As Mercedes stressed during this summer, she wanted each camper to feel like they belonged to the family. After all, aren't we all invited to join the family of God? I love how Jesus used this notion all summer.
From camps to supporters, I sensed how great of a family we all belong to together. Every camp the campers were welcomed into the family. During times of teaching, opportunities were given to join the ultimate family, to go from outsider to a seat at the table. How beautiful were the moments to join Him and see what He has for each camper and each supporter.
Family comes alongside and joins forces. We support, protect, encourage and rejoice with our brothers and sisters. One story that stands out recently is about two unlikely friends. During 13-15 camp, we had a camper who is deaf. He kept to himself and observed his workshop usually in the corner. But there was another boy who exemplified family. He came and chose to hang out with his new friend. He tried to learn signs and communicate and the two were often seen together the entire week. As the boy was getting on the bus, he excitedly told one of the counselors that he wanted to learn sign so they could talk more next time they saw each other. Family meets us where we are and Tsiyon and Denfield's friendship will be a highlight of the summer for me.
Another story that stands out to me is how a VBS in a little town in Southern California, wanted to support their spiritual family in what the world calls a "forgotten" district in Belize. These kids, together with their parents, said yes, they wanted to support 15 campers. They showed them they aren't forgotten to Jesus. That they matter and that they wanted to see their family succeed and flourish. These kids may never meet each other earth side, but I know Jesus can't wait to introduce them to each other in eternity.
So, friends, thanks for being our family. Thanks for supporting us in prayers, messages of encouragement, your finances and even sending your families to serve alongside us. Thanks for calling us out when we've been knuckleheads. Thanks for hurting with us, rejoicing with us and laughing with us. We are so happy to be part of the same family with you and can't wait to see all our Father has planned for us.