This month I got the pleasure of celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) for the first time. My church observed it by all going camping together for the 8 day feast (with a set up and tear down/clean up day on each end making it 10 days total).
I confess I was pretty freaked out about going on many levels (I hadn’t camped in 23 years!), but at the same time I knew He was calling me to step out and do it – so I trusted Him and stepped in faith.
To start with, we were not able financially to swing paying for the trip nor did we have money to get camping equipment. So from the outset it wasn’t looking hopeful, but when the Lord leads He provides! First He made a way for the cost of the camping to be covered and then some friends from Destiny agreed to loan us a TON of their camping gear – everything from a 12-person cabin tent (which TRUST ME was a God-send when you’re in it for 10 days), sleeping bag, cot, retractable skewers for cooking hot dogs and marshmallows, rain gear, a small stove, etc, etc, etc (Thank you Tuckers!).
Even after those pieces were in place I was still freaking out a bit, but the Lord gave me Amy Riley to calm me down and give me more insight so I’d know what I was getting into. Then my Mom got me the few items of clothing I needed and we did a BBQ at the campsite so we could get a lay of the land. I was as ready as I could ever be!
Allen and I were the first to arrive (other than the Staleys who’d arrived the day before). My precious husband had managed to pack things I’d mentioned a month earlier I wanted to bring! He took care of EVERYTHING, single-handedly put up the tent in the drizzling weather, brought everything inside (which was a LOT of stuff, I almost didn’t fit in the car he’d packed it so tight), and made it into our new home.
It was REALLY clear Allen wanted to do everything to help me be comfortable and have a good experience (he’d even hinted at the fact he was hoping I’d turn into a camper… I didn’t hold out much hope for him, but all his efforts definitely helped!)
Days were filled with midrash (bible study), classes (everything from fire classes to one on flags), loads of awesome fellowship, lots of fires (and even fireworks – gotta love a pastor who is a pyrotechnic), stories and games, community dinners, amazing worship, and more.
And as the days went by, I adjusted to my new home including toddlers screaming in the mornings while I was trying to sleep, walking what felt like a gagillon miles to the bathroom, weather that got down to the low 40s, rain that came on over half our days culminating in sleet on out final full day. And at the end of the last day I discovered something very surprising… I didn’t want to go home.
A Few Major Take-Aways
Community: I loved the fellowship of all being together. Yes there were days I wanted to punch people (and days they undoubtedly wanted to punch me) and yes we all had “marital moments” in front of each other, but what happened was beautiful – we ministered to and encouraged one another. Truly, we are mishpacha (Hebrew for family).
Given the amount of time I spend at my home (house) both because I work from home and because we’ve lived here nearly a decade, I really didn’t think adjusting back to being here would be a big deal. But when I got home it hurt that I couldn’t walk 10 feet to the Totra’s tent, rather a 50 min drive to see them. And instead of every day it’s once a week. I feel the loss of the community.
I also look at all the things around me and what had seemed like comforts now looks a bit more like an anchor. We’re all in this system, this way of living… and there’s part of me that just wants to go back to my tent (which had wi-fi mind you, I’m not TOTALLY crazy – LOL).
So I was greatly blessed by my first Sukkot and am eagerly awaiting next year, and yes we’re discussed camping options for before then too 😉
Go see my pictures from Sukkot!