Lately, life seems to be more fast paced than normal. This past September, Dan, and many others, began to work on the staff house that would become our new home.
God faithfully brought us through Winter Retreats. We even had snow most weekends. In fact, until a few weeks ago, we still had snow piles in our yard.
Here’s a little peek at some statistics for this past winter:
We had a grand total of 2,727 paying guests this winter (in nine weekends).
Both these numbers (total and teen) are the third highest numbers in the last ten years and are almost exactly the same as last year.
Dan played guitar for Chapel during three of the weekends which he greatly enjoys.
The program staff make a video for each high school retreat. This video link is from the weekend that our sending church, Five Points, attended. If you watch this on a hot day, it will cool you down!
We finally moved into our “new” house February 14th. We are grateful that God would provide a home with more space for us. Dan has spent many work and non-work hours so that we could live here. I am incredibly grateful for the time and ability God has given him to do this for our family and hopefully many families who will live in this house after us.
Nothing we have is ours. Lately, I have felt this strongly because our home belongs to Barakel and ultimately to God. We are thankful to God for providing through Camp Barakel.
Here at the house, we still have pictures to hang on the walls, but the boxes are put away and all of the major projects are done. My mom and dad came up several weekends before our move to help clean, organize and watch our boys. They were a huge help and saved me great emotional and physical distress. My mom, while we were on our hands and knees scrubbing floors, pointed out that Dan and I have moved for every baby so far and that it would be okay if we didn’t do it again if we have more kids.
Bruce and Kris Schedlbauer joined us in the fall as Resident Missionary staff. They are running the East Side kitchen and have moved into our “old” house near the entrance of Barakel. Bruce will also be a big help in the main office. It has been such a grace to have them join us and a reminder of God’s perfect timing. The Propers have overseen that kitchen since 2000, but have stepped down due to health issues. Dave and Betsy just recently moved back down to Clarkston and will be involved in ministries at Five Points Church.
The months of March and April are significant here because big construction projects are done. On March 5th, we began demolition on the floor in the East Side Dining Hall. Everything was torn down to the joists in the main dining area, kitchen and dish-room. Being the resident “tile guy”, I spent 5 weeks laying 18×18” tiles with the help of Brad Smith, a Seasonal Staff guy, and a weekend volunteer group (time lapse video http://vimeo.com/61357619 ). The other regulars on the Dining Hall job were Mike Baker, Mike Alchin, and Wayne, a full-time local volunteer that was born somewhere during FDR’s presidential term, but stays busier than most of us. I’m thankful that we have such a great crew of Maintenance Staff guys that complement one another so well. It becomes more apparent when we work side by side as we have on this job. It was close, but we just put the finishing touches on it in time for a Mens Retreat this weekend.
(Sarah writing again)
As a staff, we have spent much time thoroughly cleaning our buildings and preparing for summer. Please be in prayer that God would work in hearts to fill our need for guy counselors, nurses, lifeguards and more campers.
As you probably know, our newest son, Jonah Benjamin, was born on April 30th. We are thankful that we were able to make the 105 miles and 2 hour drive to the hospital in Saginaw and that I was able to have another successful VBAC, which was a big answer to prayer. Jonah isn’t very exciting yet, mostly eating and sleeping. His brothers think it’s great that he can hold their fingers and they enjoy talking to him in a high-pitched baby voice. We are grateful to have another healthy son. Our prayer, as with the other sons, is that he would follow Christ and live a life for Him. Please pray with us to this end.
We are thankful for your support of us as we continue in this ministry at Camp Barakel. This spring we look outdoors to see the new life around us, we hold in our arms a new life before us and we continue to look to Christ alone for life eternal.
In Him through Christian Camping,
Sarah for Dan and the boys