Friday, December 16, 2011

One Down and One to Go!

So they did it. I take absolutely no credit, THEY did it. The Barnabas prep team made thru one beautiful first semester. Jason and George and Billie led the way and before you knew it the interns were taking charge and getting things done (sometimes on time) and the students were learning to do things they never thought possible.
Tuesday we had Prep and full time staff gather for a meal. I cooked with help from some others like Keri and Donna and even Renee. When we served the meal and sat down I looked around and a more beautiful site would be hard to find. The students and interns and staff were all having a great time just being together. When ask how they felt about this first semester, my heart was so full hearing the replys.
I know that each of the interns has accomplished more than they ever imagined possible. They have truly let God rule their time and given it all to him. The prep students have amazed all of us and themselves. They have had huge accomplishments and small adventures all leading to a great sense of "I can". I love each story!!
Today I am a bit sad thinking they are all gone for a few weeks. Today I reflect on the semester and want to share that God has great plans for each of you...........plans to prosper you! Believe it and hold on to that as you venture toward next semester.
By the way, thanks for filling my heart with love and joy and a sense of great pride in all you have done.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bigger & Better Things

There have been several changes in my life in that last year. For starters, I turned 20. And I stopped having that dream about cave bears. I implemented a budget and no longer drink 4 cups of coffee a day. I started seeking the wisdom of my parents and I realized that Facebook is a colossal waste of time.
And I withdrew from Baylor University and moved to Missouri to intern at Camp Barnabas.
That change was probably the biggest. And it came with a million new challenges.
When I was in college, I thought waking up for my 9:00am class was the hardest thing I had ever done. My alarm would go off and I would consider the ramifications of skipping class, and try to remember how many absences Baylor’s policy would allow.
Now I have people who depend on me to get up in the mornings and get them ready for the day whether I feel like it or not. I don’t get to consider staying in bed. At least not for more than five minutes.
Some mornings satan screams, “you can’t do this another day!” And some morning I believe him.
But some morning I listen to God’s gentle whisper: “My grace is enough for you and my strength is made perfect in the places you feel the weakest”. And sometimes I remember that for more than an hour.
But then Suzie drops her cell phone on the ground for the 14th time today, and Jake gets mad and throws a pumpkin off the dining hall porch. And Carley’s frustrated because she had to butter her own bagel. And Jaime doesn’t feel good. And Harley won’t stop talking to the dog. And Jen’s chair is dead.
All of that makes me think that maybe I would rather be back in college, struggling to make it to that 9:00am class and worrying about typical 20 year old issues.
But I know I should be here. And deep inside I know that I want to be here.
Because Suzie just poured her own juice, and Jake cleaned up the pumpkin. And Carley admitted that she was proud of herself for fixing her own breakfast. And Jaime is singing about dinner. And Harley took the dog for a walk. And Jen plunged a toilet.
We’re all being stretched and we are all growing.
And I’m in the kitchen making dinner and wondering why I’m lucky enough to be a part of this wonderfully crazy adventure that we call “Barnabas Prep”. Because even when I am overwhelmed by all the chaos in this house, I know that this is an experience I will be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A word from Carley...

Carley McGovern is a Barnabas Prep student from Maryland. She loves to reinvent her mom's home-cooking in our kitchen and we love when she surprises us with cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes.

I love Barnabas Prep so much. It is teaching me lots. Before I came here, I was not good at doing things for myself. One day one of the interns asked me to butter my own bagel. I was like, “You want me to do what?” I was so mad and complained the whole time. When I was done, I was proud of myself. That was the first of many things I now do on my own. Barnabas Prep is teaching me I can do more than I think I can if I just try. And who cares if it doesn’t work out the first time? Keep trying. That is what Barnabas Prep is all about. Learning to do things on our own can be hard at times but my Prep family and I get it done and have fun along the way.

One of my favorite things we have done all started one Wednesday night at dinner when George said there was no class on Thursday and we were going to Springfield. But he did not tell us why. We spent all night trying to guess what we were doing. On Thursday we all got in the car, still not knowing anything. We drove to the Springfield camp office. I was so excited to find out what we were doing. Then Jason comes out and tells the interns to get in one car and us stay in the car. Donna drove us to Incredible Pizza. I was excited. Jason and Donna told us that we could eat all the pizza we wanted and play the games. We desired to go go-carting. Yes, people in wheelchairs can drive go carts. Not well, but we can. I got to go with Jason and had a blast.

I love my Barnabas Prep family and am so glad I get to take part in everything Barnabas Prep has to offer.

To see video and photos from Carley and the other students’ go-cart adventures, check out their Facebook page at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dawn's Early Light

Each week one of our Barnabas Prep students or interns will post here their insights into what being a part of the Prep program means to them. Our entry this week is from our intern, John Bryant. John is from Memphis, Tennessee and a graduate of Rhodes College with a degree in creative writing. And this is very creative....

Dawn’s early light finds me, and I find it annoying.

It says, gently, “Hey, buddy! Wake up!”

I say, gently, “Hey, dawn: we aren’t buddies.”

My phone alarm goes off, and I yawn, and throw it at the wall. But gently. Because grandma calls on Tuesdays. And I treasure her.

But I don’t like waking up. I think that’s honest.

Ask any of my Barnabas Prep family if I’m an absolute monster in the morning, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: “No.” Because my Barnabas Prep family’s got my back. Thanks guys. Now back to work: Daddy wants breakfast.

If you found this funny, then all I have to say is: Hi, mom, grandma’s doing fine. And I’m doing a blog. And I love you.

Mom, I gotta go.

To everybody else:

I’ve been here for two months, and even after I wake up, I sometimes feel like I’ve made the right decision. Why? Because I’m laughing more than ever.

Why am I laughing? Because nothing’s going right.

Some people get the idea that we interns know what we’re doing. And I laugh at these people. I laugh and laugh. And these people turn and walk away, shaking their long blond hair, wondering why that intelligent, attractive man was laughing so much. And if they’ll ever see him again. Because man, talk about the total package.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, we know what we’re doing, up to a point. We know how to cook, how to make peace. We know how to transfer the students into the cars. Heck, we even know how to drive the cars. But what we don’t know, and what we can’t ever seem to learn, is how to make everything work out. Because breakfast was late, dinner will burn, and we are late to church. And we forgot to plug in Jen’s wheelchair. And we’re sorry, Jen.

And we never agree on anything.

Yes we do.

No we don’t.

Some of us want to watch “Hannah Montana,” but some of us were waiting to see “Survivor.” Some of us like listening to country music, but some of us only like good music. Some of us are eager to eat spicy Mexican, but some of us are tired of trying to make it to the bathroom in time. Some days, all we can agree on is that everyone should go back to sleep.

Except me. I’m wide awake at that point.

What I’m saying is: 11 different people, living together, is awful. And amazing. And you won’t know God’s grace until you try it. You won’t know that 99 percent of the time, God’s grace is the ability to laugh. And you won’t know what laughter really is. You won’t know that laughter is really just the ability to say, “I’m not God. Because God doesn’t let dinner explode.”

Laughter is the ability to admit you just made a mistake. And I’m laughing all the time. I laugh because nothing’s working out. I laugh because God’s working it all out. I cry that He made me live here with 10 other people. I cry that He might not have.

And I love my ten friends. That part wasn’t hard. But they better not wake me up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26, 2011

It’s been an amazing beginning to the story of Barnabas Prep. In planning for the inaugural year of this new program there was a bit of anxiety.

And, as with any startup, it has taken a few weeks to get the program grounded and create solutions to the challenges that have arisen. But we could not have asked for better results. We are now running in stride and enjoying every minute of it.

Our students recently returned from Fall Break and are working hard on their play. Their performance is tomorrow (Thursday, October 27) at Camp Barnabas from 6pm – 8pm. If you are in the area, we would love for you to join us in the dining hall at camp for this free event which includes delectable appetizers.

The play is a valuable experience for our students. It gives them something to be passionate about and incorporates several of the skills we are aiming for in this program. They are developing self-confidence while working on the following skills: communication, teamwork, public speaking, motivation, writing, creativity, and computer technology. You won’t want to miss seeing this played out on Thursday night.

October drawing to a close means only seven months left in this year’s program but there are still plenty of learning and exciting experiences ahead of us. If you happen to remember us during your time with God during the day, we would definitely not turn down any prayers. You may pray for the program as a whole to continue our success as well as for our students individually as they develop the life-skills and job-skills that express their abilities to the fullest.


George White

Director of Barnabas Prep

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

After attending church in the morning we were invited to their annual hog roast. We had some amazing pork while listening to great music by a live performer.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

After the hog roast at the church we all grabbed some Braum's ice cream and headed to the local park to enjoy the beautiful evening.