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October 5, 2018

Hello Friends:

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,…” Philippians 1:27 - 2018 Theme

Please keep Camp Deerpark and our team in your prayers as we strive to be faithful.

What’s Going On at Camp Deerpark:

Two weeks ago on Friday afternoon and evening I experienced one of the most difficult days of hosting in many years.  A standard weekend here at camp includes two church groups and sometimes we are pleased to have a volunteer work group in the mix. Last weekend we hosted four groups.  Janice had everything planned out with meeting room space, lodging, and meal times.  It was all supposed to work on paper.  We even had Dick and Nancy Yoder ready and eager to jump in wherever needed.  As it turned out one group preferred to spread out a bit and meet in the chapel basement.  Our staff had not prepared for this curve ball so we quickly moved furniture, did some small repairs and extra cleaning (under the spot where the couches had been).  We knew that three groups wanted to prepare their own food on Friday night, but had not anticipated all of the kitchen equipment (knives, cutting board, pots, salt, ice, etc.) they would ask to borrow.  Just when it seemed that everything was under control and all guests were happy we learned that the bus driver had become completely stuck while turning around at Promise Woods.  The bus was trapped between a tree stump in the rear and an embankment in front.  Like you, I asked, “How?”  As Dick and I were approaching, his pastoring wisdom kicked in and he reminded me, “You may need to do some reflective listening here.”  Having just left fresh slice of tomato basil pizza I was not so much in the reflective listening mood, but Dick was exactly right.  Asking how and why was not going to be helpful.

Long and muddy story short.  With the help of Ben Cheek, the camp bulldozer, and some scrap pieces of wood; we were able to get the bus up and over the stump without any further damage to the bus.  About five minutes later the bus was easily turned around on the proper gravel turn around space and headed back to the city.  The women he had transported even made him a plate of food for the trip.

We still needed to deal with three churches sharing a less than sound proof chapel and double seating in the dining room, but somehow it always seems to work out.

Praise God With Us For:

  • Kevin, Talibah, and I had a very productive meeting last week in Virginia.  We have some bold plans for upgrading our summer camp program.  Please pray for Kevin has he works out the details over the next few weeks. 
  • It was a complete joy for Kevin and I to share a cookie skillet with Genesis, Marleyna, and Talibah.  All three are finishing up their education at Eastern Mennonite University this year and are seeking God for the next step in their lives. 
  • I know I have said this before, but I am always amazed at how God’s people get along here at camp.  As folks share the chapel building, the dining room, the playground, etc. it seems they turn potential conflicts into blessing.  Please keep praying that God will cover this place with Peace.

Please Pray For:

  • Pastor Centeno and the young adults from Evangelistic Missionary Movement who will be holding their annual retreat here at camp this weekend. 
  • The leaders from our New York City Mennonite Council of Churches who will be having an all day planning meeting here at camp on Saturday.
  • A volunteer crew from Mercersburg Mennonite will be here next week digging the foundation for cabin #2.
  • Grace Baptist Church who will have their retreat next weekend.
  • Miriam Johnson and her small group of friends who call themselves Seekers who will be in Promise Woods cabin #6 Comfort next weekend.  This is group of long time friends who get together every year for prayer and fellowship.  It is always a joy to host them.
  • The extended Neil and Jen Kuhns family who will be volunteering next weekend.
  • We continue to ask for your prayers for the October 24th Town of Deerpark Planning Board meeting.  We are hoping for final approval of our site plan amendments. 
  • We are still hoping to have the Promise Woods Program Center foundation in this fall.  However, our contingency time is pretty much used up and we need the weather and the town to work in our favor.
  • For some reason God has always blessed me with cars, both personally and here at camp.  I find myself again in a spot where I need a reliable car.  Our mechanic says that I have an unhealthy attachment to the 2002 Buick so I will let it expire at the end of October.  Please join me in praying that God will meet all of our needs.
  • We learned this week that the Mehr estate is not interested in separating the property and has declined our request to purchase the property without the house.  Please join our board in praying that a buyer is interested in the house and ten acres alone.

Thank you so much for your prayers for the children, youth, and families of New York City.


Ken Bontrager, Executive Director