We tried abseiling, canoeing,sailing,biking, and a whole host of other activities.
As usual though it wasnt the activities that made it a great holiday but the people we met
I had prayed before I went that we would be a blessing to others, and I hope we were, but certainly others we met were a blessing to us!
Obviously there were a lot of people on the holiday with special needs and with various disabiliites ranging from autism, through cerebral palsy and epilepsy to stroke and various other brain injuries.
There were young and old ,from different ethnic backgrounds, with different abilitites (and disabilities )
Speaking to a number of the people we met it was obvious that many of these people and their carers find life a real struggle apart from the ordinary stuff of daily life there is the constant struggle to get the education or the health care they need.
However these people were so welcoming ,so easy to get to know ,so willing to share and bear one anothers burdens, and so encouraging that in the short time we were together real community was built.
A community where it felt safe to try new things (I even tried karaoke -no the recording contract has not arrived yet !) but the truth is that in an atmosphere where all are encouraged amazing things can be achieved
Are there lessons for churches to learn from this?
How about ?
- The importance of good teaching -we had excellent instructors
- the value of everyone whatever their abilities
- That by God's grace we can achieve more than we think we can
- The imporatance of encouragement which can be a neglected gift in churches
- That a diverse group can build authentic community
- That real joy in life doesnt come from possessions but from relationships with God and other people