Two weeks ago I was privileged to watch contagious joy as 134 campers with disabilities and their entire entourage of 99 high school age buddies and 94 adult leaders pulled into camp. The welcome was so wild, joyful, and outrageous that tears of joy poured down my cheeks. Rarely are individuals with disabilities received somewhere with so much anticipation, celebration, and excitement. From the moment they arrived, it seemed that heaven itself was singing, “He loves us, oh, how He loves us….”
As the week began and the games, activities, competitions, club talks and cabin times progressed, I caught glimpses of the impossible made possible. A camper who recently had her leg amputated left her wheelchair behind and was harnessed in to ride the zipline and then the giant swing, a sign language interpreter sat by her side making sure she was able to communicate clearly and knew exactly what to expect. Friends conquered fears as they mounted a horse, entered the pool, or climbed onto the ropes course. A group of leaders, who refused to be discouraged by their friend’s behaviors and were determined to continue to experience camp with him, got to witness as Ryan understood
On the final morning, our speaker invited campers who wanted to make Jesus the boss of their life and live in the light to come forward and trace their hand in the giant sun she had used to represent the light of Jesus in the world. As our friends came forward with their leaders, they were lead in the song we’d heard heaven sing over us all week… “How He Loves Us.” Take a moment and listen to the sound of 327 people declaring along with heaven that God indeed LOVES us more than we can know… and realize that ‘US’ includes you. God’s love for our friends in Capernaum is a reminder of how God loves you and how God loves me! What a welcome, celebration and outrageous joy await us as we come near to Him!