The Panda… where do I begin? The Legend of the Panda began the first night of camp. We split the leaders and kids up into groups and each team separated to choose a team name and put together an “opening night” skit to introduce the team. Levi’s team came up with a skit where each person was playing some famous warrior. They had the Terminator (Big John), Chuck Norris (Peter Walker, hey, you have to admit there is a bit of resemblance), and Super Man. The idea was that each of these warriors was not as great as this team. They also had a group of kids come out dressed up in their TKD uniforms, with the idea being the TKD kids were tougher than any of these other “warriors”. When they announced Levi, he was named the “Kung Fu Panda”, and a nickname and persona was born for him. He took this nickname with no problem, and the kids referred to him as Panda throughout the week, and it just stuck with our team.
It was a blessing for me to have Levi on this team. Panda was a ball of energy, going in every direction, playing with any kid who wanted to play. Levi showed the love of Jesus by just loving the kids here. He didn’t preach a long Gospel sermon at any point; he didn’t lead the camp in prayer, he just loved these kids.
During VBC, Panda jumped in to be a clown. I could tell that this was out of his comfort zone, but the Lord lifted him through it and he was awesome. He brought energy and humor to our clown bit.
When the pool opened up at camp, he was in both days, dunking kids and being dunked. I think he stayed in longer than anyone else at camp.
On the evening where the Lord was calling many kids to faith, Levi walked around hugging kids and putting his hand on them while others prayed. It was a beautiful thing to see. I had tears in my eyes watching our kids minister to these kids who were so broken by their sin.
Panda’s attitude, approach, and love for these kids was a spectacular thing to see, and I thank God for Levi. I pray that God will bring Levi back to Moldova for years to come, and that he will continue to minister to the children here in his own special way. Next year camp would not be the same without PANDA!