Full Disclosure

When I was interviewing for the role on staff at RCC, they asked me what I thought would be most difficult for me of the expectations in the job description.

“Camp,” came my quick reply. I survived junior camp and wrote about how it actually was quite a healing experience in my post a few weeks ago.

In the interim, our church has been gearing up for a different camp for all families while I was in the midst of plans for bringing our youth group to Easter Camp, a massive event for youth all around the south island. I’m still planning Easter Camp items, but I got home from church camp on Sunday afternoon. I was a happy tired, and despite not getting a ton of introvert time, I had some beautiful connections with people in our church. I was especially blessed by the number of parents of youth group students who went out of their way to encourage me in how I have been doing so far in this role.

By chance, I’d had two exciting calls the days just before camp from two TCK experts which came up in various conversations on camp where I discovered even more “hidden immigrants” in our church congregation. “Hidden immigrant” is a term used for someone who has spent formative years living in a culture different than their passport and then returned to their passport country. I light up when I get to talk to TCKs or about them to people interested in cross-cultural engagement.

I live this strange life where I get to work part time on staff at a church and part time remotely for a mission organisation that advances transformational education and both develops and disciples TCKs. I obviously had to disclose the struggles that camp would involve for me before getting this job, but I am so overjoyed at how God has made these experiences possible with my disability and dislike of sleeping away from home. My mission organisation requires me to raise my own support to work for them, and I’m able to share that openly and invite people onto this journey with me. It’s a strange place to expose your weaknesses in your workplace or on the internet, but I find there’s a lot of liberation in that vulnerability.

It’s obviously important to know the context, but I find it a huge gift to share with such transparency how God is using what the world considers weaknesses to be such opportunities. My disability is the primary thing that makes camps so hard; the way to get around it is through loads of advance planning and asking for help. One of the parents who sought me out to encourage me in my role let me know that my latest parent email update included Easter Camp volunteer needs in enough advance that they were able to request the days off of work in order to help set up. Another parent offered to let me detour to their house on the drive back to town in order to talk me through various youth group events that they were interested in hosting in future years as well as showing me the space they wanted to store Easter Camp gear for our group through the rest of the year.

This is a bit hard to explain without pages context, but this family single handedly saved our youth group hundreds of dollars and me hundreds of work hours with this simple move. All it took was asking – being transparent with my needs – and they stepped up above and beyond to fill the need.

I’m so grateful for the ways that God has given me a global and local community to step up when I present my needs. On the flip side, I’m blessed by how I get to fill in with my resources to encourage friends and provide care to others from my skill set.

Plus there was an epic thunderstorm on Saturday night, and we all know that’s totes my fav.

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