Thursday, July 30, 2009

My good friend Linda Howard is a great blogger and has an entry that I think is worth looking at. Linda has been a minister in the mentally disabled community for many years. Linda and the rest of the ministers at The Special Gathering have been instrumental in my development as a disability Minister. They are among the best at what they do and have lovingly taught many people how to minister. This blog entry is about worship in a setting for people with mental disabilities and is interesting if you have ministered to this group in any way check out this link: or access it through my blog list to the right.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God has a Plan

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." Helen Howarth Lemmel

I have always spent much time wondering, pondering and thinking about why. I am someone who needs answers, I always have been. As a kid I would badger my parents always asking why. I naturally want to question everything, and have have the "veil of things seen and unseen torn away". I remember singing the words of "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", in a chapel at a camp for people with disabilities so many years ago. How the fog of the world was lifted for the first time and I understood my purpose on earth. How the pain of not knowing why I hurt on the inside melted away as my heart was looking toward heaven instead of my eyes or my brain looking at he world. I am so thankful that others followed the plan God had for their lives, so I had that opportunity and now can offer it to others.

We have just finished the first 2 weeks of Camp Daniel. Almost 300 people participated over those two weeks. Lives where changed, people where saved, and life will never be the same for so many. The last week was hard, as we dealt with issues of abuse that so many campers live with in their homes on a daily basis, Our campers come and have, for many, the very greatest week of their lives and then we send many back into the very worst of situations where they are abused by evil people. Honestly, it is the one thing that trips me up, causes me to lose focus and begin to ask God WHY? I can be in the middle of the most loving, wonderful place on earth, and still get into a funk of sadness, pain, and questioning. At the end of the week it hit me hard, and after our last evening chapel I was brooding over it all and muttering to God about how I never agreed to this when we started out. But a camper saw that I was unhappy and hugged me and told me she was happy, because she got to meet Jesus tonight. As I walked away from that simple moment in tears I realized I had lost focus, that I had let the things of the world once again cloud my vision. I asked God for forgiveness and thanked him for using a person with a disability to once again minister to me and turn my eyes to Jesus.

I look forward to the last two weeks of camp, ready to face whatever God brings to us. My call is clear and simple; to keep my eyes on Jesus and help others to do the same. God has a plan for each of us and all of us, sometimes that plan walks us through a valley, sometimes it has us standing on a mountaintop, but what we see in either of those places should never change, it should always be Jesus we are focused upon.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Expecting Change

"Vision is seeing tomorrow so powerfully that it shapes today" Walter Wright

It has been weeks since my last Blog. We have been working from almost dawn to dusk everyday for 3 weeks. We have been working the long hours finishing a huge lakefront, and craft cabin project. Tim has been leading crews tearing out and rebuilding the cabin; plumbing, heating, electrical, rough carpentry, finish, etc... and I have led crews tearing apart the acre of earth around it, pouring concrete roads, retaining walls and filling with hundreds of yards of sand and dirt. The project is huge, everyone that comes and sees it thinks we are a little nuts for undertaking it in the weeks before camp. Yet it is easy for me in that, my mind has a firm grasp on what it will become and be used for. That vision God has given us is what makes it possible to work so hard, sacrifice so much and have patience in waiting for the finish to come. His expectation is only seems to be for us to work as hard as we can for Him and embrace the change in our lives that come from it.

Building Camp Daniel has been a long, long fifteen year process. We shape and change the landscape, build buildings, paths, and gardens and know one day it will be used for its full potential of sharing Gods love with thousands of people with disabilities. The grounds have been transformed into a beautiful place showcasing Gods creation. But there is far to go. It takes many people who are willing to sacrifice, willing to give time, money, possessions and sweat on order for it to happen. Each stage of building often depends on finishing the stage before. Some things that need changing or built, are impossible now, but with time will be possible. We just must wait for the right people or tools. With each finished building we rejoice at a finished work, but walk a few feet away to address the next project. Through it all we build a testimony of how God has provided each opportunity, and all we need to do is continue working hard and walking on the path He has us on.

This process has been important in my life to help me see the way God can work, and has worked in me. He sees what we can become, He looks at the coming battles and knows what we need to be in order to face them. He is willing to work with us, stick with us, and shape us. His focus is changing us, giving us the right doses of love that come in the form of embrace, suffering, laughter, pain, and victory. He knows what is best for us, because he knows our purpose, in fact He made us for a purpose and His plan will help us become what He needs us to be. Sometimes it hurts, being bulldozed or rewired can be a hard process, but we must trust God that He knows what He is doing.

As I type I am finding it uncomfortable as my my hands ache from the onset of arthritis and busted knuckles and fingers. My back hurts, my arms are sunburned, and my muscles are achey. But the pains are good pains because they are the pains of change, being broken into what God wants for me. He knows what I am and how I need to change to become more like Him. I have learned to be in expectation, and acceptance of change, growth and remodeling. I look around Camp Daniel and see so much left to do, and I know that there is so much left for God to do in me.

Thank you Father God for the work you invest in me, to change me, remodel me. I ask for the help I need to do the same for you here at Camp Daniel, so others may know your life changing love and your plan for their lives.