Special People

Camp Blessing 2012                Camp Blessing 2013                 The Elder Family

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Angelia Griffin (left) – Challenge Air 2017

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I am always amazed when I meet people who have dedicated their life to a career in the field of special needs or that volunteer their time and resources to bless this population. It takes physical strength, courage, thick skin, the patience of Job, determination, acceptance and a tender heart to do this work. Each person with a disability is unique and so are their needs. What works for one person may cause another person with the same diagnosis to have a meltdown. There may be a need for incontinence care, help with eating or a feeding tube, suctioning a person’s airway so that they can breath, or other hygiene care. Some people have a disability that causes seizures which require the ability to act quickly and think clearly. Others may need constant attention to maintain their safety from themselves or others, from running away, or being destructive.

Of course not all disabilities are high maintenance and not all require so much attention but they do require kindness, understanding, commitment, and compassion. Whether the disability is physical or mental, whether it is intellectual or chemical, constant or cycles, permanent or temporary, this is a human being with a need and there are people that have been called to this mission field to make sure their needs are met.

Camp Blessing

Our family has had the honor and privilege of knowing two very special people, Glen and Laura Elder, who have dedicated their life to offering the opportunity for kids and adults with disabilities to experience camp. Camp Blessing in Brenham, Texas, is a place for our special population to come and be themselves with complete acceptance of who they are – just the way they are. It is four days and three nights of fun and Godly ministry. Each camper has their own buddy who stays with them for the entire duration of camp. That buddy has a counselor to help them and a cabin parent that is there for all of them. They are all volunteers.

My son, Kody, will be going next week. It is his fourth time attending Camp Blessing. His brother will be there as a volunteer. This is Michael’s third time to go. He has attended as a sibling during a sibling week and once as a barnstormer which is a position with a variety of duties for the younger volunteers. It is an incredible life changing experience for these volunteers. Michael cannot wait to go back! As for the campers, they are ministered to in a way that lifts them up and makes them feel special. It is all about them for those four days. Glen and Laura have created a beautiful ministry that touches the lives of the camper, changes the lives of the volunteers, and ministers to the families of these very special campers.

Challenge Air

Another ministry we have had the pleasure to experience is called Challenge Air. I was introduced to this amazing program by Angelia Griffen, a women who eats, sleeps, and breaths ministries of all kinds. Her husband, Kevin, is a pilot and together they help to coordinate Challenge Air in Conroe, Texas, once a year. This was our first year to be a part of Challenge Air and I am pleased to say that it will not be our last. Challenge Air is a unique program that allows people with special needs the opportunity to fly a plane. Their mission is to eliminate the belief that people with disabilities are limited, to raise their self-esteem and show them that they can do anything.

Mission accomplished! Kody is still talking about getting to fly a plane all by himself. Just like Camp Blessing, the volunteers make this experience all about the person receiving the service. From the moment we walked into the hanger the volunteers made Kody feel special. We were all made to feel special. He is looking forward to going back next year and so am I.

I am always overwhelmed by my emotions when attending these events. If you have volunteered your time and resources for either of these ministries, thank you. Kody is not the only one that is ministered to by your efforts. Though I do not carry the responsibility of raising Kody completely alone, he completely occupies my heart, just as all of my children do, to make sure they all know how special they are and that they have as many opportunities to explore who they are to Christ’s purpose as possible. Both of these ministries do an outstanding job in these capacities.

I encourage anyone with a loved one who qualifies for either of these programs to follow the links I am including at the end of this post and get involved. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or would like to support either of these ministries financially or otherwise, you will find more information on the official website for each of these ministries.

For more information on Camp Blessing or Challenge Air please visit their websites and follow them on Facebook.

http://www.campblessing.org

http://www.challengeair.com

 

 

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