This was my first year going to Joni and Friends. I went to camp and served as a STM (short term missionary). I was super anxious and hesitant about going. I was anxious about the unknown of how the week would go and the fact that I got put with a buddy who has a disability.
When I got there the first day and half of training I was having a lot of anxiety and wanted to go home. As soon as I saw my camper, Ashley, all my anxiety and fears went away. Ashley is a beautiful and sweet 16-year-old girl with autism who is also non-verbal. Through all my anxiety and then seeing how God put me with the perfect match, I learned that I needed to trust God with his plan for the week because he knows both Ashley and I better than I know myself.
It was so fun getting to know Ashley and learning how she communicates in her own way. I spent a lot of my week with playing with cars, balls, bubbles, listening to the chicken dance, and hugging Ashley. It was such an amazing and fulfilling experience to spend a whole week serving someone else and putting my own desires to the side. It was truly a blessing getting to meet and spend a week at with Ashley! I’m hoping I’ll be able to go back again next year!