Sorry this took me awhile to get up.  Haven't had a moment to relax until now. 

I was so blessed to go on this trip for the second year in a row.  And now I can't wait to go back next year.  I went to a camp that is only for people with disabilities. All kinds - from severe ADHD to Autism to Downs Syndrome to people with nothing but Physical Disabilities such as Quadriplegics to various degrees of Cerebral Palsy and everything else unclassified and in-between.  Not sure of the age limit but I know there was a boy there who was about 13.  Most of the guests are adults.  We had 188 guests this year and it was HARD WORK!!!!!!  I say that with an exhausted smile. 

This camp is divided up into 3 separate camps that occupy the same space.  We have a camp for the high functioning, the low functioning and then the physically disabled.  Each and every person is matched with a caregiver.  My brother, who is a lower functioning man with Downs can follow directions, care for himself pretty much, can dress himself and needs a few prompts to make sure he brushes his teeth and when to shower but cannot read or write sensibly.  Very happy and cooperative - he was grouped with 2 other low functioning gentlemen and a Caregiver.  They shared a room and did everything together for the week.  Some of the guests are complete/total care and have a 1:1 caregiver plus share a CIT or a Caregiver In Training (basically a teenager who has raised money to go and got the appropriate references and some kind of training (not sure what they do for this).  Some of the guests are pretty high functioning where they live alone or with another disabled person and they are able to be at the camp without a caregiver or only have to check in with them.  Everyone is watched an observed closely.  Very safe. 

So - I get there Sunday night with my brother along with most of the other staff.  We have a wonderful time of prayer over the camp and then get as ready as we can for Monday.  Monday comes and check in is at 1pm.  We have already had breakfast, more prayer, church and various informational meetings so busy, busy, busy.  Then at 1 when the doors open the guests poor in and you can barely hear over the sounds of excitement!  I am one of the RN's that worked this week.  I checked in all the meds for the guests in my group - females in the low functioning group.  I know them from last year and we were so glad to see each-other!  I give the meds to all these ladies for the whole week - 8am, noon, 5pm and 8pm.  I was paired up with another RN who had the low functioning males.  This nurse was a God Send!  I got to know her better too and had a really great week. Monday was the hardest for us because after we receive all the meds we need to set them up for the whole week.  This took to 1 in the morning. 

During the week the guest schedule is completely full.  They all get showers/baths etc..  and get ready for the day.  They are at the mess hall by 8AM so some are up by 6am.  They have Praise Aerobics at 9:15 then planned activities until 10:45 where they go to morning church.  We have 3 different services for each "camp".  The high functioning is a regular service with a rock/praise worship service and an awesome speaker.  The low functioning group is alot of fun with puppets and silly antics and more awesome music that gets the Message across.  I haven't been to the 3rd service yet so I can't say what it's like but I'm sure it's awesome too.  After church is time for lunch already. Then from 1 - 5 there is various activities for each of the groups.  One day we got rained out so we went into the activities center and played something like beach volleyball, bowling, hockey, swimming.  Outside on good days they have boating, fishing, swimming, a hayride picnic, and other outdoor fun.  They have an arcade section in the Activities center and a little cafe for ice cream, nachos, popcorn and a full menu if they wanted but no one would ever be hungry after the meals we are served.  At 5pm we now go to dinner.  After dinner they have time to freshen up and at 6:45 back to a very fun, active Worship and church service.  Everyone looks forward to this.  They dance, sing, praise and pray. Some are up at the alters and some just worship God right from their seats.  Whatever moves them.  Many get saved, healed physically and/or spiritually.  Some rededicate their lives.  Church is done by 9:15 or so and then the 2 higher functioning groups have other activities they can go to - a bon fire or a game of pool or whatever is planned. 

But that was an area of mission service that I really did not think about before.  ALL these people are just like us and have these same needs.  They choose weather or not they want this from the Lord.  And they go.  My brother is one of those who like to say in his seat.  No problem.  I pray with him right were he is at.  But I guess I just assumed that each of these people were ok with wherever they were with the Lord.  All I know is my brother. He is just what God made him.  I aspire to be all that God wants me to be and to grow but my brother was born already being that.  He is my blessing.  He doesn't have to do anything else to glorify God.  He loves the Lord and we all know that from his actions but he is a quite type of guy so not everyone on the street would know it. 

I had the opportunity to pray with 2 caregivers, my brother, and another guest.  Doesn't seem like much but I had the opportunity to serve all of the guests however they needed all week.

Now to explain the hard part of my trip - Last year I went and by Tuesday I cried.  I was so tired and just couldn't keep up.  I didn't know what I was signing up for.  I imagined passing med, helping guest with whatever but having time for going for a walk or reading my book for 1/2 hour or an hour.  NOT A CHANCE!  I prayed and prayed about my heart because I did not want to be there.  I was tired and even made a mistake that COULD have been a big one - but God is so good.  He watches out for us at all times.  By the end of the week I thought well, I got thru that - BRING ON THE AMAZON!!!!  I could get thru anything after that week!  That was last year. 

This year I procrastinated.  I told the coordinators I could only go Sunday thru Tuesday - I didn't want to put myself in the same position again as last year.  I wanted to go but I didn't want to be exhausted.  But God was working on my heart to go longer.  I tried to clear my work schedule for the whole week but only was able to go Sunday thru Thursday morning.  This helped the camp a lot!!  If I didn't go then the other nurse would have had almost 80 guests to pass meds for!  Too much!!!!  We are always short nurses.  But on Sunday I knew something was not right in my heart again.  I came there to serve and be blessed.  What is wrong with that???  But after much more prayer God finally showed me that I was expecting something in return - to be blessed.  I was doing this expecting something!  That is not a servant with the heart of God.  He told me to not expect to be blessed - rewarded spiritually for this.  Just serve and nothing more.  Crazy huh?!  But after I let that go and began to just be there for the guests and nothing more - that's when God was able to bless me.  Of course I was blessed!  He did not want me to NOT be - just not expect it.  This was a lesson that took two separate camps to get thru to my heart and head.  I ended up having a much easier time with this but almost just as exhausting.  God showed me this is how I have to serve Him in everything. 

If anyone would like more info on Special Touch camps you can look at their website:   www.specialtouch.org  .  Feel free to PM me for more info too. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my bother's group.  Josh is in the tan shirt with the coffee cup.  The guest in the red shirt was just sitting for the picture.  Some can't resist =)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the guests and caregivers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was taken in front of the med station where we passed meds.  The guests would come here before breakfast and dinner.  The room with the door open is where I stayed.  Just like a clean motel room.  That's my brother.

 

 

 

 

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Comments:

aussi...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 4:45 PM WHere is the camp?  My sister is an RN and single.  She went on a missions trip to a Romanian orphanage last year.  She lives in Denver.  I'm so happy for you! What an amazing experience! 

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Robsm...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 5:00 PM

I am so happy you had such a wonderful experience!  I'd love to find a camp like this for Robbie.  I'm hesitant now because he's only 9 years old and never been away from home.  It looks like every one had a great time!  God bless you for sharing this with us and for being such a good soul.

Blessings!

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momfo...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 5:38 PM It's so funny how God uses different people for different things.  What you did, is not something that I could easily do.  It's not the disabilities or possible medical emergencies...it's the lack of selfishness.  I am so selfish and impatient, I don't think I could do it.  But praise God that He called you to do it and that you learned so much in the process.  I know we have never met face to face but I love hearing about your love for missions.  Your story has been an inspiration to me and your understanding of what I am going through is so valuable to me.  Many of my friends can't relate but a stranger many states away is able to relate!  God is so good!  Enjoy these times of short term missions, I think God will honor the desire He put in your heart to do more! 

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Aimz
Jun. 2, 2008 at 7:42 PM That is so awesome! Thank you for sharing! Amazing how God works, huh? You are such a great person! I am happy to know you! HUGS!

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missi...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 8:11 PM This particular camp was in Central/Southern Illinois.  There are a few all over the United States.  I know the one in Wisconsin is a big one too - about  400.  The one in California is just starting out from what I'm told.  If they don't get 25 then they won't have the camp.  If you know anyone that is interested in being a caregiver or on the Medical Staff (certified staff only) then have them look at the website.  I'm thinking of maybe trying to do one more this summer.  Maybe.  I wish my husband would do this with me. 

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Aholt
Jun. 2, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Way to go!  I'm so proud of you!  It sounds absolutely wonderful...and draining....and challenging....and perfect for you!

 Thank you Father, for teaching us what we most need to learn, whether we think we need it or not.

Love,

'Lish

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Glows
Jun. 3, 2008 at 12:42 AM OH MY DID HE EVER USE YOU........................I want to Thank you for doing what God has called you to do my friend. Gloria Jr goes to a camp very similar and I never knew how much work the nurses do for all the special people. I am going to brings gifts this upcoming camp at the end of June for Gloria, just because of your testamony....God has already blessed you

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emine...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Camps are always exhausting that is for sure but wow what a blessing to give of your time and of yourself to the disabled.  Truly inspiring!

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treece
Aug. 9, 2008 at 8:58 AM

God Bless your ever loving soul. And your writing really touched me and am sure will touch many,. I'm doing alright. One day at a time. Love you, SO PROUD of you and your brother. Did you mean the one with the tan pants and coffee cup? My vision is not real good but I only saw tan pants and no shirts. Send me a pic of him. You are such a mission girl ! Drop me a note sometime soon when you have a moment. Treece

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