Monday, June 9, 2014

Camp Success!

GEMS Camp was a huge success! Thank you to all those who came, volunteered, and prayed for this camp! Pictures from camp will come via an email link to all adults who attended camp.

Counselors, you may have noticed in your emails regarding the upcoming Fall Workshops in August, that my name (Julie Ball) is no longer at the bottom. Carla Hoekzema from First Seattle is the new Area Coordinator and she will be working with Tami to love on you and teach you the new theme. She is going to be great and you will all love her! Thank you for being so supportive of the leadership training and the GEMS program. You continue to bless many girls for Jesus.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Dear Campers and Cabin Counselors,

We are so excited that God is bringing you to GEMS Camp 2014 in just a couple weeks! We have been praying for this camp and for YOU and we know that God has plans for us there and can’t wait to experience camp with you. This letter contains A LOT of important information, so please read it carefully and do not hesitate to contact one of us if you have any questions at all.

1.      Camp begins with registration at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 6, 2014. Please eat dinner before you arrive. Upon arrival, you will check-in, find your cabin, and have the opportunity to explore the camp grounds before we begin our first official activity at 7:00 p.m.

2.      Please bring the following items with you: sleeping bag, pillow, swimsuit & towels, sunscreen, toothbrush, toothpaste, other toiletries, clothes for hot & cold weather, shoes for walks/hikes, coat/jacket, flashlight, Bible, and a refillable water bottle. Life jackets are provided by the camp for all lake activities. If you would like to have your daughter wear water wings or a life jacket in the pool, please send that along from home. For your peace of mind, know that lifeguards are on duty at the lake and the pool during the entire time the girls have access to those areas. Safety is of utmost importance to us during camp.

3.      We realize that many of the older girls have cell phones and that parents rely on these to be able to reach their children. We ask that the girls do not bring cell phones or music players to camp, but if the parents feel it is necessary, we ask that the girls refrain from using them during camp activities except in case of emergency. We reserve the right to hold on to a girl’s cell phone or music player during camp activities if we believe it is being used inappropriately at camp. Cabin Counselors may bring cell phones, but we ask that you only use them as necessary and with discretion, as your primary task while at camp is to be with your group of girls and accompany them and assist them throughout the camp experience. Parents, please feel free to call the phone of your daughter’s club counselors if you need to reach your daughter during camp at any time.

4.      Directions to Lake Retreat & Conference Center:

From Tacoma: 
North on I-5 to Federal Way
East on Hwy 18 at exit 142A
Right on 272nd Street (this is also Hwy 516 and Kent-Kangley Rd. - same road, three names)
Right on Retreat-Kanaskat Rd. SE
Lake Retreat is approx. 1/4 mile on the left 
From North of Seattle: 
I-5 South
Merge onto I-405 S
East on I-90
Right on Front Street in Issaquah at Exit 17
Approx. 20 min. drive to first stop sign. Left onto Kent-Kangley Rd.
Right on Retreat-Kanaskat Rd. SE
Lake Retreat is approx. 1/4 mile on the left 

From Seattle: 
East on I-90
Right on Front Street in Issaquah at Exit 17
Approx. 20 min. drive to first stop sign. Left onto Kent-Kangley Rd.
Right on Retreat-Kanaskat Rd. SE
Lake Retreat is approx. 1/4 mile on the left 
From Ellensburg: 
West on I-90
West on Hwy 18 at Exit 25
Off at Hobart exit, turn left
At first stop sign turn Left onto Kent-Kangley Rd.
Right on Retreat-Kanaskat Rd. SE
Lake Retreat is approx. 1/4 mile on the left 

 If you would like to see a map or have any other questions about the camp facility, you may visit their website at In case of emergency, the main phone number for the camp is 425-432-4293.

5.      Transportation to & from camp should be coordinated with your club. Counselors, please communicate to your own girls your travel information.

6.      Camp will end by 10:30 on Sunday morning, June 8, at which time you’ll be given the opportunity to load up your vehicles. We hope to have everyone on their way by 11:00 a.m. A travel snack will be provided, but you will be on your own for lunch if needed on your way home.

7.      When you arrive, each camper and cabin counselor will be given a name tag, a schedule, and a booklet with devotions and other pertinent information. Emergency phone numbers will be included in this booklet.

8.      Parents: If your daughter requires medication while at camp, please advise the counselors she will be traveling with from your club. We will have a camp nurse for acute care and emergencies; but she will not be able to distribute medications. Likewise, if your daughter requires an Epi-pen or other immediate care medications for allergies or chronic conditions, please consult with your club counselors to clarify her care.

9.      Many clubs have offered to donate snacks and supplies. A separate letter with counselor information and these details will be sent to all Club Coordinators and Cabin Counselors who are registered for camp.

As we have said before, please do not hesitate to contact either one of us with any questions or concerns regarding camp. 

Looking forward to camp with you,

Julie Ball, Camp Co-Coordinator

Tami Cleveringa, Camp Co-Coordinator

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Registration forms & money for GEMS Camp must be mailed and postmarked by Monday, May 5, which is tomorrow! Once all registrations have been received and data has been entered into a spreadsheet, clubs will be contacted with final details and information regarding camp in general and any details your club needs to know regarding how you signed up to help. Look for all this to come to you by May 20! Please let us know if you have any further questions or if we forget to give you the information you need by that date. Keep praying for our camp that will begin in just 33 days!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayers for God's Glory

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” – King David
2 Samuel 7:22

David’s greatest passion was for God’s name. His passion for God’s greatness was on display in the sheep pasture, the battlefield, and the palace. It was evident in his psalms and prayers, and God’s glory was the drive behind his desire to build the Temple. When Nathan told David that he was not to build the Temple, but that God promised to make David’s name great and establish his throne forever, David said nothing to Nathan. Instead, he went to the Tabernacle, sat before the Ark, and talked to God (2 Samuel 7:18-29). His posture, prayer, and position exemplify John’s words and God’s command, He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).

David’s posture. David learned of God’s covenant promises and sat before the LORD. To sit rather than stand in God’s presence was a posture of humility and recognition that this was a gift of God’s grace. He didn’t earn it. He didn’t deserve it. All is grace! He was overwhelmed by God’s promise. “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? This decree – Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human!” (v. 18)

David’s prayer. Within David’s prayer of gratitude he refers to God nine times as either the Sovereign Lord or Lord Almighty. God’s greatness is his prayer focus and praise. God’s glory is the heart of his petition. He urges God to fulfill His promise, not for David’s gain and glory, but God’s! “Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever” (v. 26). David recounts the great and awesome wonders God performed for His people, he trusts God’s promises, and gives thanks for His forever blessings.  

David’s position. Within David’s prayer he refers to himself ten times as God’s servant. Whether living in obscurity as a shepherd or crowned king of Israel, he rightly understood and accepted his role as God’s servant. God is God. He was not. He is the Sovereign LORD, Master, Owner, and Ruler of all. No matter David’s position within the kingdom, his heart was postured as a servant for God’s glory.

God’s promise to David was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ whose mission and prayer was God’s glory. On route to the garden He prayed, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you” (John 17:1).

HE>i: Think about your prayers. Is the focus of your praise and petitions God’s greatness and glory?

Today when you pray, start with God. Survey what He has made. Recite what He has done. Proclaim who He is. 
Mark Buchanan

grace and peace,

Monday, March 31, 2014


May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Since youth I’ve been a list maker. Need something done? Put it on the list. Check. Check. Check. What joy to cross off accomplished tasks with the scratch of pen to paper. Today my lists are driven less by the desire to check off tasks, and more by the necessity to write things down so I don’t forget! Don’t tell me on the fly that you need razor blades or milk. Put it on the list or it won’t happen. There are moments it would be helpful if I had jotted down why I entered a room. Can anyone identify?

Sadly, the one thing I rarely forget is the very thing I should: myself! In his book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Timothy Keller writes, “Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself.”

The Apostle Paul understood, taught, and lived what it means to be self-forgetful. Although he had every right to boast in outward appearances, he wasn’t puffed up with pride. He considered them garbage that he might gain Christ (Philippians 3:3-8). Although he admitted he was the worst of sinners, he didn’t self-deprecate (1 Timothy 1:15-16). His identity and purpose were not founded on what others thought of him or even what he thought of himself. His boast was in Christ alone! He wrote, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). For God to become greater and us to become less we must boast in Christ, and be self-forgetful!

• The self-forgetful are more concerned about pleasing Jesus than making good impressions. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will . . . so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way (Colossians 1:9-10).

• The self-forgetful look out for the things of Jesus rather than their own comfort and security. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:21).
• The self-forgetful do good deeds for the praise and glory of their Father, not for the praise of people. (Matthew 5:16) 

HE>i: How self-forgetful are you? Seek to think more about Jesus and less about yourself.

True humility isn’t acting to make ourselves seem humble to others, but striving to forget ourselves for the sake of others.
Burk Parsons

grace and peace,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's your Vision?

What’s Your Vision? 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Isaiah 6:1

When Helen Keller was asked “What could be worse than being blind?”, she replied “To have sight without vision.” How true.

In chapter 5 of his book Isaiah points his fingers at the faults of others:
  • Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field (v. 8)
  • Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks (v. 11)
  • Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit (v. 18)
  • Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (v. 20)
A dramatic change took place in Isaiah when he had a God-sized vision of the LORD Almighty. Try to imagine the sights and sounds that Isaiah saw!

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah saw angels and heard them calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Doorposts shook. Thresholds trembled. The temple was filled with smoke! (6:1-4)

No longer was Isaiah pointing his fingers at others. He had seen the LORD! He had seen His greatness and glory! The vision of God’s splendor convicted him of his sin. He cried out, “Woe to me!” (v. 5) A God-sized vision transformed Isaiah into a person God could use! After he was assured that his guilt was removed and his sin atoned for, he was ready to hear God’s call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (v. 6)

How we see God affects the way we live. Our lives show God and others if we have a God-sized vision of the LORD or a pint-sized one. When Saul was anointed the first king of Israel his vision of God was so small he hid in the baggage. When David ran (yes, Scripture says, “ran”) to the battle line to meet Goliath, his vision of God’s greatness was aligned to the truth of who God is and what He says He will do. David said, “It is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s” (1 Samuel 17:47).

HE>i: What is your vision of God?

Sometimes when we get overwhelmed we forget how big God is.
AW Tozer

grace and peace,


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The Whatcom County GEMS Skating Party is this coming Tuesday at Lynden Skateway, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., $5/person or $7 if you want inline skates. Bring a friend and join us!

Also, notice that in the right-hand column you can access the forms to register for the ALL WASHINGTON STATE GEMS CAMP, June 6-8, 2014 at Lake Retreat in Ravensdale, WA. We can't wait to see all you GEMS Campers and Counselors!! There is a new HEATED INDOOR POOL we get to use on Saturday afternoon, so no matter the weather, we will have opportunity to swim!!! Cost is $100/person. Forms are due TO YOUR CLUB COORDINATOR by May 1 and must be postmarked to me, Julie Ball, by May 5.