Penny and a friend hold a welcome sign outside surrounded by other people and large bubbles

Hope Heals Camp: Belovedness and Belonging

Hope Heals Camp exists as a place where families affected by disability can receive rest, resources, and relationships. As Jay and Katherine Wolf, co-founders, say, Hope Heals seeks to “disrupt the myth that joy can only be found in a pain-free life.” There’s a spa day for women, so they can receive the truth that their bodies are worthy of loving attention. There’s a photographer who offers photos for families so they can see themselves as a beautiful family. There’s a talent show and a dance party where everyone feels celebrated. 

Hope Heals is an embodiment of belovedness and belonging. A place where love is lived out through men driving golf carts and emptying out garbage cans and refilling jugs of water (Peter’s job). Lived out through teenage girls keeping up with small children with disabilities who seem to never stop running. Lived out through the worship leaders who invited Penny to help them make their set list and lead her peers in singing. Lived out through beauty and kindness and good food and laughter and friendship and the wonders of science experiments like making elephant toothpaste. 

On the final night of camp, William and I were asked to welcome the campers as they came into the dining hall for what we call the Luke 14 banquet. We opened the doors and greeted everyone. Young, old, those with service dogs, children in wheelchairs, teenagers with communication devices, adults with canes, kids with ear muffs to block excessive noise, and all the rest of us who came with what Katherine calls our “invisible wheelchairs.” It was a picture to me of what real community, real belonging, real love looks like. A picture of the kingdom of God. 

We feasted together, blessed one another, and danced.

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