Grace Hunter is the Second Place winner of the Share Your Story contest. For this contest we asked past staffers and volunteers to send us their stories about how Camp Barnabas has affected their lives by asking them two questions: “What do you love about Barnabas?” and “How has Barnabas impacted you?” Here is Grace’s story:
The love of Barnabas is an untamed love, a love that isn’t afraid to dance in front of the Arc like David. It is an unabandoned love, a childlike love. Barnabas is basking in the simple joys and unfailing faithfulness of the Lord because of the love that is so prevalent. On Summer Staff, I felt the heartbeat of Jesus in a memorable moment with my one of my campers, Courtney. Courtney loves the pool more than I love camp’s pineapple dump cake (which is a lot). One day she let me in on her little secret about her love for swimming. Courtney shared with me that going to the pool means so much to her because it is the only time of day that she’s able to walk. When she told me this, I was overcome with emotions and praised Jesus for the body of water that gave Courtney the strength to stand.
Each summer at camp, Courtney is able to leave the comfort of her wheelchair and dance in the water. I love that Barnabas says YES. Barnabas love has no boundaries or limits, it uplifts hearts. Being a cabin staff, there were many days where I felt the childlike love and protection that fills every space.
Camp Barnabas, they get it. They understand how to provide for the needs of families affected by disability. Barnabas has been an answered prayer in my life because they have surrounded my family with the radical love of Jesus. Barnabas understands every single person born into this world is created in the image of God. They recognize that sometimes there’s good days and hard days being a sibling. Barnabas realizes that my parents need a break.
Being on staff was the greatest gift to my heart because it allowed me to enter into partnership with Jesus. God created my inmost being to love on families affected by disability through my own family experience. I was able to do that in a beautiful manner at Camp Barnabas. The path into Camp Barnabas is sure something special. I am convinced camper arrival is the closest thing to heaven on earth in the world.
There was a moment where I was deeply moved by watching as a father gently laid his hand on his beloved son. The camper and his dad were beaming together as they galloped past all the staff. Jesus reminded me that He is doing the same for me as his beloved daughter, and he will continue to lead my weary heart down the path of righteousness until I am home. Camp Barnabas is the family of believers that cheers me along the way and I can only imagine how much louder the angels in heaven will hoop and holler for me when I arrive.