Pursuing God’s Goodness Through The Storm
By Alise Ramseyer | August 6, 2020
This season of quarantine has been a challenge for many, including families of students with special needs. As our Rainbow Express leadership team met via Zoom for months prior to camp, we weren’t sure what direction to go for the summer. Do we plan camp as usual in case the quarantine is lifted and then meet on campus? Do we cancel altogether not knowing the future of it all? As we discussed the pros and cons of each avenue, the reason why we host Rainbow Express each year was clear. It was then a unanimous vote that camp needed to happen again in a way that would continue to follow guidelines and keep everyone safe. As we prayed about what camp would look like, we were initially met with all the challenges and things we couldn’t do. Then God opened the door of creativity to each one of us and what happened last week at camp was exactly what it needed to be for our families.
Close to 55 families with and without students with special needs had the chance to experience our camp with the theme “Chasing Rainbows – Pursuing God’s Goodness Through The Storm.” Students learned about Noah and the flood, Daniel and the lion’s den, David and Goliath and Jesus dying on the cross. On Monday, campers picked up a box filled with crafts, sensory items like Gak and orbeez, snacks, coloring sheets, chalk, crayons, etc. Knowing students’ and their families’ comfort levels during this season would vary, we provided activities that were available online and in person on our church campus. Online, students had fun Zoom calls meeting their peers, learning to draw together, racing to find items in their home for a scavenger hunt and even a big game of Bingo! On campus, we set up two activities that kept all the state guidelines in mind, as well as providing something fun for families that needed to get out of the house. Tuesday, we prepared a socially distanced, totally fun water day where students had the opportunity to soak their counselors. Thursday, we set up the ultimate obstacle course where students hopped up and down, spun around, walked on a balance beam and were cheered on by volunteers every step of the way.
So back to the “why” I referenced earlier. Why do we do Rainbow Express, even during a pandemic? We do it for the students whose only chance to hear about Jesus is this one week a year. We do it for the parents who need to know God sees them, knows them and loves them. It’s easy to give in to the frustration and anxiety that can come with a season like this one we’re in. But God is still working in the lives of so many, like the family who shared they would like to come back to church after the positive experience they had last week at Rainbow Express. I hope you will join me in continuing to find all the creative ways you too can share Jesus with your friends and neighbors this season.