Setting up Camp at Night


2 Peter 2:10-11 "This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord." NIV

After spending six hours on the Atlantic, crossing from North Sydney, Cape Breton to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland, it was close to midnight before we arrived at our campsite. Was it any wonder that only a note waited up for us at the main office of the campground?

The note hanging on the window of the main office told us the campsite number. But it was a large campground with many narrow, winding roads, and we had no idea just where we would find our particular campsite in the dark. So we set out, my wife driving the van and towing the tent trailer, and myself on foot. As I jogged up and down those winding roads, searching for campsite numbers, I was sure we would be in bed in just a few moments. I had NO IDEA we were heading for BIG trouble!

You see, we were brand new to Rving. After 3 days on the road with 3 pull-through campsites, we had pretty much mastered the art of "forward". However, the art of "reverse" was still totally new territory! And wouldn't you know it: our first "back-in" campsite had to be right here, 12:30 at night, in a full, quiet (and did I mention dark???) Campground!

Having had a little more practice at backing up than I (she tried and failed twice, I hadn't tried!), my wife expertly took the wheel. But to our horror, it seemed like our trailer much preferred the ditch to the campsite! (We're still asking ourselves just why trailers are attracted to trenches!) Frustrated and tired, we made a decision we were sure would please our neighbors (who, having already been woken up by our futile attempts at getting our trailer onto its campsite, were starting to shift around impatiently in their rigs!): We decided to leave the camper where it was-crooked. Oh, and to save us time in the morning, we decided to leave it attached to the van!

As our fatigue-fogged minds struggled to settle on what we needed to do next, we decided to skip the "leveling" step. After all, it LOOKED level enough! And we proceeded to connect with the 30 AMP electricity box. But the trailer was still very close to the road, and the electrical box was at the back of the campsite. This called for the extension cord; however we would soon discover that our extension cord has a 15 AMP plug . . .

"No problem!" We thought. "We have a 15 to 30 AMP plug converter."

As we attempted to push that converter onto the cord, it balked. We pushed harder. It continued to resist, until, finally, much effort on our part later, it slipped into place. Our prayers were being answered. We had electricity! But something funny was happening: we could hear the carbon monoxide detector in the trailer buzzing, as if it were being connected and disconnected from its power source. Curious. But when it stopped (probably due to the prayers of our now irritated neighbors!) We were sure that it was some kind of a fluky thing, and we breezed on.

Next it was time to raise the top. Due to the odd angle between the camper and the van (Remember? We had decided to just leave it hooked up? And because of our "expert" backing-up abilities, it wasn't exactly straight?) The crank wouldn't go all the way around. So by giving it half a crank and then taking the crank out and moving it to a spot where we could give it another half of a crank, (the whole process normally takes two minutes, tonight it took 10!) The trailer top was up. We had never noticed before just how noisy that crank could be, but we could see by the lights beginning to flick on in the neighboring trailers that our neighbors had, indeed, noticed!

Next it was time to extend the beds. But to our despair, the front bed could not be fully extended. Why? Because of that odd angle between the camper and the van again! We had no choice. We unhitched. And since we were no longer attached to the van, we decided to manually push the trailer back into the campsite. (Oh! And to straighten it out at the same time!) At this point it is safe to say that we were beginning to wish our portable shelter that we had pulled so far would start to cooperate!

Well, you guessed it. The trailer still wanted to head for that ditch, and even by hand we barely managed to keep it on the campsite! But there we were, finally! And the rest of the set-up went without a hitch. Until we went inside and discovered we had no overhead lights! Oh. And our hitch lock was NOWHERE to be found!

A search party was organized for the hitch lock, but with only one battery-operated lantern, we were defeated before we even started. There seemed to be nothing to be done about the overhead lights, and thoroughly exhausted (physically, mentally, AND emotionally!) We fell into bed. It was after 1 a.m. And an hour later, our closest neighbor got up, spent the next 90 minutes packing up HIS noisy trailer, and left the campground. Do you think he was paying us back???

It's sad to say, but sometimes going to church reminds me of that night in the campground. Everybody has his own idea about how things should be done, and while everybody works to make his own ideas fly, God's work, the Great Commission, is left undone.

"I prefer the ditch," said the trailer. But many believers, forgetting that Christ is the head of the church, say: "My way is the only way!"

"I don't like that 15 to 30 AMP plug converter!" Exclaimed the electrical cord. And forgetting that Jesus encourages us to love everyone, many believers are quick to say: "I don't like Ms. Smith!"

How we wished our trailer would cooperate, that night of all nights, so that we could spend what few hours we had at the campground sleeping instead of fighting with the rig! And instead of demanding our own way, bickering, and discouraging others, shouldn't we also be following our Master's example? Shouldn't we spend our time encouraging and serving so that the gospel can go forth?

Not only was cooperation encouraged by Jesus, it is a MUST for attracting others to Jesus: John 17:23 "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." NIV

Friends, cooperation is a decision. Unity is only possible if we let Jesus being our Master and Leader.

So let me ask you just where YOUR trailer is heading. I hope it is not for the ditch. This may be very attractive, but it's quite dirty down there, believe me!

Rob Chaffart

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