Have you ever had fresh milk that hasn’t been homogenized? The rich cream just rises to the top. It’s the first thing you see, but not the only good thing in the pitcher. That’s what ministry is like. You see the first fruits right away, but you know more evidence of God’s work will float up with time.
Well, I’ve been waiting to learn about the cream of the summer, the first fruits, so I can share with those of you who have been praying for the staff and campers at Camp JIM this youth camp season, and I finally have them. 🙂
One of our outgoing interns posted the statistics on Facebook and I just copied them for you, graphics and all!
Summer 2018 Statistic Highlights:
💥409 youth campers
💥82 family campers
💥56 DECISIONS MADE (47 SALVATION AND 9 RE-DEDICATIONS)
💥27 pages of “God Moments” (times that our staff saw God working)
💥Our staff learned what resting in God truly meant, even through the busyness of a summer camp season.
💥So so much more!!
At the beginning of the summer we had a dedication ceremony for the summer staff. We shared the meaning of their name, a speaker commissioned them, we prayed over them individually, washed their feet, and we gave each of the girls a special necklace with charms like a crystal and a crown to signify their significance in Christ. God would be with them through the summer. The guys had their own ceremony. It was a special time.
During the summer, we are very careful in recording decisions that are made at camp. Salvation decisions refer only to those decisions reported by counselors or staff who actually talked with/prayed with campers who we know have an understanding of the decision they are making. It is not a scenario where the same child comes to camp every year and visits the alter every time. We follow up with them and help them connect with their local churches so that they can have the support of the Body of Christ and continue to grow and be discipled.
God moments are just as stated above. Staff write up their God moments and office staff record them. 27 pages of God moments, y’all! And that’s just what we notice. God is always working, often in ways we don’t even recognize.
In addition to youth campers, we served more than 10 church groups who directed their own camps/retreats in a different part of our facility. There was harvesting going on that we have no idea about. We’re honored to be able to partner with them to help them minister.
We are searching for a new full time staff who will be part salary and part missionary support. Please pray that God will give my husband and the board wisdom and guidance as they seek this person, and that God will guide the person He has appointed through the application process.
We are also welcoming on board one of our past counselors and interns as full time missionary staff. Sarah will be partnering with us to further develop our internship program.
We are transitioning into a season of serving guest groups on the weekends, examining the summer while seeking how to improve, Ladies’ Retreat in September, and so much more. If you’d like to learn more about Camp JIM (Jesus Is Mine), you can visit the website. 🙂 Thank you for partnering with us in prayer this summer.
On the Family Front, summer is always so long, and yet short at the same time! Days and weeks are long. Hubby and I know it’s par for the course, but it’s hard on the little ones, never knowing who is coming and going or when.
Our oldest daughter was a counselor. We looked forward to seeing her for a few hours on Saturday evenings or at church Sunday morning. Then she was back to camp.
The next three were DIT’s (Disciples in Training). Basically, they are volunteers who stay at camp, work really hard, study, and have lots of opportunities to grow both emotionally and spiritually. They may be called upon to clean bathrooms and cabins, work with counselors as help in cabins, run activity areas, work in the kitchen by helping cook, serve, and clean, and a variety of other jobs. They can’t wait to go back and do it again next year. Between the weeks of training, working and attending as campers, they were each gone more than a month between June and July.
Our school aged younger children also attended their weeks of camp. Our 2 year old spent the summer asking “________is home?” “__________ is gone?”… trying to understand!!
Meanwhile, we had swim lessons 🙂
This guy lives for loving people. The most fun part of any adventure is making friends, even in swim lessons!
We had a lot of guests, which was not planned.
We picked fresh strawberries from a local farm…
and enjoyed every bite! Freezer is stocked too. 🙂
This pregnancy has not been without challenges. The bleeding the first four months really had me wondering if we were going to have a baby. In the past that has always led to miscarriage. Eventually it stopped, just in time to learn that the placenta was too low… and if it didn’t move it would prevent a natural birth. 7 out of 8 of our babies have been born at home, and all have been born naturally. This was a big deal.
Other times in my life this would have frightened and frustrated me, but I can honestly say that I didn’t worry, but experienced peace. I prefer to carry on our tradition of home birthing, but I knew that God was in control and that whatever happened, I could trust Him. We asked close friends and supporting churches for their prayers, that if God was willing, He would cause the placenta to move up with the growing uterus. Two months later, I have just seen my midwife and she was enthusiastic that we now have plenty of margin for a home birth. God has answered our prayers! I am so thankful for those who have prayed and to the Lord for His grace in this situation.
5 more weeks to our due date. 🙂
Every summer, when youth camp’s wrap up, the next week is our local county fair. We always enjoy attending as a family, visiting the animals and craft buildings, letting the ‘Littles’ visit the Cub Foods/Fleet Farm sponsored farm that shows children how food gets from farm to plate (their favorite thing), visiting with our friends at Pulse Radio, and picking up a treat. It’s something the kids have grown to count on and it’s just fun to be together again.
The other thing we do? Go. Anywhere. But. Here.
Seriously, just bond and regroup. So what do camp professionals do in their free time? Go camping, HA! At a State Park. 😀
Over the years, our Minnesota parks have been transitioning to all reservable spaces. We didn’t know exactly when we’d be able to get away, so it almost bit us this year. We found space at ONE park… Jay Cooke State Park, along the North Shore. The woman who rented us the LAST space told us it was a sheer miracle that anything was available. (Thank you God. I know it was you.) We’re going to need to reserve for next year.
St. Louis River at Jay Cooke State Park
Anyway, the water main at that park was broken and so there was no running water. We visited a grocery store and bought LOTS of bottled water so we could drink. There were port-a-potties all over the grounds. And well, no showers… for 5 days… not okay. 😉
So we explored the beautiful campground there the first day, and then we drove north of Duluth to other state parks to play on other days. It is the farthest I’ve ever driven for a shower!
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Spit Rock Light House
We were blessed with a gift this summer that allowed us to purchase a one year family membership to the Minnesota Historical Society. The membership was slightly more than paying for all of us to tour the light house, but it will allow us to visit as many of the other 25 Historical Society locations as we can over the next year. 🙂 It was a good investment.
We took a trip out to Lindbergh State Park. Charles Lindbergh crossed the ocean in a light weight plane that had a wicker seat like this one. He carried only a quart of water and some sandwiches.
His life story was interesting, and from a Believer’s stand point, it was sad. The museum features many of the collections that Lindbergh treasured as a boy. This was his nature collection. He said he worried God would take his treasures and use them for “His own purposes.” If only young Lindbergh had understood that all belongs to the Creator already, and it is in His great love that He allows us to enjoy His treasures!
We are looking forward to visiting more historical sites, like the Fur Post in Pine River, MN.
Provision: There have been so many broken things this year. My mom used to say when it rains it pours, but God has been faithful.
- Our kitchen range broke.
- The extra fridge in the garage, which is a necessity with a large family, has been slowly dying. It’s not cold enough and most foods won’t keep.
- The water softener stopped working, and my fix it husband just can’t figure out what is wrong with it. We’ve replaced parts. We may be down to having to replace it. EVERYTHING is red from the iron, including some blonde girls’ hair.
- The water pump for the well began the habit of stopping randomly
- Ourur older daughters traveled down to the Twin Cities to accompany a youth group, who is deeply involved with camp, for a fun day at Valley Fair (Like Six Flags). The car’s main brake line broke on the way down. 😦 So thankful they returned home safely. Shop said the other brake lines were close to breaking, rotors were rusting through, brake pads, etc… Ugh.
- And with baby coming, we’re all out of room. Therefore, we’ll be getting creative with some of our space to make a “new” small room for our oldest daughter, and then everyone will play musical bedrooms.
How has God provided? The praise in all this is that before we even knew we would have need, the supporting churches we visited in the winter and spring were so generous toward our family. They always are, but this year was above and beyond. Having set this surplus aside, coupled with God’s creativity:
We were able to pay for the new kitchen range. I’m still learning how to cook with it since there are temperature differences, but I am so thankful and very much enjoying the convection feature and warming burner.
The car has been repaired and is again safe to drive. It is an old Saturn that has rarely ever had an issue and gets amazing mileage. These were just normal wear and tear repairs that happened to land at the same time, and we expect it to serve us for a lot longer.
Hubby was able to do something that seems to have fixed the problem with the well pump— grateful!! Nothing like showering littles and having the water go out mid-lather!
Friends who are moving sold us a used refrigerator to replace our dying one for only $50.
Between savings and Menard’s rebates, we are able to begin the “creative bedroom space” project as soon as hubby has time.
The water softener? Still a problem, but it’s not as pressing as the others. I am confident God will provide the perfect solution in the perfect time.
I’m sharing this to express gratitude to those of you who are reading from churches who are such a blessing to us! And to those of you who have never even met us, I pray that in sharing how God is meeting our needs you will be encouraged and your faith may be enlarged.
Other Praise: Our garden has produced well… green beans galore, tomatoes are ripening, potatoes are still growing, carrots, and ginormous squash!! The apple trees are FULL. One tree will be ready in September, and the other in October. They drop a few apples each day, not as sweet as they will be, but the kids enjoy nibbling on them as often as possible.
The little bit of garage sale shopping I did yielded some birthday gifts for kids that I am very excited about. 😀
We’re so grateful for all of the prayers and encouragement as we do life while serving God at Camp JIM. Deep gratitude to all who partner with us this way, as well as financially, in camp ministry.
Some random pictures from summer…
Or have to learn how to change and rotate tires…
and give thanks during a major power outage while having fun with candles and glow bracelets.
What is it that Ann Voskamp always says? All is grace… the good and the hard.
This has been a summer full of God’s grace. Thankful!