Smoke is in the air and memories are in my heart. The smoke will clear, but my memories of the Oregon Christian Writers Conference and the families I met at the Joni camp will be tucked away forever. Besides going to several classes at the OCW conference it was a great time of fellowship and networking. We celebrated each others accomplishments and encouraged each other to keep going. My faithful friend Eva Foster made my week a lot easier by assisting me. It was a time of rekindling my desire to use my writing to encourage others that they can overcome obstacles in their life because God is faithful and has a plan for each of us.
With a few days to rest up I was headed out to the Oregon Coast for the Joni and Friends Family camp. This was the third year that the Portland chapter has hosted the pamper day and a special evening for the adults. Each year when we’ve planned these events, I started with a question, “Who will help us?” It’s exciting to see who God brings to volunteer. Some people have volunteered each year and some were brand new and everyone had a great time. Throughout the last few years of doing this, I’ve learned that telling individuals about Joni and Friends Camp and Pamper Day is a much more effective way of getting volunteers than announcing it in big groups. This reminds me that even when Jesus spoke to the masses, he called individuals to follow him.
For many of us Joni and Friends retreat is like a family reunion. It was a special week of reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Right after the retreat ends, people like my friend Brice start counting the days to the next one. For some of us there were special surprises, for instance, for several years I’ve asked a special friend to come to camp and this year she came! Even my daughter Rachael showed up on Pamper Day, surprising the heck out of me because I thought she was in Denver! She’s been involved with Joni and Friends for the past five years and I guess she just couldn’t stay away!
Towards the end of camp, I was filled with joy as I watched my friend Jessica, who has CP and is in her 20’s play with one of the babies at camp. Because it reminded me of myself at her age, and how faithful God has been throughout my journey. Going home from camp is always a low point in everyone’s week. Besides missing our friends, we are all faced with challenges and are given new opportunities to trust God. Remember nothing is impossible with God.