Monday, October 01, 2001

I'll Be Back

The best of times and the worst of times can happen simultaneously. Of course Charles Dickens knew that, and each year when we return to Camp Allen we are reminded of it as well.

The first day when families arrive brings such joy. Friends are reunited, hugs shared and tears of happiness fall. But with their joy there is a knowing, goodbyes will come too soon and the returning reality of the world is but a short car ride away.

From the first day, the families are greeted with joy and celebration. Attendees are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities, normally not available to them. From horseback riding, hayrides, swimming and a good old-fashioned carnival (complete with clowns!) the families have fun. Short term missionaries are there to serve their needs and ensure it is a place of refreshing and renewal. Clowns engage the children with stories and “tricks” during daily activities and the nights bring entertainment celebrating the families and enjoying the variety of talent and gifts each individual brings to the shows! Hearts delight and dissolve into hilarious laughter to see “chicken dances” and “cricket impressions”. Joy is found in abundance

The families often express that the few days they are at the Family Retreat, their world becomes like a “piece of heaven”. It is a place where there is acceptance and much needed rest, a place where fellowship is not measured by outward appearances or capabilities, a place where love flows freely without measure or conditions. It truly is a “retreat”.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16