Dear Friends


We had a plan. Well, in fact, for SMAD Camp we had several plans. We had a plan for the day. We had a plan for smoke haze. We had a plan for wet weather. What we didn’t plan for was hail.

We can’t plan for everything that happens in life but what we can do is choose our attitude. We were blown away by the positivity after the storm. Once we had counted all the campers and could breathe a sigh of relief, we got to singing. The campers and leaders sang and crafted their way through the afternoon. When the parents came to pick up, the only sign that anything had happened was the piles of white round golf ball sized hail.

The hail badly damaged all the cars in the church car park, several church windows, skylights in the manse and our beloved 9 Square. After getting the children and leaders inside with 30 seconds to spare, it gave us some perspective. We were just truly grateful that everyone was safe. Yes, don’t get us wrong, we would have loved to not have to wait on the phone for 2 hours to the insurance company (thanks dad) or have to worry about carpooling for the foreseeable future or to be able to play 9 Square the following day. But we realised in that moment what was truly important.

Throughout the rest of the week we didn’t hear a single camper, leader or parent complain. If anything, we experienced our SMAD community become closer as there was out pouring of love, support and offers of donations. God was with us throughout the whole of SMAD Camp. It was truly incredible that we all made it inside moments before it struck. We don’t believe there was any divine intervention or that God planned to pulverise 9 Square. We will continue to make plans for SMAD Camp, fully knowing sometimes you can plan all you want, and you might still be thrown a curve ball (hopefully not a hail one). This week taught us to focus on what’s important in life and to do things with a smile on your face and with love in your heart.

Today’s inside cover has been contributed by Penny and Ally Jackson. I’m glad there’s a little room left here for me, on behalf of the church, to congratulate them and the team on another fabulous SMAD, their 8th. Despite the unexpected challenges this year, their organisation and flexibility meant that the whole week went amazingly well. Our 4 grandkids talked incessantly about what a great time they were having and how their leaders were just the best. I’m sure there were many other kids saying the same.

Please note that many of the volunteer leaders are out of pocket as a result of hail damage to their cars. Penny and Ally have received some donations to assist them and will be distributing those soon. If you would also like to contribute, see them or just make a deposit direct to the SMAD account. Thanks.