Eight of our Outdoor Science School team members spent the month of August near Beijing, China impacting children in a transformational way by teaching them about creation, and by living lives consecrated to Christ. This year’s theme asked the question, “Where is your treasure?” This prompt provided ample opportunity for fun activities as well as deeper exploration for campers, Chinese volunteers, and our own team.
Jared, one of our naturalists, watched as, after lavishly creating a treasure box, a sixth grade girl began her journal activity where she was prompted to examine what “treasure” was for her. The question had a deep impact as she realized her treasure wouldn’t fit in a box —her treasure was her parents! In an eloquent speech at closing ceremony, she laid out her heart, asking to spend more time with her parents and inviting them to see her as treasure as well.
Stephanie, also a naturalist, led the first–grade campers on a night hike. Describing the solar system, Stephanie explained that if the earth was located even a few degrees closer to or further from the sun, it would either burn up or freeze. The kids were amazed at how the earth fit perfectly for life to thrive and wondered how that could happen. A little girl in the group spoke up and said, “It’s because of Jesus!” Stephanie encouraged her to say more. The child explained to her friends how a creator God made sure the earth was in the perfect spot.
The campers aren’t the only ones who experience transformational moments. Our team drew very close to the interpreters that make it possible for us to do ministry in China. These volunteers, mostly college–aged new believers, work very hard! As we work together to teach science classes and execute all the fun activities of a week of camp, they look up to our naturalists as teachers and role models.
On the last night together our team wanted to demonstrate how we, too, treasured these friendships. After reading the John 13 passage where Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, the Mount Hermon staff, one by one, washed the feet of the interpreters that had so diligently served us. Our interpreters had responses much like Peter had to Jesus, however as they processed what had happened, they began to say things like, “Wow, Jesus did this for His disciples!” and “If you are willing to do this for us, then we need to be willing to do this too!” It was deep and profound treasured moment.
I think Jesus said it best when He instructed His followers to put their treasures in heaven. Treasures can come unexpectedly, intentionally, and powerfully when we realize that all of life is a mission toward transformation. It is transformative to our life perspectives when we realize real treasures are the relationships that we have. This journey of discovery doesn’t end just because we are back in the States. It’s a never ending question we are still asking ourselves and each other, “Where are you finding your treasure?”