The toughest week

It is close to 5:00, Wednesday morning, the 20th of September. After a sudden awakening, the four students of Blue team are feverishly packing and loading their stuff in one of ITC’s vans. They are clueless of their departure time and destination. However, the four leaders have carefully planned an expedition that will stretch the students far beyond their comfort zones and bring them to a greater understanding of manhood and maturity.

For most of the next week, Blue team conducted work projects all around the North Woods Conference Center: a beautiful, 1,500 acre piece of wilderness in the northern half of Michigan. The absolutely immaculate surroundings of fall colors and reflective lakes gave spirit to the team as they worked from sun-up to sun-down. Some of the projects we worked on were clearing trails, stacking wood, moving hay, cleaning an ancient school-house, clearing rocks, preparing a construction site for planting grass, re-shingling a house, cleaning a lake beach, picking up trash, and many other things. As for this post, due to computer problems, I have been unable to add pictures. But I do have plenty that I hope to add later.

To make things even more exciting, we put the students through some rather unexpected midnight-wake up calls. One night we decided the infamous verse test would be taken in the middle of the night. We did a 2:00am hike in the woods that same night; the stars were so bright out there. A few fire alarms in the middle of the night added to the unexpectedness. One of the more enjoyable ventures was a kayaking excursion under a setting moon. Through all of this, the students were under voice lockdown and than personal pronoun lockdown, violations of which would bring extra motivational PT. It took a great deal of endurance and determination, but Blue team made it through the toughest week of Life Focus

And all this was not without a purpose. The verse test was essential to build not only knowledge, but also understanding of God’s Word as they used every spare minute to memorize and engraft the first chapter of James. The voice lockdown and personal pronoun lockdown were used to help the students think before they speak. If they have the self-control to catch themselves from saying I, me, we, and us, it became a lot easier to catch themselves before speaking meaningless words. The work projects helped to instill diligence and especially thoroughness in completing a leaders exact instruction. The late nights built endurance and flexibility. Most importantly, all the strenuous activity helped to deepen their dependence on God for strength.

There are five more weeks yet to go. Yes, this week was tough, but perhaps the students will find that the week in the North Woods was not the toughest after all!


  1. Dan October 8, 2006 at 8:01 pm #

    Sounds like quite the adventure. Looking forward to seeing some pictures… soon? 🙂

  2. Robert October 8, 2006 at 8:09 pm #

    Great post James! It’s good to hear how things are going there. Boy, I must admin that voice lockdown would have been tough for me!

  3. Andrew Lewis October 8, 2006 at 8:13 pm #

    James! Great work out there! Keep it up!

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