You know when you are working on a project and think "if I only had the right tool this job it would be so much easier."
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Everyone who visits camp in the winter expects a snowy tube hill, thick ice for broomball, clean skates for ice skating, and groomed trails for cross country skiing.
Thanks to the hard work of staff and volunteers the new dorms are moving along nicely! Take a moment to look at the progress.
One guest looked around camp and saw one piece of equipment that didn't look so nice. Our friend, Al from Duluth Minnesota, was volunteering in maintenance and saw our broken down old tractor and said "I can help you with that."
More space for campers!
Many of you are aware The Fort area at camp has been under construction for several years. With some extra help this year we've been making some great progress. You can see, in the picture below, that the courtyard of the fort is nearly complete! We have hosted a few groups at the Fort over the years including CRU leadership who has enjoyed the setting that promotes serving one another.
One purpose we have for the Fort is to offer Pioneer Programs for groups hoping to grow in developing leadership through serving in a rustic setting. In September, we hosted a group that is starting a new Christian High School (Issac Newton Christian School) in Cedar Rapids Iowa. They refer to the first class of students as the Trail Blazing Class which was a great fit for the Fort Experience. Together, with the Fort experience we also provided sessions that connect the Christian Life with overcoming obstacles while pressing forward. Heb 12:1-3
The new 9th grade class of the new Issac Newton Christian School also enjoyed Creation and Adventure Programs, team building, cooking meals over the fire, learning to focus on the right target and enjoying some great fellowship together.
As a team adventure challenge they designed a plan for an imaginary 5 month journey in a 10 foot long wagon. This activity prompted decision making and consideration of what is truly necessary for a journey to a new land. This provided many analogies to our journey together as fellow believers.
A few of the students made some encouraging statements on their evaluations.
"Through spending time with my class, we grew closer together and to God."
One highlight was "learning about trailblazing and relating it to our school."
"I saw Christ working in my life."
A favorite was "learning about God's creation."
"It was fun using my spiritual gifts."
We look forward to seeing how God will use this unique resource at camp to impact His Kingdom!
You might remember the fun children's song, "The wise man built his house upon the rock." The moral of the song is to make sure you build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ because hard times "rain" is going to come.
At camp, that rain came down, literally. It came in 2008 and caused disaster at camp destroying roads, bridges and program areas. Just as the song predicts, the rains came down and the water came up...again!
On the night of Wednesday September 21st, 5 inches of rain fell on the already water soaked ground at camp. By 5 am the dry-wash was a torrent of rushing water. The water crested over the top of the concrete driving bridge. The waters washed away dirt and fill, exposing large rock and the foundation of the bridge. Thankfully the bridge stood strong! Just like the "house on the rock - Jesus!"
The flood continued down through the valley, spilling over the barriers around the ice rink and filling it with water. The water has since receded, but left behind a muddy mess. As the water exited camp, it tore across the tube hill, depositing rock and washing away soil.
All in all, the storm only caused superficial damage. The bridge, roads and most importantly, the campers in the valley were all safe. However, the clean up from this storm is going to take weeks, if not months, of work. Tim Hadley estimates that he will need a bobcat skid loader and a backhoe excavator, for at least two weeks, to fix the damage. If camp needs to rent these machines, it might cost more than $2,000!
We are looking for anyone who might have machinery available for camp to use, for a few weeks, to help with the clean up. Do you know of anyone that would be willing to assist camp in this way? If you are able to help in anyway, please contact Dennis Siler.
Many of you contacted us and said you were praying for camp during the storm. There is no doubt that the Lord had His hand of protection on His ministry that night. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
If you take a little stroll all the way down to the east end of the valley, and then north towards the Fort, you will likely notice a few very big changes. Yes, we are making headway in completing the fort’s courtyard and towers, but you would first notice the bridge. Or rather, the absence of one. Our regal, long bridge to cross the stream is gone! Where did it go? Well, it’s quite an interesting story.
Despite the fact that the bridge has been there as long as the younger generation can remember, the bridge had only been there about 16 years. And it might bring you further surprise to find out that it did not even belong to Living Waters. Who then, you might ask, did it actually belong to? The Snowmobile Club. Yes, years ago, the local Snowmobile Club asked permission to place a trail across camp’s property. And in order to do that, they would need a bridge. And they happened to have one (hiding in the sock drawer I’d imagine.) A very large benefit to the Club using the property in the winter, was that Camp got to use the bridge year-round, and not just for snowmobiles! So a deal was struck, the bridge was placed, and it immediately became a very convenient commodity for Living Waters.
Until the fateful day when the club changed their route. Well, actually, it was 6 years after they changed their route, that it was decided they needed the bridge for another stream-crossing elsewhere. The other bridge on their current route was in shambles. So with nostalgia in our hearts, we helped the snowmobile club folks remove the bridge all in one piece, and it was hauled away using a tractor with a flatbed trailer. And what then? Would we ever have a bridge that looked as nice as that one? Probably not. But the intelligent minds of Tim Hadley and Tim Dehnart (lovingly referred to as Tim2) joined forces and put together an impressive bridge design.
Members of the Snowmobile Club kindly gave us some parts from their old bridge which were still very much in good shape and useful – in fact essential – for us to build a new bridge. Two very large steel beams from the Club’s old bridge were cut into four pieces and used as support beams in our new bridge. Using also some repurposed decking materials and a little bit of new supplies, a crew of two full time staff and at least four Summer staff built the bridge in just over a week. (If only road construction could go that quickly, right?)
The task came with some challenges. The crew was working in a stream, after all, which got them all muddy and wet. Pouring the cement footer amongst flowing water was only the beginning of the difficulties of working in water. It took some foresight to get the cinderblock supports level and even, and we are very grateful to have three men who had experience laying block.
And the bridge looks very nice. Its strongest suit is the utilitarian aspect. It doesn’t have rails, so large loads, such as a hay wagon, can cross without worrying about being too wide. And the weight capacity is impressive. After completion, we drove ten tons of weight over the bridge without a hiccup. So who knows how much weight the bridge can handle! But believe it or not, that is not the most impressive thing about the bridge project. What is to be most appreciated about the bridge, to be sure, is the colossal teamwork and planning that went on between the three experienced builders heading up the project. It is not every day that you can see three different people come together to make a project happen so quickly and with no arguments. It brings to mind this verse, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” Romans 12:18
God Provides: Unexpected Blessings
Spring is here! Winter has finally gotten the hint and left us for good! Well, at least until November, that is…
Spring means lots of changes and transitions for Living Waters staff too. Lots of preparations are being made for another busy summer of ministry. One of the many planned projects this Spring was remodeling the Rec-room.
A small planned upgrade to the Rec Room grew into a major project when customized industrial windows were donated to camp! We received a phone call from a friend of camp who works for a window company. He said that his company had fourteen windows available to donate to camp if camp could use the extra large windows. How could we turn that down? The old windows in the Rec Room were far from airtight; they had plastic covering them year-round just to keep the kids from blowing away.
God provided the tremendous, unexpected blessing of the giant 9’x5’ windows for the Rec Room. Each window weighs about 350lbs. They were so large that the remodeling crew (camp staff and volunteers) had to shore-up supports in the wall to hold them up!
The Rec-room remodel also included industrial carpeting lines the upper half of the walls (professionally installed by a volunteer), and fancy accent lighting was added along the windows. The fluorescent lighting on the ceiling has been replaced, and the entire ceiling repainted.
If you walk into the Rec Room now, the huge windows and well-lit atmosphere almost makes you feel like you’re standing outside! You can enjoy and observe nature and all the camp activities from the comfort of our cozy and warm building.
God sure knows how to take care of us. We make plans, and think they’re pretty good. But when we allow God to take the lead, He shows us just how awesome His plans are for us. And they are always better than we could have ever imagined.
Watch a time-laps video of the project.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11