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Sept 13, 2019

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:

If you were not here at Camp Deerpark last weekend I am sorry.  If you did attend the 50th Anniversary celebration you know that words will not be able to describe the scene.  I will do my best.  First, praise God we met our fund raising goal.  At about 4:30 PM our board chair, Krista LaRuffa announced that we had raised $31,697, which meant the entire $25,000 challenge was met and surpassed making the total raised $56,697.  Thank you to everyone who sent gifts in advance, purchased shoo fly pies for $400 or $5 to take a photo of the former directors, donated auction items, and gave generously.  May God be glorified in your gift.

The weekend started with all of the former camp directors gathering at the Bontrager home for dinner on Friday night.  We laughed and we cried.  We shared our highlights and our disappointments.  Gratefulness was a common theme. 

Photo below includes the summer staff of 2019 along with everyone who came to camp in 1969.

Saturday activities included an historic slide show in the chapel Sun Room, a display of t-shirts and artifacts in the chapel, a counselor hunt for children, the water relay race, and tours of the Promise Woods Program Center under construction.  Of course we had all of the regular Homecoming activities: auction, hayrides, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, face painting, swimming, and great food.  On Saturday afternoon Lanny Millette and Daniel Angustia organized the former summer staff into decade clusters.  Then at 3:30 under the tent each decade shared a story and a song that represented their time at camp.  The staff from the 90’s joined the staff from the 2000’s creating super cluster.  They were having such a good time together they lost track of time.

For those who had called well in advance to reserve a room the weekend ended on Sunday morning with worship in the chapel.  Jim Baer led our singing, Miriam Cruz invited us to share our stories of how camp is our spiritual home, and Dale Stoltzfus shared a Biblical reflection from Psalm 100.  Dale ended his reflection with the lyrics from a 150 year old Sunday School song:     


I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;

And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it,

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;

All things are mine since I am His—

How can I keep from singing?

Praise God With Us For:

  • An amazing 50th Anniversary celebration.  Words come up short to describe the weekend.
  • Laura Burkholder who as agreed to continue as a volunteer host through the fall.  Sean and Ben have agreed to team up to put the final touches on the motel #1 renovations so that Laura will have a dedicated place to stay while she is here.
  • We continue to move forward with the Mehr property purchase.  Thanks so much for your prayers on that.  We have a few things to work out with the 480-a forestry tax abatement program, but nothing that will keep us from moving forward.  Please keep this in your prayers.
  • Surpassing our fund raising goal for the 50th Anniversary.  It is as though God honored the prayer that we were afraid to pray.
  • All of the great volunteers who helped make the 50th Anniversary celebration possible.  I am going to attempt a list here, but apologize in advance if I forgot anyone.  Bontrager family members: Norman and Ruth Ann Bontrager, Jim, Sandy, and Erica Gingerich, Allison Yoder, Malachi and Rachel Springer/Bontrager, Deborah Bontrager, and Andrea Zimmerman; Board members: Marcia Stoesz, Krista LaRuffa, Daniel Angustia, Grace Smith, Victor Mendez, Luke Berg, Lanny and Debbie Millette, and Carmen Benedith; Youth and adults from Evangelical Garifuna Manhattan; Dio and Anna Arauz, Zonidia, Wilson, Miguel, Julian, Joseph, Jayden, and Kayla; former summer staff: Erick Alvarado, Ashley Marin, Tiara Downer, Kahdijah Davis , Naiomie Mitchel, Winona Holderbaum, and Dom Lagano; Smith Brothers: Paul and Joyse Smith, Clyde and Kayla Smith, and uncle Jesse Williams; Samara Waldner and Nora Papas from Bellvale Bruderhof Community; Staff family: Scott Reichert, Frank Freeman, and Amina Ndiaye; Friends: Isaac and Barb Grable, Lowell and Ruth Jantiz, Jerry and Leonor Kennell; and of course our great crew of staff and volunteers.

Please Pray For:

  • The pastors weekend will be begin in a few hours.  We are doing things a bit different this year.  Instead of a speaker we will be doing a variety of activities together including hiking, small group conversations, and an art project.
  • Next weekend is very full
  1. Carlisle Builders will be bringing 28 volunteers along with food service volunteers from Wednesday through Saturday to work on the Program Center.
  2. Long Meadow Chapel women
  3. United Revival Women
  4. By His Grace Fellowship Women
  • We have several close friends who are experiencing some pretty serious health issues.  I would rather not mention names, but please keep them in your prayers.
  • Please keep our Kevin and me, as well as our board, in your prayers as we move into the fall fund raising season.  Everything completed on the Program Center has been paid for, but we have much work to do and more funds are needed. 

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


Ken Bontrager, Executive Director