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August 11, 2017
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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:

The Camp Deerpark board of directors is in the process of reading through Edgar Stoesz’s book, “Doing Good Better” for the third time. (Ironically we are reading the third edition)  Out of the latest book discussion came a renewed awareness for the board to express their appreciation to the camp staff.  On August 5 the board hosted a mid day bar-b-que at the Freedom Farm Community.  For nearly fifteen years the Freedom Farm has been partnering with Camp Deerpark to provide training for our summer  staff, a quite place of retreat for me, educational opportunities for our campers, a productive service experience for young adults leadership programs, fresh produce for our guests every Friday, and (maybe the most important) great friendship.  Therefore, when we were thinking about a board and staff event in a meaningful setting the Freedom Farm was the first and only place we considered.  The photo below was taken by Ben Rader, one of the founders of the Freedom Farm.  Ben has just ended a nine year term of service on the Camp Deerpark board (“Doing Good Better” is also a proponent of term limits).  It is hard to communicate in one photo the atmosphere of summer staff, full time staff, and board members spending a relaxing afternoon together playing games, having intense conversations, and eating watermelon surrounded by an organic vegetable garden and wildflowers.  It was one of those magical Camp Deerpark moments that was much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Praise God With Us For:

  • The hard work of Kevin and Danica Lefever for doing the lion’s share of the heavy lifting to make the staff appreciation day happen. 
  • Bethany Kurtz who has returned to the Bruderhof after spending a year serving at Camp Deerpark.  The August 5 event was also her going away party. (you may remember from earlier editions of Kneemail that Bethany spent June and July loving children at an orphanage in Manila.)
  • Today the teen camp youth will be returning to the city.  We are grateful for all of the summer staff who created a summer the children will never forget.
  • For years there has been a teen camp tradition of a Thursday night staff v. campers basketball game.  Thanks to Micah for serving as the on court referee; Jordan Stevens for serving as the DJ and MC.  Check out facebook for more photos.  The game was especially fun this year with the newly expanded court.  I am happy to report that with a margin of three points the staff’s undefeated record is still safe.
  • It was a thrill to host Joy Fellowship this past weekend.  The Benders, Bryon Brenneman, and the folks at Joy Fellowship played a big role in my spiritual development as a young man in the Bronx.

Please Pray For:

  • Light of the World church who will be retreating here at camp this weekend.  (The folks from Light of the World are predominately from Brazil and will be doing their own food service.  I am looking forward to eating some Brazilian style bar-b-que.)
  • We will be submitting a grant proposal for the Promise Woods Program Center to the Hyde Watson Foundation this week.  Pray that God will show us favor.
  • Next week camp will be hosting family camp and our LEAD program at the same time.  Kevin will give leadership to family camp and I will be working with the young adults around the theme of “Trust”.
  • The young adults who served on summer staff as they transition back to school, and work.  Several have a variety of details to work out over the next few weeks.  Pray especially that God will make their next steps clear.  As a young adult I remember my father tearing up every time I ended an Iowa visit.  I now know that feeling with my own children and for about three weeks every August as I say good-bye to the summer staff. 

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


Ken Bontrager

Executive Director