He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
- Micah 6:8
What else is there to say! This bible verse identifies what we are to do and be about in this world. Lets explore each of these briefly.
We are to be about God's justice. But what is God's justice? There are various viewpoints all claiming to justly act in God's name. However with historical events like the Crusades we all know that not every action is just. I think if we really break down the word we find the answers.
Justice is a concept of moral rightness. It examines fairness and equitable rights. Its taking action to treat people and creation fairly. Throughout the Bible just is also referred to as taking care of the most vulnerable in our society. The poor, needy, abused, brokenhearted, homeless, etc. We can all trick ourselves in believing we are just individuals. But God calls us to really examine ourselves to determine if we are truly looking out for the rights of others, seeking the best for creation, and taking care of the most vulnerable in our world. Talk about a challenging endeavor. This challenge is what God is continually leading us to. To stand for the equal rights of others, affirm inestimable worth of all individuals, uphold the sacredness of creation, create and restore relationships, and support those on the fringes of society. What else is more worth our time? This is acting justly!
The Hebrew word hesed can be translated into the word "mercy", "grace", "loyal love" or "loving kindness". It takes on the idea of faithful love in action. We can attribute loving kindness as an attribute of God which is revealed in Jesus. To understand hesed is to understand the heart of God. Its an entire embodiment of kindness. In essence God is saying loving kindness is an internal transformation of our hearts. We change who we are, our thoughts, our actions, our priorities, our feelings. Kindness is allowed to flow through our entire mind, body, and soul. This transformation propels us to act kindly in all aspects of our life.
However truly being kind in everything we do is a challenge. I know I struggle with this because this goal is hard to reach. I find its not about reaching this goal but continuing to work in molding who I am around kindness. This internal work is never completed. Hence love is an action, an ongoing endeavor toward loving kindness. Strive to live loving kindness!
Walk Humbly With Our God
Walking humbly is about our attitude toward God. Its about acknowledging there is something greater than ourselves that is at work in the world. Its not about me, but about the God who is reflected in everything I do. God is asking you to walk with the divine and trust in the direction you are going.
We have been graced with gifts, talents, skills, positions, wealth, etc. but all of those things can be wiped away in an instant. Taking on this gratefulness and knowing there is a God whom is walking with us through the circumstances we find ourselves in is everything. We must set aside our pride and give thanks for the Lord who is in all things. For when we humble ourselves we are lifted up by the one who loves all things.
Thank you to everyone who is faithfully serving God and making this a better world.
This week do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.
Our summer camp exploration continues this week with guest blogger Ashley Fields. Ashley is the Director of Camp Courage. She began as a member of the clean-up crew in 1999 which eventually progressed to counselor. Ashley grew up in Stewartsville, MO. She attended college at the University of Central Missouri, where she obtained a Master of Science in Communication Disorders. Since 2008 she worked for the North Kansas City School District in the early childhood special education setting. In January 2015, she completed her Doctorate of Education with an emphasis in Special Education. Through all this, Ashley has always made Camp Courage a priority. Ashley enjoys spending her time with her husband and three children, as well as cooking and serving the community with her church Platte Woods United Methodist. Ashley credits Camp Courage for influencing her entire life, including her career and faith. She loves to share Camp Courage with others because she knows the joy it brings to all.
“The camp for fun. The courage to care.” This is the motto for Camp Courage. The first sentence is one that applies to all summer camps! Like many camps, Camp Courage has lots of fun things to do including fishing, swimming, games, dances, and special events. We have campers jumping out of their cars on arrival day with excitement and joy on their faces. What makes Camp Courage unique is that everything is designed for adults with special needs. This four day, all-inclusive camp is carefully developed by volunteers each year to offer new experiences to this special group of people. Our campers bring with them their own unique set of abilities and challenges, and we have the blessed opportunity to meet them where they are and share in some fun.
This is where the second part of our camp motto elevates to great importance, “The courage to care”. I will be the first to admit I was scared when I first arrived at Camp Courage. I was fourteen-years-old. My mom woke me up and said, “Get dressed. You are going to go volunteer!”. Reluctantly, I got ready to go, totally unaware of what I would be walking into. I didn’t expect to be greeted by adults with special needs. I had never really met anyone with special needs, let alone an adult with special needs. I immediately started picking out the differences between myself and the campers. We talked differently, we walked differently, we understood each other differently, and absolutely did not have the same views regarding personal space! I hurried into the kitchen as a way to hide, and then I watched.
Over the next day or so, I continued to watch and observe. I noticed volunteers that didn’t see the differences that were so obvious to me. They were laughing together. They were gathering in groups and playing games. They were having fun together. That word, together, is what I noticed the most. The volunteers weren’t babysitters or merely supervising the campers, they were friends! They were enjoying camp together.
I remember wanting to stay out at camp longer and longer each day, until I too was enjoying the camp together with the campers and volunteers alike; and that’s when I knew this was something special that I wanted to be a part of. I finally had the courage to care and could see each camper as a person just like me.
Jesus calls us to serve one another; the least, the lost and the last. Adults with special needs are a group that often gets forgotten about. Camp Courage exists to do this in a unique way. We all want to be seen and loved. I think that is what makes this camp so different. It wouldn’t be the same if we held camp, offered these fun experiences, and activities but didn’t stop to actually experience them together. To connect and make a friend. To show with our actions that each camper is seen and loved as an individual despite what the world has told them in the past or what lies they tell themselves.
This is the message that Jesus spoke to us then and continues to speak through us today. When we stop to really see someone as a person, love and serve them, we share the love of God. We are lucky enough to share this with a population that, in my opinion, reflects love like no other group of people. It’s unfiltered, unbiased, love and appreciation. I think if you ask any volunteer at Camp Courage they would say that they feel like they get more out their time there, then they could ever put in because of this.
So, are we serving others like God calls us to to? Yes. Does it take a little courage? Of course! But most importantly we are making sure that everyone at Camp Courage is seen and loved. They come to camp for the fun, and thanks to the love that God first gave us, we have the courage to extend that love to others.
Camp Courage is a non-profit organization ran entirely by volunteers without any paid positions. Camp leadership makes every attempt to keep the cost down for campers by seeking donations of all kinds.
For more information or to help support this organization, please contact Ashley Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Facebook at Camp Courage Missouri or on on the web at http://www.campcouragemo.org/
A big thank you to Ashley for sharing her incredible experiences of seeing and loving others through this camp! Please give your support in anyway possible!
This week I encourage all of you to take the time to truly listen and love the individuals around you.
Our guest blogger this week is Aaron Laughlin who is starting us off on a series about exploring summer camps. Aaron has worked in healthcare finance for over 30 years with 10 of those being a CFO. He is an Elder in the Community of Christ and a member of the Shawnee Drive congregation. Aaron serves on the Share, Inc., DBS, Camp MITIOG board. He has also been the chairman of the CAMP MITIOG council since 2015 which acts like the Financing/Fundraising committee for Camp MITIOG. Aaron is the President of the Camp Chihowa board and a member of the Camp Moja board. As you can see he is highly invested in making camps successful places where love and kindness shine. Today he gets to share about his experience with Camp MITIOG (Made in the Image of God) where he has helped for over twenty years. He started as a counselor and has became a leader in its ongoing success.
For 51 years CAMP MITIOG (Made in the image of God) has provided camping experiences for children living with Spina Bifida. It's a small camp held at the Doniphan Conference & Retreat Center located in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. Each year over a hundred volunteers come excited and ready to give ministry at a camp specially designed for children living with special needs aged 7-16. Most of the campers rely on wheel chairs for mobility and are not able to navigate a regular camp ground that most camping programs provide. Here they get the opportunity to live in the great outdoors and experience what camping is all about.
Camp MITIOG (Made in the image of God) has two main purposes.
1. Providing a camping experience for children with special needs
2. Giving a life changing experience for young adults who provide one on one care to each camper. This requires giving emotional support and taking care of the campers physical needs.
Most of the campers need 24 hour care throughout their lives. An added benefit of Camp MITIOG is that it provides a week of relief to the caregivers of the campers. The camp provides full medical support for the campers physical needs to ensure they are not at risk. Each camper is assigned a counselor that does everything the camper needs for the week. I often hear counselors say the opportunity to give back to someone has created a joy in their life that has changed their life direction. Most come back year after year to be a part of this amazing experience. In fact, I met my children’s mother at Camp MITIOG when we were both counselors in the late 1970’s.
Camp MITIOG has a 97% camper return rate! If they are not returning than its most likely that they have graduated. Most of the campers go for all 10 years that they can. Parents gratefully share with us the amazing things their children say about camp. Comments like, "Camp is better than Christmas" or campers asking, "When can I go back" after only being home for one week are common statements that bring joy to my heart.
Become a Counselor!
We have had counselors come from all over the world. One year we had a camper attend from Alaska. The camper has now become a champion skier. This story sends chills through my soul because we were a part in helping this once vulnerable child into becoming a successful citizen of this world. It proves to me that all people have worth. The Camp MITIOG experience reflects that everyone has worth and it shines the light on the amazing person God created us to be.
Camp MITIOG provides the camping experience for up to 57 campers each year. It takes about 5,000 volunteer hours to plan, fundraise, and operate the camp. If you know of a young adult 16 years old or older, that would like to be a counselor, please have them go to CampMITIOG.org and sign up to be a counselor. I guarantee they will not regret the experience.
One amazing thing is Camp MITIOG is provided free of charge to the campers and is funded 100% by donations. Most of the campers would not be able to come to camp each year without the generosity of donors. One wonderful organization helping us provide this program is the Camps for Kids organization. They have provided over $20,000 each year in a matching funds grant. The way it works is for every dollar donated to Camp MITIOG through Camps for Kids, they will match each donation up to $1,500. Because of the generosity of donors we have been able to match 100% of this grant for the last 10 years. Thank you to all those who have supported Camp MITIOG!
Depending upon the path of the current pandemic situation in the world, camp is currently scheduled to proceed July 19-24, 2020. This year we are open to having interested individuals tour the camp but must schedule an appointment. You can contact me at 816-454-2607 with any questions or interest you have in helping out with the camp or fundraising. I guarantee it will be rewarding! I am blessed every year in telling the story of Camp MITIOG and the response of generosity I see from people.
The matching Camps for Kids grant in 2020 is open now and runs through July 31, 2020. If interested in helping us match the $22,500 please go to Camps for Kids and donate.
“NOW” is the time to maximize the benefits of your donation.
1.) Please send all donations made payable to: Camps for Kids
2.) Mail the contributions to: Camp MITIOG
C/O Camps for Kids
Mission, KS 66202
3.) Write in the Memo section of the check or money order, For Camp MITIOG.
4.) All contributions this year will receive a receipt from Camps for Kids designating which camp the donation was credited to.
Thank you for your grateful consideration and God bless each one of you!
If you are aware of any organizations or individuals who would like to sponsor Camp MITIOG in fundraising efforts, please let me know and I will send out our 501c3 letters and our professionally prepared brochures. I can be reached at 816-454-2607 or at Aaron@CampMITIOG.org for any other questions.
I really appreciate Aaron writing about Camp MITIOG so we can be aware of the amazing ministry that happens there.
This week think about your own camp experience and share it with someone else. And if you feel able please donate to this awesome camp!
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
The mission of the Seventy
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:1-3 NRSV
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting.
They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation.
They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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Phone: (816) 221-4450
Copyright Midlands Mission Center 2020
Community of Christ
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