Straight away, it was excellent. I wish I had taken tons of pictures to be able to show you the whole thing, but I was just so busy living camp that I didn't take a single shot. But, it's okay. I bought the DVD. Seriously. I did. The kids will be surprised.
I'll try to keep this organized but I'd like to begin with the thanks and praise. This was a hide away sort of place. You come up to it out of nowhere and from the minute you're on the property you hardly remember the rest of the world exists. The biggest thank you's go to Ken and Sue at Raspberry Hill Farm. They have graciously and courageously opened up their home, their farm, their hearts and their lives to answer the call the Lord placed upon them. They generously host many different groups and camps at their place over the season. Many of the events they host are focused on the special needs community. We attended Christian Disciple Farm. I also want to thank SNAPPIN' Ministry and Mission Bells Ministry, who put on a large portion of the week and made it utterly enjoyable and relaxing. I also want to thank all the individuals who took time out of their lives to volunteer to do the thankless jobs like keeping the place super clean, making all the food, providing infant care, providing us with the peace of mind of having a nurse on site, providing endless crafts, and on and on and on. Thank you to the leaders of the Mom's groups and the Dad's groups. We left refreshed and blessed. Another huge thank you goes out to all the teen and 20-something young adults who picked this as their mission trip or service project for the summer. Being a buddy can be a hard job and the kids and young adults affected with special needs can be scary at first, but in the end, we were all blessed.
It was a parent's joy to be in a place where all week long your most "special" child was "normal". It was a joy to be with others who could see beyond the broken body or captured mind to see the spirit within the child. It is a breath of fresh air to see the light of God shine forth in the utter joy of these children.
And of course, it was a farm. There were plenty of animals. From service dogs to pony's, from chickens to barn cats, from toads to fish to bald eagles to goats and on and on and on. The kids and moms all did plenty of craft projects. We sang songs of worship and praise and cried tears of joy and despair. We prayed. We studied The Word. We had a parade and played in the water. We fished and canoed and rode horses. We climbed the rock wall and went trap shooting. We laughed and hugged and took photos. We learned new things and made new friends. We watched our kids blossom in the sun. We gave some pampering to each other and practiced our serve. We learned our love languages and heard so many moving testimonies. We met adults who survived being special needs kids and became amazing adults. We realized who we are, where we've come from and where we're going. We took naps and had treats and loved on each other. We were proud of our kids, all together.
So much to say and so few words to really describe the whole thing. Long story short, it was a tremendous blessing to us and we're already looking forward to next year.