Our campers arrived today (yesterday, really, since it's after midnight).
We volunteers finished our training with a prayer walk in groups around the campus, praying for God's work in the sorts of activities that would occur in each place.
Katy Thuleen, JAF-MN Director, painted a picture to help us get ready to greet families. She reminded us that many families haven't had vacation for a long time. Perhaps a family member is disruptively loud and unpredictable. Perhaps he or she is medically fragile. Then imagine pulling up to a hotel with all the equipment the family requires. This is not the kind of guest a hotel is eager to host.
But today it was different--a place where a family is awaited, then announced and cheered as they arrive. Volunteers unpack their cars and take everything to their rooms. The one-on-one volunteers show them where they're staying and get acquainted, including finding out pertinent info that helps give good, loving, reassuring care.
Now, friends, this is for you. One mother told me she knew all too well what I meant when I asked you to pray that God would help our families through the moments when it seems easier just to stay home. "But this time," she smiled, "I never felt that way, so please thank people for praying." And lest you minimize the power of prayer, you should know this is a family with 8 children, several with disabilities.
Tomorrow is our first full day of Family Retreat. Please pray for STMs as they connect with their charges. Please pray for kids to have a good time in their groups and to understand as much as they are able what is being taught about Jesus. Please pray for parents to be able to relax and enjoy the time in the Word and with each other--a rare time of not being on duty for a couple of hours.