Wednesday, August 28, 2013

family retreat...

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that we are a family affected by disability.  By having a special needs daughter to be specific.  You also may know that we have attended a camp for families affected by disability called Joni and Friends (JAF) before.  This organization runs camps all over the world for families just like ours and just like in past years, we were able to attend this summer.  You can read about previous years here,  2012 and 2010.

Each family who attends the camp is assigned volunteers or Short Term Missionaries (STMs) who take care of your special needs child and typical children.  Every year we say that we got the best STMs and this year was no different.  We were incredibly blessed to meet the family who came to serve our family and to reconnect with our STM from last year. 

Every year when we attend our family is in a different place.  As Grace grows, develops and changes, she too is in a different place every year.  It is amazing to see the people, both STMs, employees of JAF and other volunteers, who remember Grace and our family from year to year.  Here are some pictures from our week.

This year's verse was Philippians 3:14.  So the camp had a race car theme and feel to it.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which 
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Ok.  So maybe I should have warned you that there would be a lot of pictures.  But that is just a fraction of the over 1001 I took in our five days there.  Well, may be there aren't that many pictures but it's close.

The boys loved, loved, loved our STM Jake.  He is a high school senior and was such a great example of how God calls us to serve and love others.  I am always so thrilled when my boys get to hang out with older boys who are not afraid to show their love of Jesus and are still considered 'cool'.   We so enjoyed getting to know him and his parents, Bob and Beryl.  Jake hopes to study pharmacy in college, so it was a neat God-incidence that Mark is a pharmacist and they were able to talk about pharmacy schools and jobs.  Luke asks daily when he will get to see and play with Jake again.  Bob and Beryl were able to bond very quickly and easily with Grace, which was amazing to see develop.  In fact, she would leave my arms to  go to Bob by the end of the week.  They are also about the same age and Mark and I so it was nice for us to have peers to hang out with.  This family was such an incredible blessing to our family.  We all wish we lived closer to them.

As always, I can't stress enough how this camp sows into our family, marriage and lives.  If you know of a family affected by disability and they could use a family vacation, please share this link with them.  Our family can't wait to go again next year...


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