I volunteered for JEMS Special Camp this year because I heard the testimony of Kay at my church, Gardena Valley Baptist Church. I was somewhat hesitant, especially when I got a substitute teaching job at a special education school. My stomach had a knot in it throughout the day. I thought God was preparing me somehow for JEMS Special Camp, which was to be in a month.
I was warned ahead of time that it would be very tiring. Since I slept the whole seven hours on the bus going up to Mount Hermon, I was a little worried. I sat next to Lacey and she did not complain. I did not know at the time that she was nonverbal. When we got our cabin assignments, I found that Lacey was in my cabin. I was delighted because I had already started a friendship with her. Lacey was completely dependent upon the aides. Taking care of her gave me an appreciation of how much the families go through. Although JEMS Mount Hermon Special Camp is for the campers, I think it is a ministry to the families, too.
The next morning we sat together for breakfast and a little card was passed to me that said to be sure Lacey eats prunes even though she does not want to. When people asked me how the first day was, I said, "Well, okay, I guess. I got Lacey to eat her prunes." This was my first success and seemed to set the tone for the week.
Kenny was a wanderer, never sitting down for any extended time. At lunch one day, he would not sit down to eat. I went to sit next to him and just by putting food on his fork, he ate his whole meal. The same thing happened with Shotaro. People said I had a maternal touch.
I think God has given me a new heart for the disabled. I would have looked away if I saw a special needs person, not wanting to stare. Now that I have had some experience, I think I could more easily go up and begin to talk to them. Maybe God has even something more for me to do. I am open to His leading.