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February 9, 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:

This morning I was reading in John where Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast.  In the first chapter of John we read deep theological truths, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”  Then in chapter two Jesus turns water into wine as his first miracle.

Yesterday I received a visit from Pastor Jorge who is looking for a retreat center for their church.  The conversation was moving into the direction of amenities.  If you have ever been to Camp Deerpark you know we are short on amenities.  If water slides, soft beds, fancy lounges, and large gift shops are important to folks we generally send them elsewhere.  To get the conversation back on track (the pastor booking a church retreat at Camp Deerpark) I asked, “Why all the interest in the details that have little to do with God’s work in their lives?”  The pastor informed me that they do four different retreats.  Three are focused on new believer’s discipleship and leadership training.  The fourth, however, was for the purpose of bringing seekers and new folks into the Kingdom.  He said, “We don’t care about food and beds for the church members, but we want everything to be perfect for those coming to church for the first time.  We talked about Romans 2:4 that says, “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”  We agreed that the Camp Deerpark staff would partner with their church and effectively serve as their greeters.  Perhaps Jesus was making a powerful statement about the importance of hospitality when he performed his first miracle.  When we give special care to a young woman with gluten allergies or help a church prepare a banquet feast for a man who slept on the street earlier in the week, we are showing God’s kindness.  Maybe we aren’t fancy, but we can certainly be loving and show Christ like hospitality.  The visit with the pastor and his wife Yessi went longer than I expected and well past my lunch time.  Yessi had brought a few extra homemade Guatemalan tamales and shared one with me.  In the end I was blessed by their hospitality.  Please keep our staff in your prayers as we continue to partner with local churches to show Gods kindness through hospitality.  Full disclosure: I was too hungry to take a picture so I grabbed this photo off the internet. 

Praise God With Us For:

  • Last week several of our staff were able to attend the Christian Camp and Conference Association’s regional conference.  I am a big fan of professional conferences. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  I have found that spending a little time sharpening the axe is always time well spent.  I am especially grateful for the many long time friends that I have made in the Christian Camping community. I often learn more from the time between sessions. 
  • The snow held off, and the equipment held up long enough for Ben Cheek and his crew of Leonard Mow and Gideon Bontrager to get all of the logs in from the north side of the property.  When the weather breaks again they will begin bringing in logs from the south side, which will give them enough to wood for the next cabin in line.
  • I am grateful for Sean and Jason taking care of all of the snow removal this week. 

Please Pray For:

  • Due to recent weather conditions camp is very icy this week.  Please keep our safety in your prayers.
  • Mike Candy and the youth from Fellowship Community Church.  Mike informed us that their number is much higher than expected and they will be bringing 80 instead of 50.  Please pray for safety during all of the winter travel and activities.  Also pray for our staff as we stretch to host more than expected.
  • The Camp Deerpark board will be meeting on Saturday.  The agenda will include a discussion on the Mehr property as well as annual evaluations.
  • The Christian Veterinary Mission Vets and students who will be retreating here at camp next weekend.
  • Jaesang Kim and a small group from Suneui Church of NY in Flushing who will be retreating in Promise Woods next weekend.
  • Ben Cheek and I will be meeting with Dale Yoder at Cornerstone Design to go over final design changes on the Promise Woods Program Center.  Pray for wisdom and clear communication.
  • Camper registration is open.  Pray for Kevin as he works with parents to register their children for next summer.
  • We have recently learned that Angel Tree has changed their summer camper program making the process a bit smoother for camps.  We will once again attempt to work with Angel Tree.  Pray that God will open the doors for more children to attend camp.

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


Ken Bontrager, Executive Director