The last day of Joni and Friends is always the worst and the best at the same time. It’s so hard to leave and say goodbye! However, the harder it was to leave reminded me of how fantastic my week at Joni and Friends had been! This was my second year to attend Joni and Friends, and my first to be a leader. This past year God has been encouraging me to reach out and serve “outside the box.” Being pushed out of my comfort zone became a regular occurrence. When Becky, camp co-director, emailed asking me to accept a sibling leadership position at camp, I knew this was God presenting me with a new way to serve. I was clueless as to exactly what that entailed. However, I prayed about it and ended up accepting the position. Even before I arrived at camp, God was teaching me to be flexible and to trust His plan even when it is unknown to me. Our worrying about tomorrow doesn’t change God’s plans!
Being a sibling leader, my job was to recruit the siblings and take them to various assigned activities throughout the day. My days were very full and fast-paced. Our activities included being attached to a rope and released from a very formidable telephone pole (“high swing” was an understatement). We also did the blob, paddleboat, canoeing, swimming, obstacle courses and more. Needless to say, camp was an adventure. I enjoyed being able to give the siblings time by themselves. The high school group told me how nice it was to get away and do something with “just the siblings.” They didn’t have to worry about their brother or sister feeling left out or even have to keep an eye on them. It was a joy to love these special kids, hear their stories, and just be their friend. Serving in that way was incredible.
As my relationship developed with the siblings, I quickly learned that they enjoyed ganging up on me. I was probably asking for it, but the teasing ranged from being flipped numerous times in my paddleboat to having a large toad placed on my shoulder. However, despite their teasing, I learned that they actually looked up to me as a sibling leader. The example I set through my actions and words affected them, and I realized I should provide an example of living that lifts others up. People are always watching and God placed me in that position to be a light to the siblings. There is no shortage of people in the world to set the wrong example. But if I don’t set the right example, some of these kids may not get it anywhere else. God really showed me the importance of setting a godly example, not only at Joni and Friends but also through my general Christian walk and life.
Finally, I would like to express my thanks to everyone who helped support me financially and through prayer. Knowing I had people praying for me gave me peace throughout the week! Thank you all.