Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Burys in MT

Hello from MT! Marceaux and I are coming to the end of our 2 weeks in Bozeman MT, Marceaux's home town and where his parents live. Here is MJ's first plane ride! All went well minus a diaper explosion right before take off and having them wait for us as we changed MJ on the smallest changing table and smallest bathroom ever!

 We are here for two reasons. A big reason is to spend time with family and, boy, are Grandma & Grandpa having fun with MJ!

We are also here as participants in the week long Global Out Reach Conference at Marceaux's home church, Grace Bible Church. 

Here we are standing in front of our Camp Daniel display during the conference. We were among 24 other domestic and overseas missionaries personally attending the conference. Altogether, Grace sponsors over 50 different missionaries/missions.

We have had many wonderful opportunities to share about Camp Daniel and disability ministry. We were the guest speakers for one of Grace's home Bible studies. What we had to share helped them understand the need for people with disabilities within the church and challenged them to intentionally build relationships with people with disabilities. Many responded that they never considered the things we shared before, but now will have open eyes to build such a relationship.

We also spoke to the youth group at Grace Bible Church. This was an awesome opportunity to speak to middle and high school students about disability. We shared the importance of and how to make friends with people with disabilities. We offered the opportunity to come for our Counselor in Training program as counselors.

We had many opportunities to speak with other missionaries and congregation members through several luncheons and receptions. People were very interested in what we do and our conversations made them think about how to include disability in their lives/ministries.

Last Saturday was a full day of workshops and speakers related to missions. Marceaux and I attended classes on Missionary Care - 1) Dealing with loss in missions, 2) Dealing with stress on the missions field 3) Transitioning with cross cultural re-entry and 4) debriefing after a traumatic incident on the field. Even though, most of what was covered was related to overseas missions,  we were able to relate to a lot of it! Not only was this information helpful to us personally, we feel this training will be  useful to the rest of our missionary staff at Camp Daniel.

Gathering with other missionaries was very encouraging. We were able to talk about things like the struggles in fundraising, giving up traditional jobs and lives, and other struggles living the missionary life. Though we could not relate fully to an overseas missionary, we related in many ways. We also connected with many state side missionaries. One thing we really walked away with is a deeper appreciation for the Camp Daniel family. Most missionaries are out serving alone and it seems like many missionaries have to take on a "every missionary for themselves" attitude with little support from their mission's agencies. We are grateful that we have a staff that is family; watching out for and caring for each other deeply.

Connecting with missionaries from all over the world was insightful to us on how most countries treat those with disabilities. Most of them do not care for those with disabilities and if they do it is in very poor conditions. (Going beyond not caring, many outcast them or kill them at birth). We were approached by native pastor from Ukraine, wanting us to come teach the churches there that people with disabilities are valuable and are needed in the church. He said there was one church that had a separate service for people with disabilities but nothing like The Able Church where members use their gifts and lead functions of the church. He really wants us to come and share that. Most of the churches there and most of society there do not include people with disabilities.

A U.S. missionary to Ukraine also approached us to come work in the orphanages where most of those with disabilities are kept in cribs all day long. I kept asking her why they were kept in bed all day? She kept giving me different answers and expressing the severity of their disability. And I would reply, "And why are they kept in bed all day?" It came down to the fact they were understaffed and can't get everyone up. But the bigger picture is a lack of value. If they valued these people, there would be more staff and they would be able to get them out of bed. The only thing that should keep someone in bed all day is the lack of consciousness or the flu. Anyways, she would love to have us come and teach them what we do and take them on outings, etc, help bring up the value of people with disabilities. Definitely, something to pray about!

Other engagements we've had include meeting with family, friends, supporters and those interested in disability ministry.

We also had the opportunity to meet with the Mission's board in order to update them with our lives and the ministry happening at Camp Daniel. Grace Bible Church has been very supportive of us and what we do and we are grateful. Simply being recognized as missionaries is encouraging to us. We even got to cash in on some free marital counselor to help keep us sane and healthy on the field. Thank you!

Of all our meetings, the most dear to us was meeting with the short term missions team from Grace that came out to serve at Camp Daniel last summer! We had the team over at Marceaux's parents for lunch and to tell stories, share pictures and debrief from last summer's camp experience. It was a wonderful time. One of the gals said it meant a lot to her to see pictures and listen to each other's experience with disability since camp. She said eventually after camp and coming home she began to forget her experiences and this gathering was a great reminder of what she learned at camp and relationships she made. It was also wonderful to see Ray & Julie Gossack, the team leaders. Julie is preparing for a very intense chemo procedure March 24th. Please keep her in your prayers!!!

We are pursuing another team from Grace to come out and serve this summer. So amongst all the engagements we have had, we also have been recruiting another missions team to come serve this summer!

Though we hate to say good -bye, we are excited to come home to family and friends in WI, except for the fact its below zero weather remains! Thank you Camp Daniel for allowing us to get away and filling our shoes. Thank you Grace Bible Church for your encouragement and opportunities you allowed us! Thank you Mom & Dad Bury for your hospitality and all the free baby sitting!

Marceaux, Jen, & MJ :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

All the Other Stuff

So often people ask what we missionaries do when it’s not camp season.  When asked this, I often stutter a bit because there’s so much and it’s so varied, that I don’t know where to start.  This blog generally highlights the physical improvements on the Camp Daniel campus which is a great way to keep everyone updated on the exciting progress. But, to be honest, I cannot bear to post too many more pics of the dorm room progress.  By this point, we are on the last two rooms of 8.  Until we add color to the floors, they all look alike!  The excitement now is that when we finish things like the ceilings or the tongue and groove we know that we are done with that forever (in the shape and form of the dorms, of course).  Because of all these things, this blog will focus more on the wide variety of things going on behind the closed doors of a snowy blustery day at Camp Daniel.

For Trish, planning, preparing and cleaning for the meals of all the work days, is a large job.  She does a great job of keeping costs low by using as much food that we have on hand as possible.  She also keeps the snack stand clean and organized.
As with the other missionaries at Camp Daniel, a lot of time is spent driving back and forth to Marinette and Green Bay for Able Church and Special Olympics.  Trish is preparing for coaching in Marinette for track and field.  She also goes to a bible study with Jake Wartenweiler (lives in Brunot House with the Bury’s) each Wednesday.  They, and the Bury’s have been working hard at relationships in the Marinette area, in hopes of starting an Able Church there in the near future.
Another thing that Trish is in charge of is the landscaping on the grounds.  Of course, many an hour has been spent plowing and snowplowing.  And when those things are done, Trish will often study her gardening books.  All of this is new, and Trish has been a great gardening student.  I’m not sure if looking at green grass and flowers helps her feel that spring is closer or farther away!

Molly also has a wide variety of tasks each week.  She is in charge of worship for Able Church, and with a rotating group of worship leaders, that’s a lot of organization.  Molly also leads the Able Family Night girl’s Bible study each Tuesday.  Camp Daniel sends birthday card out to each camper from the previous summer.  Molly is in charge of writing all of the those and making sure that they get mailed out in a timely manner.  Molly has taken over as the lead person for the Able Attack Special Olympics team.  Aside from going to practices and tournaments, she must make sure that all forms are in on time, that we have uniforms for everyone, that everyone has a ride.  Plus, she washes the uniforms between games.  Molly also cleans the office each week.

In recent months, Justin has been focusing on  personal issues, but he’s recently been getting back at some of the computer things that he enjoys.  Molly’s computer crashed.  He completely disassembled it, and is currently getting the parts needed to retrieve all of the data.  Then he is hoping to be able to reassemble it.

The interns, Steve and Nick have been on snow removal duty and even shoveled off 4 different roofs last week!  (none of which were at Camp Daniel.  All of our roofs are metal, so the snow slides off in an avalanche-type fashion)  They’ve been working hard trying to finish the tongue and groove in the last dorm room.  Just one small part left!  They are the coaches for the Able Attack Special Olympics basketball team.  And they’ve been doing a great job.  They have both taken unofficial leadership roles in the youth group here in Crivitz, each Wednesday night.

Tim Mandich, as the pastor of the Able Church, spends a lot of time leading his flock in everyday life things.  He’s a real pastor to those that are a part of Able.  Every week, he’s visiting someone in the hospital, taking another do a doctor appointment, talking out personal issues of another; and the list goes on.   He also mentors Jesse Towne, as a preacher at Able.  In between all those things, he must also prepare for Tuesday Bible studies and Friday sermons.  As the pastor of Able, he is also a pastor at Living Hope Church and attends meetings in that role as well.

Little Tony is always working on relationships with an array of people,  including our staff, pastors at Living Hope Church, other ministers in disability ministry, camp guest speakers, friends, Camp Daniel residents, etc.    This winter he has spent many hours working on the new website.  He’s needed to choose and upload all new photos, and write all new copy.  The website will include much more than the current one.  He is working with Tim Bazet-Jones on this, and they hope to have it up soon.  Tony and Karol have been working a lot on camp.  Applications were revamped and printed for this year.  The massive mailing went out, but each week Karol still emails and mails copies of the apps to those requesting.  The logo is done and the theme established, so Tony is always searching for items to decorate the chapel with.  Karol has been working to get the crafts done before spring hits, and she’s been working on the numerous other camp mailings that go out each year.  She often complains that keeping enough food in the house for Richard, Brian, Nick, Nick, Steve, Justin, Tony, Anthony and Annissa is a major job in and of itself!  Plus, no one enjoys balancing 6 checkbooks, and paying all those bills.

Really, there’s lots more, but no one will probably want to read any further than this.  Just wanted to give a more well rounded view of everyday life here at Camp Daniel.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

yes, we do things other than shoveling!

 The interns and the guys have picked up where the work group from Silver Birch left off.  Tony gave them a training day on installing tongue and groove, and since then they’ve been off and running.  That is when they aren’t shoveling snow.
 Steve and Nick do a great job of getting Brian, Nick and Richard involved.
 Maybe someone should be watching Nick a bit closer!  Actually, it’s fun and refreshing to have these guys around, as they make all their work involve fun.
They finished the entire room, up to the angled ceiling.  So after another Tony Tutorial, they’ll be able to finish that part as well.  Then this room will be ready to poly.

Trish has learned how to plow and has been getting lots of practice.  We have had a rough winter vehicle-wise.  The plow truck has, unfortunately, been in the shop more than often than not.  And for several days last week, the John Deere snowblower was in the shop as well.  Right now, all everything is working, which is good, as we got another snowfall yesterday afternoon.
Molly’s computer crashed unexpectedly last week.  Justin has since taken it apart and is working on saving her files and installing new parts to get it working again.  Judging by the photo, I’d be happy just to get it back together without extra screws and parts!
Last week, the Bury’s left for Montana.  They will be spending two weeks there visiting family and participating in a week long missions conference at Marceaux’ old church.  Said church supports Jen and Marceaux as missionaries and they sent a team to camp last year.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NBI from Silver Birch Work Days

 Each February the students from Nicolet Bible Institute (part of Silver Birch Ranch) come to Camp Daniel for two work days as part of their missions class.  Last Thursday afternoon, vans holding 24 students rolled onto the property.  Previously, the Camp Daniel staff prepared for their arrival by planning for lots of inside jobs (ridiculously cold outside), 5 meals, dorm cleaning, etc.  After having lunch they were split into three groups and got to work.
 One group worked both days on installing tongue and groove on the last dorm room.  They got pretty far, and later this week, Dave Dettloff will work with Brian to continue where they left off.

 There was a group in the nature center.  The first day they sanded and painted the cabinetry, lower walls and trim.  The second day, this group helped with some summer craft projects and also helped move the craft supplies from the Lumberjack Lodge attic to the newly finished Factory (craft cabin).

 Steve worked with this group in a dorm room.  They primed the ceiling the first day, and painted it the second.  After they were done, they took down the plastic that covered the walls, and pulled up the floor covering.  Now we are ready for the next step.
 Some from that group also sanded polyurethaned the remaining trim that’s needed to finish the building.  There wasn’t much free space, so they worked in the bathrooms!  There were also some that carried the bunk bed sections from the storage trailer to the dorm and assembled as many bunk beds as would fit in the one empty dorm room.
Around mealtimes, the Camp Daniel staff took time to share with the students about ministry and disability.  Each year, Justin shares about his life and what it’s like to have a physical disability.  Then the students get to ask questions.  Justin did his best job so far, and the kids felt comfortable enough to ask a lot of questions that one doesn’t often have the courage to ask.  One of the highlights was Thursday night, when the students just hung out with our guys upstairs playing board games and video games.  They had a lot of fun, and the noise level wasn’t normal until after midnight!  
We really appreciate the staff, the program and the students from Silver Birch.  It’s great to have the working relationship with another nearby camp.  And when the dust all settles, it’s inspiring to be able to look around at all the work that was accomplished in just over 24 hours!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Visit to Moody Bible Institute

 At Camp Daniel, we have been blessed to have as counselors, many high quality people.  One of those is JoJo Hensler.  She was one of those people that, during her first week at camp, we felt like she’d been around for years.  JoJo is currently in her third year at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  She arranged for Tony to participate at a forum on ministering to children with disabilities.   Three additional guests also shared, and afterward, the students were given a time to ask questions of the panel.  It was an honor to have been included and been able to share how we minister to people with disabilities.
 Earlier in the day, Tony and Karol represented Camp Daniel at a camp fair at Moody.  One of the many benefits of the day was that we met representatives from the area Salvation Army camps.  In conversation, it was mentioned that Camp Daniel is on an old Salvation Army campground, and that we’re interested in old photos of the old camp.  Within hours, Tony received an email with pictures from the camp during the 50’s.  I’ll put them in a later post.
That night, Moody put us up in a room in one of their dorms.  This was the view!