The long-awaited adventure of Jungle camp is upon us! For months, we students have been hearing comments about the upcoming Jungle camp practicum from staff and students, yet we really knew very little information. The staff intentionally gave us minimal details (perhaps so we could focus on other important classes). A month or so before building began, we began learning more of what this practicum entails. Quite frankly, we’ve been so excited for these days of bonding as a class and spending time together out in “The Jungle.” Yet this is about more than just having a good time together.
Jungle Camp—in all its adventure, fun, challenges, and unknowns—is a strategic part of the training program. The staff know that living overseas is radically different from life as we know it in Canada. The Jungle Camp practicum is an opportunity to practice living in an unfamiliar situation so that we may learn and grow through the process. While not intended to simulate a particular field, this month of primitive living gives us the opportunity to experience the changes that occur when living cross culturally. We built our house with no power tools and the walls are made of plastic. Our fridge is a pail in the ground. We do not have any accessories that need electricity, as all we have is a 12v battery for our light. The only things we can take with us are the things we can carry up, and if we have forgotten something—well, that is part of the learning experience! Cooking on a homemade clay stove, eating shelf-stable foods, living without the technology to contact people back home, doing laundry by hand, and having limited privacy are some of the aspects which create a perfect environment for growth.
This is not just about surviving, but learning to thrive.
The journey has not all been easy as we prepared food for a month, built our houses and mentally prepared ourselves for the unknowns that lay in store. Living in Jungle Camp is not just about surviving our month of primitive living, but learning to thrive and face each day in the grace the Lord provides. Challenge and pain is not bad! Indeed, it is an opportunity for growth—in our walk with the Lord and with others. Jungle Camp is just one more area where we have the privilege of training in a safe environment for what we may face in the future. When looking ahead to cross-cultural ministry, it can be daunting to think about all that we may have to give up. We can handle a month in the woods of Ontario, but what about the rest of our lives? Jesus explains what really matters:
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”Mark 8:34-36 (NIV)
Far greater than anything on this earth is where we are at with the Lord. Jungle Camp is an opportunity to challenge our normality and press us closer to Christ through the daily joys and challenges we will face.
P.S. We’re launching our first ever virtual tour of Jungle Camp in the next couple weeks. You’ll get to see 3D views inside all the houses, a couple time lapse videos, and more! Below is a sneak peak of my house; click here to find out more about the Virtual Tour and even sign up for us to notify you when the others are ready!