RA/GA Trip to Bent Tree

June 3, 2006

We decided to repeat the RA/GA activity to Bent Tree this month since everyone seemed to have a good time on April 29. This is a group photo near the end of the trip at our traditional picture spot on the dam overlooking Lake Tamarack. Kneeling in front are Olivia Danser, Alexi Hughes, Dustin Hooten, Angel David, Andros Garcia, Johnny Huffman and Carlos Garcia with Kristos Garcia on the ground in front of everyone. Standing in back are Austin Hughes, Madeline Danser, Taylor Lowery, Claudia Hughes (mother of Alexi and Austin), Janeth Jimenez (mother of Carlos, Andros and Kristos), Maris Mejia with 24 day-old Alejandro Dario in her arms, and Stan extreme right. A total of 18 persons on the trip.

Here's another shot, since Susan Danser was out of the group taking a picture, but this one lost Claudia and Maris. Janeth is holding little Alejandro.

We started the day with a pancake breakfast at the church. At left Maris serves pancakes while Johnny serves sausage. Grace Lopez joined us for breakfast. At right are Janeth, Claudia , Susan and Stan. Thanks to Stan and Johnny for cooking the pancakes.

Russ also joins us for breakfast before taking off for the men's golf tournament. His younger daughter Olivia and Taylor Lowery join us for this trip.

We headed out for Bent Tree and found Lake Tamarack with blue water and clear skies after last night's thunderstorms.

I did an "RA Leader's minute" about a leaf, making the point that it was life and that we couldn't make a single cell of it. I challenged the kids to find something unique that only God could create. These were the initial offerings of Andros at left and Alexi at right.

Even this tiny bloom against a childs finger was a pretty impressive example. The kids kept bringing things to me all day long, which was of course the point of the exercise: to get them to look closely at God's creation. Andros must have brought me a dozen things.

Both Andros (left) and Angel (above) told us this was their very first time to go fishing. They enjoyed learning to cast.

The girls enjoyed a lakeside swing.

Claudia, Austin and Dustin wading in the shallow current where the spillway stream leaves the lake.

Susan takes the girls to where they can look at the waterfall and the deep pool below it.

Taylor and Madeline try their hand at fishing while some of the other girls hunt for tadpoles and minnows in the stream.

Johnny guides Carlos and Angel to fishing in the deep pool beneath the waterfall. Maris holds little Alejandro by the side of the stream. Maris took part in the activities and even helped with lunch while holding Alejandro.

Carlos seemed really interested in fishing, and Johnny spent a good bit of time with him at the deep pool. The children explored all along the stream below the waterfall.

Austin and Alexi are exploring the rocks and stream at a young age. But if Maris keeps this up, little Alejandro should grow up with a love of nature, having been out in it almost since birth!

Further downstream from the falls was a shallow pool with a rock bridge which the kids enjoyed. Stan keeps watch.

We returned to the beach side of the lake for our traditional peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich lunch and then the kids got to play in the lake a bit before our return.

The beauty of the children stays with me as a reminder of the great blessing of life. It is a privilege to try to help instill in them early a reverence and enjoyment of the things God has made and entrusted to us.

Family Independence Day Gathering

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