This past February, missionaries from across the globe gathered in Bozeman, Montana, at Grace Bible Church for their Global Outreach Conference. The conference allows missionaries from all over the world the church supports to return in order to share with the congregation how things are progressing, receive encouragement, and connect with other missionaries. The Burys participated in the conference because they are supported by Grace Bible Church and they represented Camp Daniel.
Marceaux is from Bozeman and grew up attending Grace Bible Church. It has been very encouraging for Jen and Marceaux to be valued as missionaries and have the disability community be recognized as a mission field.
While there, they were able to speak to several different groups ranging from preschool to senior adults about the value of people with disabilities and what the church is missing when this people group is not present and participating in the body of Christ. They used one of their puppets, Milo, who is in a wheelchair and has an intellectual disability to explain that God made them, loves them, and has a plan for their life.
The conference reminded Jen and Marceaux the importance of culture as they spoke with other missionaries. They identified most with a missionary that serves within the Native American community. Both cultures exist here within the United States. Therefore, its missionaries do not have to leave their homeland nor their own culture, yet they still have to learn and embrace a different culture. Both cultures think and perceive the world in a concrete way. Both cultures are relational. Jen asked the missionary how a Native American church would look like without the influence of outside cultures. He explained that the first thing you would notice is the seating arrangement. They would not have chairs in rows, but rather everyone would sit in a circle. They would not have one person or several leaders standing up front, apart from the group. They have a strong belief in being together and would not do things to separate from the group. There would be teachers, but they would remain within the group, not set apart. Teaching would be concrete and simple. Worship music would consist of drumming and traditional singing.
These conversations reflect the rest of the staff at Camp Daniel continually have among the team. Is there a different culture for those living with intellectual disabilities? If so, should worship environments reflect cultural norms for this culture? How is this communicated to local churches, especially when they want to be equipped to do “disability ministry”? What would this look like? These are just a few questions we explore as we think through the best way to communicate God’s love and plan for those living with intellectual disabilities.
Previously, Grace Bible has sent volunteers on short-term mission’s trip to Camp Daniel. Mission trips help fulfill our need for volunteers, but they also give us a chance to inspire and equip volunteers to take back a message proclaiming people with disabilities are needed in the church to help make the church complete.
During the conference, Jen and Marceaux stayed with Marceaux’s family, allowing for Grandma and Grandpa to get plenty of MJ time. They also spent time meeting with supporters, visiting members from previous Camp Daniel trips, and recruiting new volunteers for this year’s summer camps.
Camp Daniel depends on churches for many of our needs. We need work teams to help with building our grounds, teams for summer camps, and financial support. If you would like to learn more about ways your church can contribute to Camp Daniel, please write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call our camp office at 715-757-3880.