Three Days of Mothering, All for a Lesson of a Lifetime

August 3, 2016
Joshua Suh La Canada High School 11th Grade

Joshua Suh
La Canada High School 11th Grade

Roughly two weeks ago, some of my friends and I signed up for Camp Agape, and this camp was no ordinary camp. It was run by Milal Missions organization, a nonprofit group whose goal is to help the disabled around the world, moti- vated by Christian faith. What made this camp so special was that ordinary people who sign up for this camp weren’ t the ones who were taken care of, they were paired up with dis- abled“buddies” ?for three days and two nights at the gener- ous campus of UCSB.

Some of my other friends dismissed this arduous task by saying:“How can that be so hard? You only have to spend three days with them.” or“I spent a month backpacking in Big Bear mountain all by myself. That would be cake com- pared to that!” However, my experiences at the camp reveal that working at camp is harder than solo backpacking in a recreational area.

My buddy was vehement yet apathetic, he was hungry but he refused to eat, he was also stub-born yet compliant only in specialcases. He was contradiction itself. He had to reluctantly swallow pills that would be fatal if he hadn’t, and he woke up one night after a day of tiring activities and wandered the corridors of UCSB dorms and got me in trouble. I had to be alert 24/7 with my buddy atcamp. I had to scout for possible dangers, watch for silent wander offs, look for discomfort in his actions, and ask him if he wanted to use the restroom continuously. He always replied with a ready-made series of“no”’ s. Basically, looking out for buddies who had special needs had to become our second nature if we wanted to be successful in keeping them content and engaged. And contrary to the backpacking guy, we had to constantly lose sleep for the well-being of our buddies and not use the sleeping hour to care for ours, which we would have done if we were backpacking alone.

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However, the lesson was valuable in the end. In my opin- ion, the overall goal of this camp was to help the volunteers realize God’ s grace through taking care of their buddies. To be like Jesus when he washed the feet of his disciples, to be humble and lower yourself to them. It was surprising to see how my parents reacted to my sudden mature attitude. Al- though the camp was a task in and of itself, its core messages and memories will continue to resonate with me throughout my life.

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