Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Barnabas Highlights, Continued, Term 1, 2015

I have been back from camp since Friday, but my mind often wanders back to last week. This is common for me, as I am ALWAYS different when I come back from a week of serving others. I also enjoy looking at pictures others have posted from Barnabas, and it makes me smile. Sometimes I'm in the pics, but most of the time I wasn't this year, as I was with Sleeping Beauty during most of the week. Which was totally where I wanted to be at that time. However, I have definitely grown in my 9 summers (This is my 9th.) of serving out at Barnabas. There was a time that I would have preferred to stay with one camper mainly, and now I'm like, "Wherever you need me, just tell me..." As it turned out, it was easiest to have me with Sleeping Beauty and SingingGal (her missionary), while the staffers covered the girls and the cabin. I didn't realize how much we missed until I went to the Barnabas page and looked at pics. Wow. At the same time, I am so thankful for every moment with Sleeping Beauty. *grin*

When she was awake, we had so many good moments. I remember telling her at camper arrival she was in my cabin and she grinned. I will never forget that. The other moment with her that I will remember was the moment we were at a meal, and she put her hand on the table, and wanted to hold fingers. It was one of those moments you just don't forget. Not because it was physical but because she clearly displayed the gentle love of the Lord toward His kids. Well, that's what it reminded me about anyway. *grin*

I really did spend A LOT of time with Sleeping Beauty, but I also enjoyed Britt too. Britt teaches me things and doesn't even know she's teaching me when she's around me. Britt has some physical challenges, but she comes to camp anyway. You may be thinking, "Duh, isn't that the point of a camp for people with disabilities"? Well, yeah, but, for Britt her struggles make it hard to walk from place to place. In case you haven't been to camp before, you need to know something, WE WALK EVERYWHERE. I'm not exaggerating at all. Truthfully, I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in in a while, but remember, this week wasn't about me. *grin*

For Britt, walking was hard. The good news is that our cabin (and all of camp) was incredibly encouraging verbally to Britt. I heard a lot of people say, "You can do it, Britt." Or, "you're doing a great job, Britt." That's the beauty of Barnabas, and how I feel it's like Heaven one day, I never heard a negative word toward her. EVERYONE encouraged her. And, I can't recall (although it could have happened, as I was with Sleeping Beauty a lot) her using the golf cart once. While that's admirable, I'm about to tell you what God taught me....

There was a day we were walking from the Tree House to the Dining Hall. If you haven't been to camp, I would say that's a decent walk, but not the longest walk we have out there. Fortunately, the bulk of it was downhill, so it could have been MUCH worse. *grin*

In the beginning of the walk, Britt wanted the golf cart. I knew that. I also knew I hadn't really walked with her much at that point like I had last year. So, I told her something that the Lord and me have been talking about a lot lately. I believe that He gives each person the body He knows we can handle. I have spent some time in the past 6 months watching people, and while I do know some that don't like this or that about their body, overall the people around me like themselves. Which, is the way I think it should be. *grin*

So, as we were just walking down the path of the treehouse, I told her that I believe that God gives us all challenges, and He gives each of us what He knows we can handle. I told her I understood how hard walking was for her, because there are times it's hard for me.

Britt stopped walking partway down the hill, and we gave her a break. That was fine, as we allowed that out at camp. We were almost down the hill (I think) and she paused and started to ask for the cart. The thing was, she hesitated because she knew my answer. We had this experience last year, and I didn't give in to that. I also knew that once the cart was given, she would expect it all the time. So, when she stopped, she started crying and worrying about the following day's activities. This reminded me of the classroom, when sometimes my students will try to distract me so that they don't have to work. *grin* I stopped her and stated that we weren't going to focus on tomorrow, we were going to focus on our current goal, the dining hall. *grin* Once she made it from gravel to pavement, we stopped and I prayed. You can't do Barnabas without Jesus. I truly believe that. I don't remember much after that, because I walked ahead a few steps and didn't talk to her. I have also found after all these years out there, that if you don't talk or baby them, they walk faster. Trust me, it's not mean, it's simply the human condition to want attention when you're struggling. At the same time, that's when He carries us the most. *grin* I wanted Britt, and the other missionaries with me, to get that. *grin* Britt did make it, and we celebrated her achievement. They also started letting her stay down in the cafeteria when we went back to get campers ready for the parties, and letting her shower later, so that she didn't have to walk as much. I was fine with that, as one of the bonuses of Barnabas is adapting to what each camper needs. *grin*

God taught me so much in that one walk. I remember being out at camp a few years earlier, and my toe hurt so much I cried sometimes, but I did it. It goes against our nature to simply let someone walk and not talk them through it....to let Him carry us. I was reminded, in a way that's hard to describe, how He's carried me over the years. Yes, there was one day my toe really hurt, but overall I didn't have pain this year. I also believe that's because I trained and am in the best shape I've been in in a long time. *grin*

I don't know how Britt views that experience. I do know that it spoke to one of our staffers, as she shared about it later at family time. I silently thanked Him, as it was Him leading me through those moments. That's how you walk out Barnabas weeks.

You listen and walk.

LIFE.IS.AWESOME....more highlights to come in the near future. *grin*

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