Our Sparks camp is well under way and we have about 2.5 weeks left in our summer camp ministry. Saturday August 12, our former board chair Andrew Baerg will be riding 1,600 km throughout Alberta raising awareness for Reaching Higher. Andrew is our guest blogger this week and shares the following.
I grew up attending Lendrum MB church in Edmonton. Towards the end of my grade 12 year I was baptized and asked the church to send me to work at Camp Evergreen for the summer. Thankfully they did! And it has turned into a much bigger commitment than just that summer as I went on to serve as chair of the board for the past 8 years.
I am taking a year off from the camp board and one of the things I am doing during this time is embarking on a bike tour of Alberta MB church communities to raise awareness and support for the plans to build a new lodge and expand the camp ministry. Over 2 weeks in August I will be riding 1,600 kms around central and southern Alberta, visiting 18 MB church communities. I will be "Mennoniting" my way, staying at peoples homes and asking them to feed me, hopefully with a BBQ pot-luck the whole community can take part in!
I have been asked why on earth would I ride my bike 1,600 kms across the prairies. After I shared about the tour at closing chapel at camp a couple of weeks ago, one camper came up to me and asked if I was the one who was riding my bike all over Alberta. I said yes I was. She responded, "that sounds really boring!" I had to agree. However, I am riding because I am convinced of 3 things.
First I am convinced that Evergreen needs to reach more children and youth.
Children are hearing the Good News of Jesus for the first time at camp. Last year, my youngest son, Sawyer, invited 3 of his friends from school to come to camp with him. All 3 had not heard the Good News communicated to them. They sang songs and learned about Jesus for the first time that week, and were given Bibles to take home with them. They have brought the Good News of Jesus into their homes. All 3 friends have come back to camp this summer, and their siblings are starting to come as well. Praise God!
Youth are being mentored by godly young adults at camp. This summer, my oldest son, Jaxson, is spending 6 weeks at camp in the internship program. A number of years ago I attended a father and son retreat at Camp Evergreen with him. We were at chapel where a number of the staff were leading worship. I was walking out of chapel with Jaxson when he said to me, "when can I work at camp?" I knew in that moment it was the example of young adults serving God, who he looked up to, that sparked the desire in his heart to serve God in the same way. Praise God!
Young adults are being discipled and developed as leaders at camp. It was the summer after grade 12 when I went to work at camp and I was immediately thrown into running the mountain bike program on my own. This was in incredibly stretching time for me as a leader, and I was surrounded by people who guided me and helped me to see my potential.
This summer, Evergreen is turning away children simply because there is not enough room. It is time to grow! All of the funds raised on the tour will go directly to Reaching Higher which will expand camps capacity.
Secondly, I'm convinced that Evergreen needs the church. Evergreen was founded by MB churches all over Alberta 54 years ago as an extension of their mission to disciple their youth and share the Gospel with those who haven't heard it. We must continue to foster this partnership. This is why I will be riding to Alberta MB church communities in an effort to re-engage churches in the ministry at camp.
Finally, I'm convinced that Evergreen needs many people supporting and praying for the ministry. Over the years I have seen first hand both the need for prayer and the effects of prayer at camp. There are weeks when it is so clear that the Spirit is moving in the childrens hearts and those are the weeks I know that many people are praying. Many good things happen at camp, but I know that nothing of eternal consequence will happen apart from prayer.
Will you join me in helping Camp Evergreen Reach Higher by reaching more people with the Good News of Jesus?
Support my bike tour for Camp Evergreen - biking4evergreen.ca