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Knee-Mail

"Kneemail" is a regular email from Ken Bontrager, Executive Director at Camp Deerpark. You can sign up to receive Kneemail in your inbox by joining our email list! Sign up here 

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October 13, 2017

Hello Friends,

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful..I Peter 5:6-8.  

Thank you for caring about Camp Deerpark and casting those cares at the throne of God.   

What’s Going On at Camp Deerpark:

On Thursday Camp Deerpark had a very special treat when Don Gunden and Paul Hummel stopped in to check in on the work crew from Akron Mennonite.  Don was one of the men representing Atlantic Coast Conference who scouted out the Brandt’s Pleasant View property several months before Camp Deerpark was purchased.  Through the years Don was responsible for bringing many volunteers (while there are no exact record, the volunteer numbers are certainly in the hundreds) to camp for construction projects.  In typical Don Gunden fashion he brought snacks for everyone.  We were also thrilled to have Edgar Stoesz at camp on Thursday.  Both Edgar and Don attend Akron Mennonite Church, but neither was aware the other would be at camp this week.  Edgar has been a long time friend of Camp Deerpark.  The camp board is in the process of reading, for the third time, “Doing Good Better”, which is Edgar’s book on how to be an effective board member of a non-profit organization.  I have personally found both Edgar and Don to be a wealth of wisdom and encouragement.  It was an honor to have both of them at Camp Deerpark this week.  

Praise God With Us For:

  • A great weekend with the youth and adults from Evangelistic Missionary Movement.  On Sunday afternoon Kevin and I had the opportunity to lead the group through the Challenge Trail.  I love when the group is able to return home with lessons learned during a Challenge Trail element.  
  • The crew from Akron Mennonite who spent the week framing Promise Woods cabin #1 (the sixth cabin to be constructed).
  • Jay and Jason Kreider from Living Light Mennonite Church who are working at camp this weekend. 
  • Edgar, Randy, Helen, and Conner Stoesz who stopped at camp for an overnight and managed to work for an afternoon and morning.
  • The crew from Erisman Mennonite who are replacing the porch floor on Spruce Lodge.  This is the project that was scheduled to be completed in June but was postponed when the material supplier (to be left unnamed) lost our order.

Please Pray For:

  • Over the past few weeks we have hit a financial pinch with steady expenses and several weekends with lower income.  If you are receiving Kneemail you also received an email from me last night asking for financial support.  Please pray that God will provide all of our financial needs here at camp.  We have been tremendously blessed here at Camp Deerpark this year and I am hesitant to raise the issue of funds.  However, we also need to pay the bills.  Thanks for your prayers on that.
  • The New York City Lancaster Conference church leaders will be at Camp Deerpark this evening and tomorrow.  Pray for that gathering.  It has been a long time struggle to find the conference leadership structure that works best for our NYC churches and Camp Deerpark is honored to be part of this process.
  • The women from Evangelical Garifuna Manhattan who will be retreating here this weekend. 
  • The crew from Erisman Mennonite who are replacing the front porch this weekend.
  • The Port Jervis Middle School Wood Shop class who will be here at camp for a Forestry Stewardship field trip on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

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

Blessings,

Ken Bontrager

Executive Director

 
September 29, 2017

Hello Friends,

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful..I Peter 5:6-8.  

Thank you for caring about Camp Deerpark and casting those cares at the throne of God.   

What’s Going On at Camp Deerpark:

Magical: beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life.

Based on the above definition we are privileged here at camp through the course of the year to experience some magical events.  The pastors retreat on September 15-17 was such a weekend.  With forty one adults and fifteen children (including three babies under four months) this was our largest pastor retreat to date.  At the beginning of our first session (see photo) John and Irene Smucker shared that they retired nine years ago from full time ministry in New York City.  When they moved to Pennsylvania they committed themselves to pray for the churches and pastors in NYC.  With his voice choking up John said, “I feel like I know all of you personally, I have been praying for you for nine years.”  John and Irene set a tone of love and mutual care that carried throughout the entire weekend.  We ended our afternoon session in small groups lifting each other in prayer.  While the adults were in sessions the children were riding mountain bikes, hiking the trails, and building piles of leaves to jump in.  On Saturday night around a campfire  Pastor Joshua Martinez played guitar as we sang and worshiped together.  Someone would lead out a song and Joshua would find the key and play along.  We sang in Spanish, English, and Garifuna.  We sang modern worship songs and old time Sunday School songs.  It was fun and worship all in one.  Pastor Veras approached me on Saturday afternoon, ”There is no way I could put a price tag on how valuable this day is to me.  Listening to the wisdom of Pastor Smucker, having a time of silence, enjoying the beauty of nature; this is so important to me.”  On Sunday morning everyone was rested, but not quite ready to leave.  There were hugs and more prayers of blessing and the magical weekend came to an end.  If you would like to join John and Irene in praying for these New York City leaders please reply to this email and I will send you more specific information.

Praise God With Us For:

  • A great homecoming weekend and auction.  With the total proceeds from the day totaling $8,279 it is our largest homecoming to date.
  • On September 15, my nephew Micah Gingerich moved on to the next phase of his life.  Micah moved into our house the summer after he graduated from high school more than six years ago.  He was a volunteer fireman and EMT with the Cuddebackville Fire Department.  He completed nurses training at Orange County Community College.  He volunteered many hours as a lifeguard at camp and most recently he served as our summer camp nurse.  He has been a tremendous blessing to our family and to Camp Deerpark.  We will miss him.  Pray for Micah that he is able to find meaningful work and a supportive church in Florida.
  • Braley Veras who stepped in at the last minute and did a great job of translating for the pastors retreat.
  • The Forestry Stewardship Team who spent last weekend working in the woods at Camp Deerpark to establish permanent inventory transects.  Thanks to their work the Camp Deerpark forest is healthy, growing faster than ever, and providing wood for the Promise Woods cabins.

Please Pray For:

  • We have been praying our friends in Puerto Rico and especially Rey and Annie Pacheco and the other members of the Torres family.  We received an initial report from Andy that everyone in the family is safe, but please continue to keep them in your prayers.
  • Pastor Brad Canning and the Church of Park Slope, The women of Living Word Christian Church who will both be retreating here at camp this weekend.  Also the Kuhns family and friends who will be working on a variety of projects including plumbing and heating in Promise Woods cabin #4. 
  • Pastor Centeno and the young adults from Evangelistic Missionary Movement and the Crotona Church of God Spiritual Warfare group who will be here on Columbus Day weekend.
  • A group of construction workers from Akron Mennonite will be here at camp framing the next Promise Woods cabin October 9-11.  Pray for their safety.  Getting those large beams in place is no small task.
  • Please pray that God will send the folks to fill the positions of: Construction Assistant, Maintenance Assistant, Communications Coordinator, and Hosting Assistant.  We have housing, meaningful work, and a caring community ready to host young adults who are looking to grow in their relationship with God and expand their world view. 

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

Blessings,

Ken Bontrager

Executive Director