Friday, December 23, 2016

They Are New Every Morning...

Lamentations 3:22-23 - "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."


I was blessed to see this sunrise earlier in the week and was reminded of God's faithfulness here at Camp Evergreen.  God has been faithful in our staff home build and in the many other projects we were able to complete this year.  However, most importantly, God has been faithful in transforming many, many lives.


One of our young staff members said the following this past summer, "I want to live a more God centred lifestyle at home.  I want to be prepared to witness to my classmates, to get connected with my church and keep up with my daily devotions."  Seeing first hand the growth in our staff and campers lives never gets old.  As a staff we count it a privilege to have a small part in seeing lives transformed by the power of Jesus.


If I were to use one word to describe this past week it would be - volunteers!  Who knew we could get so many volunteers just before Christmas!



















Joel, Christoph, Jewdy, Katrina and Laurence joined us for the first time.  Ethan, Richard, Walt, Barry and Brian returned for at least a second time!  How cool is that!  (very cool)  We've now had two brothers (Laurence and Richard) and a nephew (Ethan) join us.  Ethan - one of our summer campers - was helping us sheet the roof by cutting plywood.  (remember sheeting is a good thing, not a prank in building talk)  Laurence is one of our Alberta Conference pastors and could easily moonlight with a chop saw - he was that good!



Barry was back this week to "bury" the electrical cable which allowed Rolf to work his backfill magic.  Christoph and Jewdy, two of our former "Germans" are here on a holiday and made their way over to help.  Thank you very much.


From my "un-builder" eyes it looks like the first house is getting very close to being framed.  The garage walls went up yesterday and the trusses are going up today.  I'm excited to see how many lives will be transformed through the ministry that will happen in these homes.


As a staff we are looking forward to reaching higher in 2017 and I'm personally very excited to see what God's faithfulness will bring in the new year.

Thanks very much for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director




Friday, December 16, 2016

A cord of three strands...

It all started with a plan 53 years ago.


The plan needed a road.  Thanks Linden MB for your part in the original road!


Every good plan needs a foundation.


Camp Evergreens foundation always has, and always will be Jesus Christ.  

The construction that we see at Evergreen today is really nothing new.   We've had framers and roofers and cabinet makers before.  We've laid carpet and lino and concrete.  We've built a lodge and a barn.  We've built cabins and an archery range.  We've built the Welcome Centre, Moose Junction and Fallen Timber Landing.  As I write this weeks blog, I'm reminded that there are three common threads that started back in 1963 and continue today.

 
The first common thread is that everything we do is to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus.  That is why we started Evergreen in 1963 and that is why we continue today.  I can't even imagine how many pages a book would have to have if we were to start writing down every story of individuals who had their lives changed at Camp Evergreen.  God has been good, God is currently good and God will continue to be good as we enter 2017 in just a few days.


The second common thread is that Camp Evergreen has always had a strong community of volunteers.  Our staff homes would not be where they are today had it not been for volunteers.  Our summer ministry would not have seen the success we did without volunteers.  Our first road into camp, the first dining hall, the original cabins would not have been built, had it not been for volunteers.  Camp Evergreen has seen first hand over the years, that there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.



















The third common thread is the generous financial support we have received over the years.  Camp Evergreen would not be in the strong financial position it is today without the generous support of many individuals and churches.  Ecclesiastes 4:12, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  I strongly believe that Evergreen always needs to be dependant on the sovereignty of God and our "Tribe of Camp Evergreeners". 

Volunteers from Calgary and Gem continued to join us this week as most of the trusses are now up.  The garage walls have been built and are waiting to be stood up.  We have volunteers lined up next week and are now looking for help in the new year.




We've been hard at work reaching higher with preparation for Pond Hockey this week.  The Quadboni is fired up, and you should check out our new goals!  Mark January 14 in BIG RED letters on your calendar.  You don't have to play hockey to come, just dress warm!


Thanks for your continued support as we look to finish the year strong.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reaching Higher Times Three

Reaching Higher pulled us three ways this week.  First - Last weekend Camp Evergreen hosted the directors from seven of our eleven Canadian MB Camps.  Camps from B.C. (Camp Likely and Gardom Lake Bible Camp), Alberta (Camp Evergreen), Saskatchewan (Redberry Bible Camp and West Bank Bible Camp), Manitoba (Simonhouse Bible Camp), and Ontario (Camp Crossroads) joined us for two days.  Three more camps from B.C. (Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre - Camp Bob - Pines Bible Camp) and our Quebec camp (Camp Peniel) were dearly missed.  How many of you knew we even had eleven camps?

Ron Toews the Canadian Interim Executive Director led us as we shared together, encouraged each other and prayed for each other.  Paul Loewen our own Alberta Conference Pastor shared Sunday morning about the call we have as camps and how powerful camps and churches can be for God's Kingdom as we work together.  It was a good reminder that we are not alone and that we need each other.

 

Second - As a permanent staff we were blessed with the opportunity to join 200 other camp staff from across Canada at the Christian Camping International Canada conference in Banff.  The conference ran from Monday night until Thursday morning.  For me personally it seemed that some of the things we talked about as MB camp directors on the weekend were hammered home.  Am I praying enough for our camp?  Am I leading camp from my own strength?  Most days my "to do" list is long and I'm anxious to get going.  I need to take the time to hear from God each morning.  The theme verse was Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,”.  It was a good reminder that we serve a great God as we continue to move forward as a camp. 
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Third - In spite of super cold temperatures, our house build continued to progress this week.  One morning we woke up to -36!  The exterior and interior walls are up and we will start with the trusses next week.  Remember my quote from last blog?  "There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer."  Walt Loewen stayed through the whole week in spite of the cold!  The guys even had to leave the Zoom Boom running all night to ensure they could use it the next morning.  Looks like we have a good volunteer group lined up again next week.

 

 

Thanks for your continued support as we work together to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus!

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director


 


Friday, December 2, 2016

There's Nothing Stronger Than The Heart Of A Volunteer!

I'm reminded this week of a James Doolittle quote, "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer."  Volunteers are the backbone of Camp Evergreen.  We simply could not achieve the level of ministry that we do without the countless hours of individual volunteers.  Often words don't feel adequate, but thank you very much!



It would have been nice to have our home build volunteers come at the beginning of November when the temperatures were well above freezing.  Next week the forecast is for well below freezing!  Alvin, Peter and Don showed up Thursday morning in spite of the snow, and were hard at work laying down the plywood for the floor.  They call it sheeting - I immediately thought of a prank Lawrence and I did once at camp in Texas...  The guys even had the leaf blower out blowing snow!



















Kevin (second time this week), Kurt and Barry joined us Friday morning.  Barry was giving us a little extra power by hooking up the construction panel.  We have volunteers lined up all next week (in spite of the forecast) but still need more the following week (Dec 12-16) in order to take the homes to lock up.  Please contact camp for more information.


Its been a busy week here on the house build with our framers starting first thing Monday morning.  I was very excited when the first part of the first beam went up!  As our two lead framers are Scott and Brian, I was tempted to say something about "beam me up Scotty" - but I stopped myself just in time.  Scott and Brian are great to work with.


The gas line went in Wednesday and one of my highlights this week was watching the "concert" between Rolf in his Cat and Kevin in his Skid Steer.  Rolf was pushing back fill forward from the huge pile so Kevin could place it in the garage.




Craig and Jordan were here on Thursday, this time putting in window wells.  Craig looks like he's having as much fun with a hammer drill as he has in the mini excavator!


Remember the horses from two blogs ago?  As we continue grow, our current capacity is not only being stretched in buildings, but in our program as well.  Let me introduce you to Zanza (age 5) on the left and Pacha (age 6) on the right.  These are friendly Fjords, who according to the wranglers are just a little bit lazy!



And for those of you wondering if it snowed here at camp...it has!  I always like how the first snow falls make things very peaceful here at camp.



Thanks again for your support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, November 25, 2016

Help!

Well it's been a busy week - again.  First there was not much action on the new homes and now the action doesn't stop!  There wasn't a lot of physical work on our homes this week, but the framing material - including the roof trusses - were dropped off by Star Building.  We now have building material spread all over camp.  Well not quite all over camp, but the trusses are currently in the parking lot.  When you're coming to camp to test out the new coffee (hot chocolate) mugs keep an eye out for those trusses.



The county came and inspected the foundations this week and...we passed!  I was one of those kids in school who never knew if they were passing to the next grade until the last day of class.  To this day when I hear "you passed" I get excited!

Rolf started a "slight" back fill in the garage area so that our framers don't have to jump over or climb through the ditch.  Rolf then started trenching for the gas lines with some sort of gizmo on the front of the skid steer.  Because the ground is so slippery he will need to finish in Craig's baby excavator.


Framing.  What about that framing?  Well let me tell you we are getting close to a plan.  As with most things at camp we like to do things last minute.  Well, we may not like to do things last minute, but oh my goodness, if I had a nickel for every time we did things last minute...

It looks like framing will start on Monday.  (you read that correctly, Monday)  We will need a couple of days to get our feet on the ground (in the mud) and then we will need some help.  If the following terms make sense to you, we REALLY need you.  Double top plate.  Header (not talking soccer).  Trimmer.  Joist.  If you are like me and you had to look those terms up, the good news is we need you as well!

There are boards to move and things to sweep and stuff to clean up.  According to Craig (seen below) we still have to know the difference between a 2 x 4 and a 2 x 6.  So break out your mothers sewing kit, grab that tape measure that you used to get in trouble using as a kid and learn the difference between the two.  Speaking of Craig, we would like to send a huge shout out to Kingsmith Homes for their incredible support so far.


As we have more information we will let you know.  It looks like we will be working with smaller groups (2-3) of volunteers for a longer period of time.  Initially we were thinking one big framing party on a weekend.  If you would like to help please call camp for more information. 

Thanks again for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker - making that cup of hot chocolate last!
Executive Director

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Weather Has Turned...

We all knew that the great weather couldn't last forever.  However on the bright side (and it is a bright and sunny day today) we have started flooding the ice rinks for our upcoming Pond Hockey Tournament - January 14th.  In spite of the cooler weather we did pour the walls on house number two. 


Once the walls were exposed Craig and Jordan marked the line for foundation spray which arrived in the afternoon.  We (you have to know when I use the word "we" its always very loosely) also trenched in conduit for electrical.

I personally remember the old days of putting some sort of tar on the foundation walls with a paint brush.  It was a lot of work and most of the tar ended up on my clothes.  This foundation spray is much quicker and much better.  It has a rubber content that expands if the walls crack.  With the high water table at camp this is a much needed and very comforting step.



video

What about the framing party people are asking?  Well to be honest the phone is not ringing off the hook with inquiries, but we are still working out the details and will let you know as soon as we know.  As with most camp projects things are never simple.  But don't put your hammer away just yet!


As much as we like to celebrate larger things (we have two new horses which we will introduce you to shortly) we also like to celebrate small things.  Brand new cups!  We are reaching higher with new cups for the dining hall.  If you were at our Family Camp this summer, the weather called for a lot of hot chocolate and it was very difficult to keep enough cups available.  Not only do these new cups look great, they are great for hot chocolate and in a pinch root beer (speaking from experience of course!)  We will also be able to serve more campers and guests as we continue to grow.  If you were waiting for an excuse to stop by camp, this is what you were waiting for!  Stop by for some hot chocolate and I'll show you the progress around camp.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director