About a month ago my church, Faith Baptist in Taylors, South Carolina, took its annual mission trip to Ironwood Christian Camp in the middle of the Mojave desert. Our church has been taking this annual January trip for at least fifteen years straight. I’m not sure of the exact number of years, but its a lot.

I’ve had the privilege to be on 4 of these trips and I always come back so thankful for this type of ministry. Ironwood hosts more than just camps during the summer, they always have a retreat or conference going on, which keeps things busy. The lives that are touched through this camp simply can’t be counted.

I met my husband, Jon, at this camp in 2004, as did my sister and many of our friends. That alone makes me thankful for a place where Christian high school and college age kids can spend their summers working for the common cause of Christ. The friends I made during those 3 shorts months back in 2004 will always be special to me.

Typically during these mission work trips, several projects are being conducted at once. This year was a little different in that most of the team members worked on one main project.

Like I mentioned Ironwood does more than just camp. They have a ministry called the Institute of Ministry and it’s geared towards young people out of high school, yet not sure of their future, mostly 18-22 year olds. They have classes and each semester the students are assigned a particular area of camp in which they serve. For instance, one semester could be working in the kitchen and the next could be grounds crew.

Most of these students want to be in full time ministry of some sort and this program is a way for them to experience the many different jobs required to run a successful camping ministry.

The Institute of Ministry’s location on the camp property had several buildings and trailers donated to it, but they have sat vacant and in need of work for a while. It was our team’s responsibility to gut these buildings, frame up the walls, build a roof, and get as much done as possible to prepare for the next work crew coming in.

Here’s a picture of the first day of the building.

By the end of the week the building and surrounding area looked a lot different.

Usually during the course of the week, we always take a day for fun. It’s a good way to unwind, relax and have a little fun in the midst of hard work. Typically this day is on Saturday, at the end of the week, but this year was different.

Since the team was flying out on Saturday and the camp had 2 retreats coming in that same weekend, our fun day was scheduled for Wednesday. I thought this was actually a great idea, it helped to break up the week a bit.

Every year the fun days vary as to what we do. This year our team members piled into 3 jeeps and our truck rental and took off into the desert. We hadn’t gotten too far before one of the jeeps became stuck, which in turn our truck got stuck in the soft California sand.

To make a long story short, we did get all the vehicles successfully unstuck which was an adventure in and of itself. It’s a good thing we had so many guys with us to help dig and pull the vehicles out.

Here’s 2 of the jeeps. The red one didn’t get stuck and the gray one kind-of-not-really-did.

Here’s the truck stuck, notice it is a Dodge, even though it did have 4-wheel drive, it didn’t help much.

Once all the vehicles were unstuck, we sent the jeep without 4-wheel drive back to camp while the others trudged on to our final destination. As the yellow jeep was quickly driving out of the soft sand, a strap came loose and brought the jeep to a quick halt. The guys that had just dug out the truck, all took off running to help get the yellow jeep unstuck yet again.

Of course, what trip would be complete without a video or two? The first is when the whole team went out on Wednesday and the second is a smaller group of us who went out and played the first Sunday we were at camp.

You’ll have to excuse the amateur video. (oh, and if you’re at work, there is music with the videos).