaching out to a fellow camper may not sound like much, but I know that if I can find joy and encouragement in it, then God is definitely rejoicing and looking down with a huge smile.

(*Camper's name changed)

This is Justin’s first summer as an intern with TCM where he is serving at Kingston-Galloway. He is eagerly waiting for the Father’s love to invade the lives of the children, and for air conditioning.