Archive for August, 2008

Friday, August 29th, 2008

That’s all for now

Retreat is a memory now. Pictures and videos are posted to help us remember.

I’m working on a Shutterfly photobook of JAF Retreat 2008. The JAF-MN office will send a letter to campers and volunteers with info about how to see the book and how to order if desired.

So that’s the end of this chapter of this blog. Nations-be-glad will return when it’s time for another venture into some part of God’s world outside my normal life, whether nearby or farther away.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to JAF Family Retreat in 2009!

  • Leave a Comment (1)  

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Magdalene’s Song for Joni

Magdalene Nungu from Cameroon has a tradition of bringing a new song to Joni each time she sees her. She teaches Joni a song in Pidgin English and they sing it together.

This trip, she didn’t have the chance to see Joni, so she sang the song solo for all of us at retreat, with a 5-gallon plastic pail as a drum.

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

A Better Panorama — I hope

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Photo Information

All the camp photos are posted at Kodak Gallery. I pray they will bless you with pleasure and good memories.

1. Group Photos

There are 2 sets each of the group in three sections –right, center, left. This gives you the option to find the grouping that shows your family best. There is also a panorama, but this is my first effort at merging photos and it’s not entirely successful.

2. All the Retreat photos , including some by other campers. You won’t want all of these, but I hope you will find some you like of you, your family and friends, and your STM.

3. Video clips from testimonies on the last day of camp

4. Video clips of the children at the CEFED Special Education Home and School, a large part of Magdalene Nungu‘s ministry in Cameroon, which was highlighted one morning during the Adult Ministry time. These will give a small glimpse into the drastically different life there of a child with disabilities and of the huge difference a few caring people can make in Jesus’ name — Welcome SongI Will Dance for You, O LordI Want to Go to SchoolAmazing Grace (name that tune!).

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Sorry. You’ll have to wait another day for the links I promised to the group photos. Today I got distracted in the most blessed, wonderful way.

Our 9th grandchild was born today–our 4th grandson. He is Morrow John Piper.

This is especially sweet because his sister Felicity was stillborn a year ago. So the rejoicing today is different than any other time I remember. Greater joy than the great joy we might otherwise have had interpersed with sorrow still that Felicity is not here.

  • Leave a Comment 4  

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008


As camp photographer, I had the privilege of seeing activities in many parts of the program. I was very glad I took my bike for getting around and back and forth!

I have loaded onto the Internet all the photos I took and some from others too. There are way too many for any one family. But I hope you’ll enjoy scanning through, looking for your own faces and those of friends and for events you particularly enjoyed. At this Kodak website, you can save any photos to your own computer. You can purchase prints. And you can use the website to create a photobook, designed by you.

One of the campers, Rick Klingberg, has also posted the photos at his Internet gallery. You can order prints from him. He also offers a number of products that can be printed with the photo of your choice–apron, t-shirt, mug, mouse pad, and many more.

On my post tomorrow, I will include a link to the group photos of everyone who was there.

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Talitha’s Thoughts

Elisa and I helped the Turner family during Family Retreat. Mrs. Turner wrote on her blog about how much they enjoyed camp and she also posted some pictures.

My mom thought you might like seeing a camper’s perspective.

  • Leave a Comment (1)  

Monday, August 18th, 2008

~Talitha’s Thoughts~

Hey Everybody!

How is everybody since I last saw you?? Good?

Well anyway, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you today.

ok… Yesterday was one of the most precious days ever for me. It was Sunday and the last day of camp. That is when we have breakfast, pack up, and have a little worship and a word from the camp speaker (this year being Kempton Turner) and we have testimonies from campers and from STMs and everyone else.

Just hearing people saying how God was at work that week was worth the whole week of camp. And then seeing people, including the mother of my family, cry and say what a blessing their STM was to them also was very moving to me.

The whole week of camp was tiring and hard as well as sweet and good. It was full of fun, some things include: Swimming, playing, playing tennis, playing ping pong and pool, talking, staying up late, spending time with the Turners, laughing with the Turners, spending time with girls like Elisa, Tessa, Becca, Elise, Ellen , Courtney, my cousin Betsy and her friend Hannah and many other girls. And spending time with boys like Sam, Ryan, Kyle, Joe, Nate and Nate. There were so many others I spent time with and there are so many other things I did as well.

Another thing I did, was almost every morning I went to the youth prayer meeting that Elisa organized. That was really encouraging since every morning I was so tired but God helped me to get up in the morning and come to this and I can tell you prayer really helps and encourages and strengthens you.

I have so much more I could say but if I said it all, you would be sitting there for maybe even a couple of hours!! I am happy to be back but I am also sad that camp is over and I can’t wait to go next year for 2009 Joni and Friends Camp!!!!

  • Leave a Comment 3  

Sunday, August 17th, 2008


Everyone left camp around noon today.

After this almost-week of serving, Talitha and I are TIRED. As with many feelings or emotions this week, it’s a good reminder of what it’s like for families with disabilities. We had responsibilities for 5 days; they for 365.

We have plans to post a few more times with thoughts and stories, but for now it’s good night.

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Saturday, August 16th, 2008


When we say “talent,” I think we usually mean a high level of performance in comparison with others.

A few years ago, my first Talent Show at a JAF Family Retreat brought me to another understanding of the word–the gifts and abilities that God has given. Period. Not in comparison with anyone else. Especially not in comparison with “normal.” What is normal anyway . . . but that’s another topic.

Tonight we heard jokes from a tall young man who labors to speak, with his STM (volunteer) as straight man. We waited patiently until the words were formed and spoken and laughed uproariously when the punch line finally arrived.

We saw a pixie-like girl whose body is weak imitating the mouthy bravado of professional wrestlers as she arm-wrestled 2 STMs to their knees.

We saw a sometimes timid, sometimes determined teenager demonstrate a talent she learned just this week–making her new yoyo go down and up 2 or 3 times before it stayed down.

And we saw a strong young man who wanted just one thing for his birthday a few months ago–a violin. Every time I saw him at camp this week, he was carrying his violin case. At home he watches his Andrew Rieu DVD and plays along, up and down on the same string. Tonight, dressed in tie, dark dress shirt and trousers, with just the right tempo of lip pursing and showman smiling, just the right balance of arching the head back and leaning forward into the music, he entertained us on one string to Happy Birthday to You and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, his favorite tunes. An STM played with him, using all the strings. Her grand finale flourish was nothing compared to his.

Tonight the talent was true talent–the display of God-given ability.

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Friday, August 15th, 2008

The Person Who Traveled Farthest to Attend Retreat

One of the special things about this Family Retreat is that my friend, Magdalene Nungu, is here from Cameroon. She is the founder and director of a disabilities ministry in the Bamenda area of the Northwest Province. I met her last year when I was part of the team distributing wheelchairs through her organization.

One of the main parts of her work is a school for children with disabilities. For some of the children it is also their home, because they are shunned or neglected in their own villages. It is a sweet thing to see those children–now loved, clean, and well-fed–coming to love Jesus and to hear them praising him.

She has a dream to begin having Family Retreats in Cameroon, and so she is here to observe and learn. Of course, a retreat will look different there, and so we with her for discernment as she figures out the the core values and purposes of a Family Retreat, and gets ideas about what is transferable between cultures.

A small example today . . . . Magdalene watched the children playing outside. There were a pile of wadded-up paper balls with an outer layer of foil. The children were instructed to pick up a few balls and then to throw them away, just as quickly as you should throw away sin out of your life. There was a blizzard of “sin” energetically being discarded. Magdalene said, “We could do that” — no expensive materials or equipment required to play a game that makes a biblical point.

There was a short presentation this morning about our Harvest Project wheelchair distribution in 2007 and Magdalene said a few words about her ministry. Tonight she was amazed and grateful as she told me about several conversations today–people planning to donate wheelchairs to JAF, people who wanted to know more about her ministry, and a few thinking about the possibility of being part of the next wheelchair distribution, including a young man in a wheelchair who is an architect.

I could see the wheels turning (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) as she thought of the impact he could have. It would be almost impossible for most Cameroonians to imagine a disabled person having that much education and respect in his profession. Just the presence of such a person, even if he did nothing else, could open new vistas for young people with disabilities and their families.

So please pray for Magdalene, that this visit would lead to deeper, broader ministry in Cameroon that brings even more glory to the name of Jesus.

  • Leave a Comment 2  

Friday, August 15th, 2008

One of the Therapy Llamas

  • Leave a Comment (1)