Christian Ministries With Disabled Trust CMWDT Camp 2011
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This newsletter about the camp has been written by our son, Isaac.
Definitely the biggest highlight of October for our family would have to be our trip down to Totara Springs for the annual Christian Ministries With Disabled Trust (CMWDT) national camp. This camp is like no other around. Camps for me have always been about getting away, relaxing and having a lot of fun--in other words, all about me and what I can get out of it. This camp on the other hand is all about serving others and helping those with physical or mental disabilities have an absolutely great time. That's not to say we can't have any fun ourselves though, because we most certainly did!
This year's camp was particularly special in that CMWDT were celebrating their 30th year anniversary. So it was a real privilege to attend this year and to hear founding members give talks and to see the many photos for the past 30 years.
Camp began Friday night with everyone receiving a slip of paper telling them who their "buddy" was to be for the weekend, what their condition was(whether quadriplegic, cerebral palsy, deaf, blind etc), and to what extent they had to be cared for--such as helping them dress, showering them or even helping them on the toilet. Yeah, stuff that can be quite alarming at first! And for those new to it all, it can be quite scary.
This year I won't forget the expression on the face of a friend of mine, and first-timer at camp, Jordan Allen, the first moment he opened his envelope showing that his buddy needed almost full assistance and communicated by only a nod of the head! After meeting his buddy, however, he fairly quickly got over his concerns and started to have a great time. I think I can speak on behalf of us all, for when we first started coming to camp--that things were never as bad as first seemed.
To celebrate on the Saturday they had a big "Carnival Day" to which they invited the mayor of the local town and a number of its' people. They had all sorts of stalls and rides, and it was cool to take my buddy, Leon, around to experience it all. Now, to explain a bit about Leon, he doesn't have very good control of his legs, so he has this walker on which he drags them around with usually. This day, however, I was racing him around in his wheelchair, (which we literally did do in a wheelchair race, and won a big cookie & shirt!), and it was cool to be able to take him on rides like go-carting, big swinging merry-go-round thingies, and paintball targeting, all of which were things he had never done before.
Earlier on in the day after the first morning meeting everyone had the choice to head off to different electives around the camp teaching about different things. As we did last year, we ran another workshop on Families Walking with God. We got a good number in attendance to demonstrate it too, and it was great to see the response afterwards from the ones interested in taking it on. Also it was cool to see some return again from last year's workshop with the Year 2 diaries in hand, of which they expressed they were thoroughly enjoying.
Sunday morning was the usual baptisms. At Totara Springs they're well accommodated for the disability with all their different setups, and in this case, a hoist to get them into the pool. It was cool to see a guy in my cabin, Leon's best friend, get baptized--a big result of his encouraging him to.
I guess I better mention the Rugby World Cup Final that was on the Sunday Night. They accommodated for this by having the theater performance room and neighboring foyer set up with two massive screens. I think pretty much everyone stayed up for this and what a big commotion it was!!! I reckon the disability at this camp have more enthusiasm than most I ever see! I'm sure my hearing must have suffered for the worst that night. We heard little of the commentary.
Well, in drawing this newsletter to a close, I'd like to say that this camp for me was just so encouraging, empowering and uplifting. There's just something so special about the disability people. Despite how much they've been through and the often hard and anguished life they face, many are still full of so much joy in God. They're still moving ahead in life and taking each step as it comes.
Everything must be so much harder for them, but they just face it up front and carry on cheerfully. It makes my own struggles seem so puny and lame in comparison. What have I ever got to moan about!? I'm still young, but I've had and have different health concerns and problems in life that can get quite distressing. But compared to these guys at camp, I've got nothing to grumble about! They've got it so much harder than I, and yet they're still full of happiness.
I really think this camp was more for the able-bodies, than those with disabilities--we who still have so much more to learn. So from their lives I've learnt that:: No matter what great anguish I may face in life, I need always to praise God for it anyway, live life full of joy in Him and care only for the eternal treasures laid up in the next life coming.
"Big thanks to Nigel Shivas the camp photographer for providing some of the photos in this newsletter."
For your interest I've linked in the CMWDT promotional video from last year. Also here's a video of Nick Vujicic, a really inspiring young man with no limbs. CMWDT are hoping to have him share at one of their camps one day.