A quick bit of background for those who don't know me in real life.
After college, I spent several years working for Young Life, which is a pretty awesome youth ministry.
Anyway, after I worked for Young Life, I became a special education teacher.
Then, I had a baby with Down syndrome. I always figured that my kids would be involved in Young Life, but I never thought I might have a child involved in Capernaum.
Young Life has a division of their ministry dedicated to kids with special needs, called Capernaum. The name comes from a story in the Bible about five friends. One is paralyzed, and they want to see Jesus. Since the room is crowded and one friend can't walk, the other four take their buddy's mat onto the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching, bust through the roof (dropping bits of roof on Jesus), and lower their buddy into the room before Him. We don't know the relationship between the man lying on the mat and the four men who surround him, but their actions speak of friendship.
I like the name Capernaum because I like this story. Four men valued their friend with special needs. They looked for a solution. If he wanted to hear Jesus, they'd figure out a way to make it happen, because that's what friends do.
Capernaum started because a Young Life leader met a group of kids with special needs. He became their friend.
I know I've been sharing a lot about various places to give. But this one, I'm sharing for me. Coming up in April, we have a banquet for our local Capernaum area. If you live nearby, I'd love to have you join us. If you want to support the ministry of Capernaum, you can do so here.
In the early post-diagnosis days, Matt and I attended an old friend's wedding. Seated at our table were multiple Capernaum leaders or former leaders. When I told these old friends that Ellie has Down syndrome, every single person responded beautifully. They all said "Congratulations."
My hope and prayer is for Ellie to attend school (and camp) alongside her typical peers. I also know that she will have some different needs. I know that there are other kids who have different needs than Ellie's when it comes to camping and ziplines and hiking, needs which impact mobility.
The Capernaum leaders and staff I know see my child as simply a child, who will have a few additional needs compared to her peers. They see kids with autism and other disabilities the same way: People loved by God.
Young Life folks, Ash is speaking at our banquet, so trust me, you don't want to miss it. Here's that giving link again.
Capernaum camp allows kids with all kinds of disabilities to experience life to the full. Kids with medical needs and who use wheelchairs flying down ziplines into the water. Kids who have been excluded included in games, skits, fun, and real discussions about faith. Kids who haven't been heard often are valued.
I can't wait to see my kid at camp one day.
And trust me, adrenaline baby is gonna rock that zipline.
This video of camp is from a few years ago. Some of these people I've served alongside, including some of the people with disabilities. Kids in Capernaum, like other kids involved in Young Life, learn to serve their peers.
Capernaum Camp from Gold Coast Young Life on Vimeo.
Note: This isn't my video. I got it from Gold Coast Young Life.
And now onto something completely unrelated.
Ellie is working on placing circles in the shape sorter. We were both pretty surprised when she got it today.
Happy Pi Day, everyone!