The best part of our camp for people with special needs is seeing the volunteers and campers having a ball, getting excited about coming again and knowing it is really all about believing and sharing the love of Jesus.
Each fall, our Jesus Cares Ministries and the Minnesota District Special Ministries partner to conduct two “Joy in Jesus” camps for people with developmental disabilities. One camp is currently held near Waterville at Camp Omega and one near Spicer, Minnesota at Green Lake Lutheran Camp.
The Christian focus is clear in the theme, “In God We Trust.” There was an additional patriotic emphasis this year. Everyone wore lots red, white and blue, and campers made cards and care packages for soldiers overseas. Generosity created 10 large care packages and the Veterans’ office was excited when they were brought in for shipping.
We prayed that the soldiers would have the same trust in God that we do. Our camp Bible stories, songs, crafts and devotions all showed that God is trustworthy for soldiers and us. At Camp Omega, MLC student volunteers helped lead a play about Gideon defeating the Midianites, trusting that God would give them the victory. Another volunteer taught the story of Jesus calming the storm on the banks on a peaceful Green Lake.
Of course there were many opportunities to have fun around campfire with s’mores, hiking and going on scavenger hunts. On movie night, one volunteer who listened from the next room said, “I never enjoyed I Love Lucy more. It is more hilarious listening to our campers laugh than watching the show!”
When it was time to go home, there were lots of hugs and even a few tears. Spending time in the woods or on the lake with the fall colors in the trees and enjoying Christian fellowship blesses and refreshes each participant.
We thank all the volunteers who generously share their time and talents to make a memorable experience for the campers so everyone can share their “Joy in Jesus!”
For more information about “Joy in Jesus” camps, volunteering or sending campers, contact Jesus Cares Ministries at 1-888-600-TLHA (8542) or firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Luetke, JCM Representative, at (320) 523-2379 or email@example.com. We hope to see you at camp next year!