Growing up in church, I was provided with a solid foundation and genuine support for my faith.
I enjoyed attending youth group, mission trips, and conferences at Bonclarken. After working
as a counselor at Music Conference and Camp Bonclarken, I was interested in Camp Joy. Little
did I know that Camp Joy would change my life!
I would like to say that I live out my faith to the fullest every day and that it is easy, but I don’t.
It’s a challenge to actively choose to be engaged and to try to connect with others in this
broken world. It’s hard to see God’s purpose when life is full of heartache, pain, and
disappointment, especially when we know that “God works for the good of those who love
him.” (Rom. 8:28)
I experienced my first “Why me, God?” moment my junior year of high school. Within a sixweek
period, I lost two grandparents, and I was struggling in my honors classes. I was frustrated
and hurt. I wasn’t mad at God, but it was hard for me to be able to see the bright side of the
situation. Why would God take two important people in my life away? Was I being selfish in
the sense that I wanted the comfort and validation of my grandparents even though they were
in heaven worshiping their Creator?
I found clarity at Camp Joy. My eyes were opened to a brand new type of love and friendship.
As a counselor, I thought that I would be helping and teaching my special friend (camper) about
the gospel, but in reality, I learned so much more from her! I was inspired by the childlike faith
of the campers and the confidence they had in knowing God will listen to them. I admired their
positive attitude and unconditional love towards EVERYONE. All of our special friends loved us
instantly just as Jesus loves the world. After that week I knew that I wanted to be constantly
surrounded by people who loved Jesus (J), loved others (O), and lastly themselves (Y-you). JOY!
That’s when I knew Special Education was my calling. Now when I am discouraged, I think
about my friends at Camp Joy. I remember how they love completely and how they enjoy every
day that God has given them. My Camp Joy friends inspire me to put my faith in action.