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Anchored in Hope - Rianna

This week I am excited to welcome Rianna as our guest author. Rianna served as one of our Day Camp Leaders this summer. Each week she, along with a team of counselors, traveled to a different community to lead a Vacation Bible School program. Our Day Camp teams travel primarily in the NW Iowa region but do also venture as far north at Hutchinson, MN as well as into South Dakota, Nebraska, and even Kansas! I hope you'll enjoy hearing about how God has been working in Rianna's life while she served on staff this summer!

Hi my name is Rianna Vivens! I got the privilege of serving as a day camp leader at IOLBC this summer. I have led 8 day camps over the past couple months and let me tell you I have never enjoyed being covered in so much glue, paint, and tissue paper! Other than being a walking craft project, I also got to take the lead on planning, taking count of kiddos, guitar playing, and lots of other behind the scenes things. Day camp goes by fast and I loved every single millisecond which flew by!

This whirlwind of a summer was full of so many “highs, lows, and buffaloes”. This was a phrase I used with my day camp teams over the summer. During a closing meeting, after we finished a full day of day camp, we would share our highs of the day along with the lows, and my personal favorite buffaloes. Buffaloes are something completely random which made you laugh or something that just brought a smile to your face. So I thought I would share my highs, lows, and buffaloes of this summer and what God has taught me through them.

I decided to start sharing as I would in my daily meetings by starting with just one of my lows. This way we can end on positive note. There were only a couple of lows this summer so we will start with the one which started off my summer. I arrived at camp Monday, May 23 around 5 pm. Earlier in the day I had a video chat with an advisor for a D1 school at which I had planned on dancing. He informed me things weren’t going to transfer as planned and I should consider looking at different nursing programs. At that point I had already been accepted to the nursing program at the college I already attended. The only thing stopping me from accepting my spot in their nursing program was my hope to dance at D1 school. It might of been my pride, or what I thought other people might think of me, but I was just so scared to give up the opportunity to dance.

After lots of thinking, praying, and talking to family and friends. I decided it would best if I returned to the college I had already attended. I still get to dance and have a lot of opportunities which have opened up. The whole time I was full of worry when I should have just been trusting God. In Jeremiah 29:11 its says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future." God has filled my life with blessings. I will be attending nursing school this fall and dancing. As I start this new chapter I plan to follow God’s lead because he has my back and wants what is best for me. Looking back now I really see God at work in that very tough decision and can see why this may have been the best for me right now.

Now for my high of the summer. It is hard to just pick one when my summer was full of highs. My first day camp of the summer was in Holstein, IA and, of course, I was so nervous to lead my first day camp! I was worried about not picking the right songs for worship, forgetting the glue for crafts, and my biggest fear: not being able to reach the kids with the good news God has called us to share. However, the week went on and it went amazing! So many good things had happened and the kids were learning! Like I had said in my low, God always has a good plan for us. I, on the other hand, learned something else from this wonderful first week! At the end of every week we finish day camp with a closing program to which all the parents are invited to. That closing program was the close to my very first day camp and a great start to my summer. One of the 6th graders came up to me. He had stopped, thanked me for a wonderful week and had told me he had such an amazing time! Then he went and thanked the counselors as well. It was so incredibly kind for him to stop and to tell us he had a great week. This child shared the light and love God with us after a whole week of us trying to do very same thing with him and the other kids. Just like it says in Matthew 5:14, that little boy let his light shine and his sweet kindness propelled us into a whole summer of sharing God's love with others.

I am going to end with my buffalo or better known as my little random moment that brought a smile to my face. This was my one of my favorite stories of them summer. This story took place in Pochahontas, IA at my third day camp of the summer. We were eating lunch at the nearby school and this young first grader had brought his lunch over to sit by me. He seemed downcast and upset so I asked him if he was alright. He went on to tell me that the kids at the first table he sat at were making fun of him for the glasses he wore. I tried to make him feel better by telling him that I also wore glasses. That glasses helped us see and that makes them something not to be ashamed of. He went on to tell me that he had no problem with his glasses and explained to me why he had to wear them. He had used terms that were almost to big to be in my vocabulary. He was an awfully smart kid but his large vocabulary wasn’t the only reason I thought he was smart. One little girl ran up to me as I was being educated on all things optometry. She had come up to ask me why God had to die. Before I could open my mouth to respond this young boy blurted out, “Cause He loved us..DUH!”. Boom. Just like that I had a smile on my face and a buffalo to tell my team. I of course went on to explain it a little more to this girl but he basically summed it up. In Matthew 18 verses 1 through 5, Jesus teaches us to humble ourselves like children. He teaches us all about childlike faith. I feel childlike faith is thought to be a faith which does seek explanations but just believes; it has no doubt. I don’t believe that is true. Have you ever been around young children? They can be very inquisitive and ask lots of questions. I believe childlike faith is a faith eager to learn about the good news! A faith that is constantly learning and growing.

So in short my low taught me to trust what the Lord has in store for and to not try to make things happen on my own. My high taught me to be kind and be a light to others. You never now when the person may need it. Finally, my buffalo taught to keep a childlike faith that not only trusts the Lord but is eager to learn more.

Follow Up:

What is a high, a low, and a buffalo from your summer?


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