-- In His Strength: Joni and Friends Family Retreat www.superfluousbanter.org

In His Strength

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength --- Philippians 4:13

Friday, August 01, 2008

Joni and Friends Family Retreat

A few months ago an opportunity was presented in our Chi Alpha Missions minute. It happened to be Joni and Friends family retreats. I still can't get over the fact that I sat and wept through the entire presentation. But it seemed to me that I was meant to go. My mother and I were planning to attend the Annual 2008Spina bifida conference in Arizona. When the opportunity arose for attending Joni and Friends, mom suggested we go ahead and register for the retreat instead. After all, I hadn't had a vacation in a while it seemed.
We started making preparations for the retreat. In the meantime, time wasn't moving fast enough. As time passed, we hit snaffu's here and there. It wasn't very accessible. My parents went to the retreat site as it was only an hours drive from home. Not a problem. We could get around the accessibility issues. There were a few activities that I couldnt do, but we'd make do. In fact, there was plenty for me to do, so the ones I couldnt were not much of a big deal to me. Then, it was decided that since we were first timers at JAF we should go as campers. That's okay, I was still going with the same mindset; ministering to those around me. A short time later and the two women I was going with (besides mom) didn't get paperwork and finances finalized in time. She had sent them in way before I sent mine, however, they didnt receive hers before spaces were filled. Somehow they had received mine within plenty of time. Apparently I was meant to go.
The theme for the retreat this year was "Let's Do It!", a parody off of Philippians 4:13. It just happens to be my favorite verse of the entire bible!!! Another indication I was to be there? I think so. All this just a cawinkydink? I think NOT!

When I left for the retreat I thought I would regret bringing only one notebook tablet with me, I fully expected to come away with a lot more than I did. It was startling to me that I only came home with maybe less than three pages. Check out my Flickr page as I took tons of pictures.

This year Ichose to attend the Young Adult program (led by Marty and Veronica), even though I would probably be the oldest adult in the group besides the leaders. I was right. Bu I didn't mind. I thought the adult group would be talking abotu things that really didnt pertain to me at this point in my life.

He restores my soul - He gets me breathing again
In Jesus, every day is Christmas

The night session really did something for me. The first day and a half I wasn't into the retreat all that much. The activities in the YA group seemed a bit young to me and not much was speaking to me from either the speaker for the adults (which we got to hear part of before going to the YA group) Or the YA speakers. I was really hoping Joni would make an appearance sometime within the week, but that never happened. Although from what I heard, it has happened in times past. However, someone just as great (after all, this was Joni and Friends), who but Renee Bondi. She came, sang, gave her testimony, and story as to how she ended up as a quadriplegic due to falling out of bed. This was my favorite night I think. I even blew most of my cash with buying four of her CD's and her autobiography. My mother bought her book and finished it by the time we left the retreat, WOW! I'm only six chapters into it.

Okay, so I know i put highlights from notes up above, but The stuff Renee shared I just had to take notes as well.
-song "Be Not Afraid" really hit home for me. I've been fretting over what God has (or doesn't have) regarding my future
little ditty I'm sur eshe worte for this years theme -"Eyes, mouth, heart, hands, our construction zone (sung to row row row your boat)
*one pound ankle weights on her tummy as she breathes, to strengthen her abs for better breath control (pure genius!)
song from Phil 1:
-He who began a good work in you......
SOS - Sanctify, Organize, Surrender
Phil 4:8 - ...think on such things
(okay, I have to put this in here somewhere..., but as we were clapping for one of her songs, one camper shouts out "Jesus is the winner man!") RIGHT ON DUDE!!!
Thinking of my chair as my friend
changing heart, changing attitude
Lord, I surrender_________
Phillippians 4:7 transcends (goes through)
Give your frustrations to Jesus
song - Philippians 4:13
I CAN learn to be content
God will deliver me (Jesus, your my firm foundation)

Funny thing is, after this night, the rest of the retreat was amazing to me.

If I didnt have my disability, I probably wouldn't have Jesus
Phil. 4:6
Phil 4:12 - Contentment
1 Thess. 5:18 - God, change my heart about___________
Peter walking on water - Keep your eyes on Jesus
JOY - Jesus, Others, You

In the Young adult group, we got into small groups and had a discussion about our time today. What the topic was i suddenly blanked, but I know whatever we shared, Veronica wrote out a verse on a piece of paper, each one getting something different. I mentioned something about being uncertain about my future. She gives me Jeremiah 29:11 and Mathew 6:33 amazing to me!!!
Went on a balloon ride today. This was a ministry idea that a gentleman had. Pretty cool. All we did really was go up and then sit a while, and then come back down.But I think it was the height thing that really got the children excited. My mother did not go up. She stayed down and took at least twenty pictures of me being in there. I really wish now that I would have gotten pictures of what it was like from the balloon.
Alehe almost jumped in the lake several times. I learned you cannot let Alehe off leash around water, she'll make a bee-line for it! Another cute thing about Alehe was that at least five families took our picture while we were there. I beieve it was the first time a servicedog was at Joni and Friends.

After a day or two, Dalinda made the okay for me to be STM for next year! My mother and I theorized that it would be best for me to be teamed up with a more ambulatory individual. It turns out, there was a young girl with Down's Syndrome who absolutely adored Alehe, and had a fascination with people in wheelchairs. What a great way to reach her and her family. Her parents are great people, and really want me as their STM for their daughters sake.

I am already excited!!! How many days do I have left? 360.....-ish?

2Cor 1:3-7

Sermon on the Mount
Mat. 5:6-7
Wise man building his house on the Rock
( I thought of the dreams i have for the future and people's and situations attempts at destroying them.
Jesus is the foundation
Foundation work is s-l-o-w work
(Bible readiing, tithing, prayer, etc.)
The foolish man builds quickly and with shortcuts


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  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    That is SO awesome!!!!! What an amazing opportunity! One of my church family members got the opportunity to meet Joni and she told her about me, and Joni autographed a book just for me! :-) Even though I didn't get to meet her, it was such a blessing. Hope you and Alehe are doing well!

    Kara (& Jen!)


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