May Newsletter

Camp is Good in So Many Ways

I have believed for years that camp is one of the healthiest places to be. While at camp, children are away from TV screens and in the great outdoors. They get loads of physical, mental, social, and spiritual stimulation. Kids run around and get sweaty and dirty. They play games, sports, and do crafts. We take them swimming, hiking, and canoeing. These are all things kids NEED to be doing. Staying at home all summer watching TV and playing video games is not healthy. 

At camp, we are away from all the busyness of life and have a chance to think. Being out of the city also means cleaner air with wide-open spaces to enjoy God’s creation and beauty. Sunshine produces Vitamin D which boosts the immune system. We get plenty of that at camp!

We serve delicious, home-cooked meals. Each week begins with spaghetti, salad, and homemade garlic cheese biscuits. (We even make our own bread, hello!!!) Other meals include barbeque chicken with green bean casserole or roast beef and mashed potatoes on Banquet Night. Taco Tuesday is a BIG hit with staff and kids. I remember one Tuesday we did NOT have taco salad. There was almost a riot. 

Breakfasts are something to look forward to with meals like biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, fruit and toast. You just can’t beat camp’s oatmeal and sausage! We finish the week off with French Toast Friday and Cinnamon Roll Saturday (hand-made of course). For some kids, they eat better at camp than at home and I don’t just mean a healthy variety of foods. Some of them aren’t fed at home like at camp. 

Spending time with friends and making new ones is a good thing. When our staff spends time with the kids it encourages them and lets them know someone cares. Children NEED to be told and shown how important they are. At camp, they receive that. Life-long memories and friendships are forged at camp. 

Of course the greatest need of our lives is to understand God’s love for us and how we can be forgiven of our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. There’s no greater encouragement than to know the God of the universe cares for you enough to give His life and offer you eternal life. 

Our sickness policy is simple. If your child has a contagious sickness, don’t send them to camp. If they get sick while at camp, we have someone to take care of them who will be in touch with you about next steps. We trust you, the parents, to make the right decision. Your children are individuals and each person who gets sick at camp will be treated individually while in communication with you to make the best decision regarding their PERSONAL circumstance. 

Soap is always available for washing hands. We encourage hydration at appropriate times of the day. If it’s too hot we’ll take a break or go swimming. Cleaning is always done with bleach so we know the germs are dead. These are a few of the ways we help ensure safety and health while at camp. 

Camp is good for children and staff on so many levels. We are proud of the opportunity to serve those who spend time with us. Thank you for entrusting your most prized possessions to us for the week. 

Let’s Make A Deal 

In this game show, contestants play for a prize but then have the opportunity to win a bigger prize IF they select the right door or envelope. Sometimes ‘Door #3’ may be hiding a new car. Sometimes it’s a ‘ZONK.’ (You don’t want a ZONK. It’s usually something ridiculous like a pair of designer shoes…made of butter.) 

In January I received a call from a gentleman who helps lead one of our large retreat groups. He asked if we could use another van. I said yes, not knowing where this was leading. I thought he was about to offer me ‘a great deal’- a used van with low miles and well-maintained for some thousands of dollars. I was mentally preparing my rebuttal: “That sounds great but it’s not in the budget,” and so on. 

He said, “Well, I’m going to buy this one and donate it to you guys…if that’s okay.” Yep. That’s TOTALLY okay! I selected Door #3 and knew what was behind it. But was this guy serious? Was this a ZONK? I had no idea. I just waited to see what would happen. 

Months passed and nothing. Then I get a text: “Can I bring the van this week?” And sure enough, he brought the van and a backstory to go with it. It belonged to a friend’s church and knew it to be a good deal. He also knew we could use it. He shared with his wife what the Lord had laid on his heart and she agreed. After I told him yes, he committed to buying it but had to work overtime to do it. Once he worked enough to make it happen, he brought it up. He explained there’s no strings attached. We can use it for whatever we need and his group and we’re not obligated to loan it to his group. I could tell how happy he was to make this a reality for us. 

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” We are certainly blessed to receive this gift but this generous man is more blessed. There IS blessing in giving. The Lord teaches us to keep a loose grip on the things of this world. I mean, we can’t take it with us when we die anyway. Would you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what you may give to support the ministry of Cedar Lake Camp? With the current world situation, I assure you, there is a genuine need on our part. We would be so honored to receive your gifts but the greater blessing goes to you. 

Encouragement from Psalm 33

The Israelites were the nation God first chose to be His inheritance. Thankfully, it did not end there! The Apostle Paul explains in Romans how we, as Gentiles, are ‘grafted’ into the family of God like a wild olive tree is grafted into one that is cultivated. Through Jesus Christ, the promises of God are transferred to anyone who believes in Him on an individual basis. We can personally receive forgiveness, salvation from sin, and eternal life. 

But as a nation, the psalmist writes, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!… Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.” May we personally AND as a nation recognize Jesus Christ as the ultimate Ruler of our hearts, nation, and world. 

 

Behemoth 

The long wait is over- Behemoth is finally done! The finishing touches were applied last week- shower curtains, window curtains, and mirror were hung on the inside. Dirt work, grass seed and hay, fascia metal, and door for the crawl space were completed on the outside. The only thing remaining is to have a dedication ceremony and then get some kiddos in there!

 

A Letter from Board Member, John Strange

It was December 1989 and some of the summer staff had gathered for our annual “New Year’s Eve” reunion.  We did some inside work to prepare for the summer, conducted the real Polar Bear challenge in the lake, and, as always, enjoyed the company of our fellow camp laborers.  I returned home encouraged and excited about what the next summer would bring.  Less than 24 hours later, I received a call from a fellow staff member.  The reason for his call?  Sometime the previous night, a fire started in Deerfoot, the camp’s kitchen and dining hall, and burned it totally to the ground.  Though only a teenager, I understood the ramifications.

There was no kitchen.  No dining hall. Yet, summer was on the way.  Camper registrations would slowly begin to arrive within the month.  This was another critical moment for a place that had faced many before and has faced many since.  A plan was developed for the construction of a temporary kitchen and dining area.  It would take creativity, quick funding, and many volunteer hours, but by the time the first campers arrived in early June, the Pavilion was ready for service.  It would be pressed into service for three summers as a more permanent facility was built.  Today’s staff and campers enjoy the facility known as the Ruth Geiger Memorial Dining Hall.  The Lord was indeed gracious in his provision then as He continues to be to this day.

Cedar Lake is a place that from its beginning, was designed to come alongside people in the spiritual context of their lives. The primary manner for doing so is to introduce boys and girls to the good news of the Gospel through our summer camping ministry.  Every summer there are heavenly celebrations as boys and girls acknowledge a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Leading in this context requires a deep trust in God’s good and gracious provision.  In our humanity, we do not always know where this provision will come from, but we know that our God is trustworthy. 

 Nehemiah 1:3 says, “And they (Nehemiah’s brothers) said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”  The men and women who remained in Jerusalem were struggling physically and spiritually.  Nehemiah’s response upon hearing of the state of Jerusalem:

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the GREAT and AWESOME God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you.  Even I and my father’s house have sinned.

Ryan, Jared, Angela, board members, and staff are following Nehemiah’s example as we ask the Lord to be attentive to our prayers, for his listening ear and open eyes.  We are praying for the ability to be open for business as usual.  We are praying for the opportunity to minister to boys and girls on property.  We are praying for full camps.  We are praying for the opportunity to invest in the spiritual lives of our summer staff.  We are praying for the financial resources to weather this critical moment.  We are praying for retreats for this fall and next spring.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know that “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of POWER and LOVE and SELF-CONTROL (II Timothy 1:7).  I ask of you three things:

  1. Join us in praying for the requests listed above.  
  2. By whatever means you can be a positive answer to the requests above.  If you can influence decisions – influence them!  If you can promote camp or send a kid to camp – promote and send!  If you can give financially – give cheerfully!  If you can bring a retreat – we would love to host you and your group.
  3. Pray that we rightly discern the times and, no matter what the days ahead may bring, we exemplify the verse above.

Proverbs 16:3 reads, “Commit your work to the Lords, and your plans will be established.”  The sacred ground and work of Cedar Lake Camp have long been committed to the Lord.  In this time, we patiently, yet with eager anticipation, wait to see the plans the Lord establishes for this place, our staff, and our broader camp family.  May each of you continue to experience the abundant riches of His grace and mercy.

By the Shores,

John Strange

Chairman, CLC Board

Announcements

We are having an extra week of day camp!! This day camp will be on May 26-29. This extra week of day camp will be available for kids ages 5-10. Register here on our website!

Like other individuals and businesses, nonprofits are struggling financially. Would you consider giving in the participation of #GivingTuesdayNow. This is another Giving Tuesday Campaign to help nonprofits during this time of crisis. If you are willing to donate, click here!


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