The camp season has started back up and though my roll is very different in the summer the love of the camp experience is still the same.
I am always changed by the things that happen here and always touched no matter how many times I have seen the same weeks, same campers, and everything camp.
Today I want to share a sweet story of two precious friends that love each other so much and yet their worlds are very different.
Let me introduce MJ and Rhonda.
They have known each other for several years now, and I know what you are thinking MJ is barely old enough to have “years” and that is so true, however, once these two met even at MJ’s young age they became besties.
MJ is our CEO’s daughter and Rhonda is a faithful camper and they met several years ago when MJ’s dad began working for us and it became a beautiful friendship right away.
When Rhonda is at camp MJ tries to spend as much time with her as her mom will let her. She even has had short sleep overs in the cabin that Rhonda is in and so now MJ is not just friends with Rhonda but she is friends with all of Rhonda’s friends as well, and they all love when MJ is around.
I love that these two love each other so much because I feel it shows the Love of Christ is such a powerful way. It doesn’t matter that these two have years between them or that MJ can walk and Rhonda can not, it simply matters because they have a connection and they said yes to loving another person just as they are.They spend time talking through the year and then this last year MJ and her family went and visited Rhonda and her family and it was MJ’s favorite part of her year. They both loved getting to see each other outside of camp.
I love the friendship between these two and I think that it can teach all in the world such amazing lessons. I love watching them talk and enjoy time with each other. While MJ still loves Dollies and Rhonda enjoys starbucks they have found a best friend in one another on grounds that they care for one another nothing more or less.
There is no care of how their friendship shouldn’t work in the typical bounds of friendships.
All that should be called into question is left at the door and they are simply sweet friends because they love and enjoy one another no other reason.
Their friendship is a beautiful picture stating that love and friendship truly have no rules in this Barnabas world.
I have shared in many post that I work for Camp Barnabas which is a camp for kids and adults with special needs. I love my job and I love this camp it is one of the most unique places on earth and also my home.
Camp has been and will always be a home for me and for so many others. I was having a conversation with a dear friend tonight and she has been talking with an adult camper who is going through a difficult time and as Sarah has been talking to her, the camper measures every year by camp years and not the typical calendar year. This is the true story for so many of our campers, volunteers, and staff members. Campers leave camp and begin talking the next year of camp in the car rides home from their current camp experience.
Barnabas is such an amazing place where everyone belongs and in light of that one of the things that Barnabas always desires that any camper who desires to come to camp can do just that, attend camp.
However, camp cost money, and many of our families are not in financial places to be able to afford the cost that comes with any camp. Barnabas has a scholarship fund to help truly ensure that each camper can come to camp and be celebrated regardless of their families financial situation.
However, to have money in a scholarship fund you have to some how raise money and this year Barnabas ran down a new road to fund raise.
We had the Worlds Biggest Party Half Marathon this year to bring in those funds. It was held in Springfield MO and we had people come from all over.
People came from Kansas city, Fayetteville and the entire surrounding area of Springfield. It was such an adventure.
We began planning in January and the race was in April…do any of you know how long you are “supposed” to spend planning a marathon?… a year… that’s right a year… and we did it in 4 months. It was crazy and amazing!
We have such an amazing team but mostly two lovely ladies Kylie and Mindy are the ones who really made it all happen. They worked so hard on something that they had no idea what they were really doing but they rocked it.
It was amazing how it all came together in such a short amount of time and how much it exceeded out expectations. We were expecting around 300 hundred runners to sign up for the race and by the morning of the race we had 462 runners! It was incredible!
This marathon was exactly whats it’s title says. It was incredible. Every mile marker there was a party happening, bands, people dressed up as star wars characters fighting with light sabers and all.
There were so many amazing volunteers who made up the party teams. We are so thankful for them and it was such an encouragement to the runners as they reached each mile to have people cheering them on and being silly.
When racers crossed the finish line they walked into a huge party in Jordan Valley park with a DJ, games, a photo booth and even complete with jugglers.
It was beautiful to see all of the runners and their reasons for running the race for some it was simply another marathon to run that supported a good cause, and for others they were running for very specific reasons that were special to their own hearts.
This year’s race was such an incredible success not just for Barnabas but for the runners and most of all our campers that will be coming through our gates this summer and summers to come.
It was a beautiful event and you can expect that I will be talking about it next April and promoting the next race, so if you are a runner look forward to running. If you love to party you can come and be a part of our party teams.
Check out more race pics and Barnabas Foundation information on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/campbarnabas
Check out the Marathon website at www.bigpartymarathon.com
Check out Camp Barnabas information at: www.campbarnabas.org
Photos taken by: Kara Wells, Sara Romans and Sherry Kettner and are the property of Barnabas Foundation.