Monday, August 15, 2011

A Week at Camp

I just returned from a week at Camp Daniel and thought I would share my impressions of the week. I would like to start by thanking everyone on the Camp Daniel staff. A tremendous amount of hard work goes into camp and it wouldn't be possible without the staff. A special hats off to Chrissy Kelly. Chrissy prepares three meals a day for over 120 people for four weeks with nothing more than two ovens and a volunteer kitchen staff. The food is always fresh, hot and delicious. I can barely get through one week of helping in the kitchen – I would never survive four weeks of being in charge of the kitchen.

It was a great week. Shelley and I had a lot of fun and appreciated the opportunity to take part in camp this year. We both commented on the enthusiasm and freedom of the campers. There were a couple of campers, Tom and Craig, which really stood out to me. Both Craig and Tom are in wheel chairs. Neither one of them can communicate in the same way most of us can. They need help with all the everyday things that we take for granted. Getting out of bed, dressing, eating, they need help with all of it.

I can’t pretend to understand what their lives are like but I have never seen two happier, loving and thankful men. Tom was always smiling and his eyes always seemed to shine with happiness. Craig has got to be the most thankful person I have ever met. The enthusiasm and kindness of both these men truly impressed me. It also made me stop to think. How can two men who need help with everything, struggling with things I take for granted be so happy all the time?

I really don’t know the answer but I believe it has something to do with knowing that they were made by God to be exactly who they are. They are part of God’s plan and they are carrying out their part. Tom’s happiness is infectious. Every time I saw him I would always smile and my mood would always brighten. Craig’s thankfulness made me feel appreciated and welcomed. Their enthusiasm encouraged me every day of camp.

Tom and Craig also challenged me. If two men who seem to have so little going for them can be kind, thankful and loving to everyone around them why can’t I? Most people would call Tom and Craig disabled. There is certainly a long list of things that they do not have the ability to accomplish. But, if they understand the story God is telling about their lives and joyously except their role in his plan while I, who have been blessed with so much grumble, complain and grudgingly go along, are they really the disabled? All through camp I saw people that the world would say have very little or no value sharing themselves, their joy and their happiness with everyone around them. Everything they did was done without reservation, restraint or fear. Over and over again I kept thinking these people are really enabled. Enabled by God to be exactly who He made them to be. I pray that I can be enabled the same way.


  1. Mike,
    Beautifully written. To see how God works through the pure vessels like Tom & Craig is enviable. It was great to have you there. You are a blessing.

  2. Well said, Mike. I was proud to watch you and Shelley working so well in the kitchen. Your words are so true. The camp's namesake understood that it was by the power of God's Spirit that enables anyone to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Dan's too short life proved that so beautifully and as a result, we all see and praise God for the power of Camp Daniel ministry.