That was the phrase on the back of a tee shirt one of our STMs (Short Term Missionaries or volunteers) wore the first week.  I’ve spent a lot of time pondering that phrase this summer.  I’ve tried to encourage our STMs each week to give all they’ve got in service for both our families, one another and ultimately our Lord.  It’s also been a challenge to me, and one of the reasons I haven’t posted recently.  The spirit has been willing to do so, but my body has been dragging by the time I get to my room each night; a sign, I hope,  that I have given all I had that day.  Then there is the reality that everyone goes back to their room around the same time and the internet slows down.

Someone pointed out to me this week that the great thing about the phrase “All it takes is all you’ve got” is that we don’t have to wonder if more is required.  If we give our all that’s all it takes!

I have seen so many people giving their all this week, which is one of the reasons I so love Family Retreat.

Where else do you see a dance off of guys with autism, or hear an 8 year old with spina bifida tell the nurse she’s his 18th fiancé and he will definitely marry a nurse?

Where else do you see a guy with spastic cp serving as the videographer as he tools around camp in his scooter wearing his video camera on his helmet?

Where else do you have a coffee house and sing karaoke with people who can’t read the words or carry a tune but then get wildly and sincerely applauded and cheered?

Where else can you worship and have a little girl with autism run up on the stage and no one blinks an eye, or as the pastor begins to speak and she steps forward to talk into his mic?

Where else would three staff people give up a night of sleep to stay with an injured teen STM at the hospital until his mom could arrive the next morning?  (And thankfully he’s out of the hospital now and on his way to healing).

Where else would a teen with Down Syndrome greet you and everyone who is within twenty feet in the moving ameba of a group hug?

Where else would a young woman who has limited verbal skills give our her “business cards” that tell of her love for the Lord and her name?  After seven years I was blessed this year to be welcomed into the fold as one of her friends!

Where else would you find a young woman who planned her upcoming wedding around Family Retreat schedule so she could be sure to serve this week just two weeks before getting married and moving away?

Where else would a young boy with sensory processing disorder have the opportunity to find out how cool wheelchairs are and wish he could have one?

Where else would a sister be able to say, “oh now I get it” about her brothers disability when she saw the way he responded to opportunities at camp?

Where else could a kid who can’t talk and seems not to track well be right in the middle of a marshmallow catapult war?

If those of us in disability ministry had our way the answer to each of those questions would be – the church – of course!  But until that day when all are not only welcomed but embraced by the local church I am so thankful that I can live three weeks of my life in a community of families and STMs at Family Retreat who daily give their all and live real life together.