First, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who supported me. Thank you to all those who financially made it possible for me to go to camp, and also to all those who prayed for me throughout the camp.
This was my 6th year to go to Joni and Friends (JAF) and serve there as a short-term missionary (STM). It seems like every year I go to JAF, I come back different. God always has something new for me that I didn’t expect. This year He seemed to be showing me that I need to be a leader. To lead other young people, ones with special needs and without, in a Biblical, God honoring way. At JAF there are always opportunities to exercise leadership; basically everywhere you look there is an opportunity to take the initiative and act accordingly. I also learned that being a leader is not always a pleasant experience. Sometimes it is necessary to get your hands dirty in order to help someone. But in the end, it is always worth it to step up and do what you know is right. And along those same lines, to be mindful of the example I set for others to follow. It really seemed like whatever attitude I had rubbed off onto my camper and the people around me. I learned that whether or not we really acknowledge it, we are influencing other people, for better or for worse. When I was cheerful, encouraging and energetic, I saw others adopt that same attitude; it was amazing. But when I was tired, unhappy and discouraged, it was very sobering when I saw others begin to act the same.
I guess, in short, I learned that I need to be a Godly example for others, and to step up and lead when necessary. And also, to trust Christ to give me the strength and wisdom to handle every situation that comes my way. To lean on Him when my strength is gone, to trust that His ways are much better than my own. To accept that I cannot lead or set a Godly example without His unfailing help.
Joni and Friends was, as it always is, one of the best weeks of my life. It is truly a week like no other. I strongly recommend and encourage anyone and everyone to attend if at all possible. Again, thank you so much to everyone who supported me, I couldn’t have done it without you.