Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dark Water.

Sometimes in ministry there are times when the water becomes dark and foreboding. Throughout this past week we, as a staff of volunteers and missionaries, traversed some dark waters. There have been a great many challenges both physical and spiritual, we became acutely aware of this early in the week. Physically this week we have had to have an emergency repair to the hot water heaters, the truck has been in the shop for a new water pump, we have had the worry and struggle with the contaminated waterfront and the phone system continues to be a challenge. Spiritually there was an unrest among the campers and a cloud over the volunteers. On Wednesday evening some of the missionaries met and prayed over the camp, campers and staff. Thursday morning, as a team, we focused on prayer and surrendered ourselves to the Lord, praying over the great need and seeking His strength. It was humbling to see the turn around as everyone, serving through their great fatigue, centered their hearts on the Cross for the sake of the Gospel.

We were so encouraged this week as a young man, concerned deeply about his sin and need for repentance, approached Gary Countway, or guest speaker, and ask how he could be right with God! We have come through a tremendous week, a wonderful week, a challenging week, more directly focused on God and dedicated to serving Him for His sake only.

The Lord provided for our needs, as the bill for the truck was less than half of what was expected, the hot water heaters were immediately repaired and we were given the "all clear" by the department of the environment on Wednesday afternoon just ten minutes prior to swim time! It is important to remember though, through these physical challenges, God did not require us to have any of these things in order to preach and present the Gospel. The Gospel will go forth without swim time, without a truck and yes, even without hot water! This place, and all of us serving here belong to God, and He will use us as He sees fit, and we are willing.

Praise the Lord for a clean waterfront!

Praise the Lord for the Gospel clearly spoken!

Praise the Lord for music!

Praise the Lord for friends! (and wacky missionaries)

The kids were certainly happy when the waterfront opened back up!

But... until we had the waterfront back, we made some good watery fun of our own...

 The slip and  slide worked quite nicely.

mmmm... lunch...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Toxic... perhaps.

Today, on the first day of our third week of camp, we faced something of a challenge. And, indeed will face as a challenge over the next few days.

I was working on some paperwork in the office when I was interrupted by our program co-ordinator about an issue on the beach. I headed out the door and was contacted on my "walkie" by our lifeguard asking that I go to the beach. Upon approaching the beach I could smell something akin to kerosene.

While launching a raft, floated on large cryptically labelled barrels, our neighbour allowed a quantity of an unknown substance to escape into the lake. This created a large slick of a badly smelling, oily substance on top of the water. The lifeguard and waterfront staff had all the campers out of the water immediately as we began to investigate the problem.

In the end I was unable to find out from the neighbour just what the substance is that has leaked into the lake and was forced to call the department of environment. A gentleman came immediately and took water samples - upon investigating he found that the barrel was labelled with UN3264. This does not necessarily mean that is what has spilled into the water - but it quite likely. We will know in the next day or two the outcome of the testing and what courses of action will need to be taken. The potential of heavy rain tomorrow will impact any clean-up that may need to happen.The oily slick has currently come to rest in about a 12 inch swath that runs along about 400 feet of shoreline. If the substance turns out to be inert and harmless we will be able to return to swimming, but until we find out, swimming is out of the question. Until then we will be coming up with other "watery" alternatives - it is supposed to rain tomorrow - which will give us the opportunity for some outdoor games in the rain.

I will post an update once we have more information, for now please keep this as a matter of prayer. Prayer for the campers, that they will not be overly discouraged by the lack of swimming, for the camp property that this toxin will not have lasting impact to our beach and for our neighbour, as I'm sure this is a matter of great concern for him as well.

The waterfront is a vital part of the summer camping ministry. It is important to remember that God is sovereign and has a purpose in this event, so we are content to continue to serve Him through it. God does not require a beach for His Gospel to be made clear... although we would certainly enjoy having it back if He sees fit.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Camps 2012: Junior Camp #1

This week marked a sad loss for our family, as my grandmother (Ruth Hyslop) passed away early Friday morning, having recently celebrated her 94th birthday. God is sovereign in all things, and for this we are thankful.

It is alarming just how quickly the time passes during summer camp season! This was our first junior camp of 2012 and we welcomed campers from St. Mary's reserve near Fredericton. God was at work at ANBC this week, often in unexpected ways. Kirk Hubick, an open air preacher with Going and Sowing Ministries was our guest speaker. Using a New Tribes Mission model of evangelism, he presented with a sketch board, the gospel of Jesus Christ chronologically. Throughout the week he challenged the campers with the person of God and taught of His Personhood and Deity and our separation from Him in our sins. It is our prayer that what the campers heard will have a lasting impact on their lives and they will seek the acceptance of Almighty God!

This week we had a large team from Forest Hills Baptist Church in St. John, with us serving in various roles. It was encouraging to see many of them grow and be challenged through the week. This ministry was new to some of them and we watched those submitted to Christ and the ministry flourish and have rich opportunities in ministry. I don't think there was anyone on the team who left un-impacted in some way.

This week wasn't without it's physical challenges as well. Today as we returned from Chipman picking up the weeks groceries the water pump in the camp truck exploded (apparently... probably not actually) and spewed it's green lifeblood all over Cox Point Road. I left the guys with the truck and took a ride with a neighbour to the camp. After collecting some water I returned to the truck and we dumped in a bunch of water and hoofed it the final mile and a half back to camp. So, I will have the challenge of having that repaired this coming week. But, we got all of the food to camp before any was spoiled, which was a blessing!

On Friday evening, after the campers had left, Sasha Cheprasov, the Forest Hills team leader, led us in a time of reflection and prayer for the campers and other volunteers. It was a valuable time and helped to galvanize in our hearts and minds the young lives that were touched this week.

Kayla and Justus did a little commercial for the ANBC Tuck Shop.

This week we tried out a new afternoon activity and gave the campers an opportunity to try out puppeteering... it seemed to be a success...this  is one of the complete puppet sketches.

This week we tried out "water gun" variation to "Underground Church"... an active game of tag and hide & go seek.

Waterfront = always awesome

This is an example of one of Kirk Hubick's story boards from gathering time. It is a hugely engaging tool and certainly helped keep the campers attention.

Our new friends from Forest Hills Church in St. John.

Kirk preaching the Gospel during one of our gathering times.

Audrey Small leading our craft time. It has been such a huge blessing and encouragement to have so many folks from our home church serving alongside us at camp this year. Both on property, off property and in prayer!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Camps 2012: Teen Camp

There was a wonderful spirit at Arrowhead for our first week of summer camp. We have several families serving together with us this summer, and this week was punctuated with a mature staff dedicated to the work of the Lord! This unity and submission to Christ highlighted the week and promoted some wonderful opportunities for sharing the gospel with the campers.

Many of our volunteers this week shared stories of opportunities they had to answer questions for the campers and point them to Christ and the scriptures. We gave out "Action Bibles",  which are illustrated books that tell, through story, the major stories of the Old Testament. Beginning with creation and an introduction to God in His power and eternality and progressing through to the story of Christ on the Cross, all the while pointing to our need for a redeemer. One of the guys read over 200 pages before the week was out, constantly approaching his cabin leader with questions about what he was reading! Our only regret is that we don't have more copies of the book to give out.

Stephen Somers was our guest speaker for the week. Beginning on Monday evening, and continuing right through to Friday morning, he clearly and dynamically brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the campers. No one who was at ANBC this week can ever say they have not heard the Gospel! Here is a short excerpt from his message on Thursday night.

On Thursday night, our team from Gorrie, Ontario presented a skit that they had prepared to share with us. The mime they shared is an illustration of the freeing and conquoring work of Christ in our lives. Here is a short excerpt from it.

I had the privilege of meeting Mark Craig at NBBI on a couple of different occasions. Mark is a relatively new believer who's testimony is an encouragement and a challenge. He came to ANBC on Thursday to share the work of Christ in his life with the campers. It was a true blessing and we look forward to having Mark with us again next summer!!

Please pray that these conversations, testimonies, answered questions, chapel messages and books will all serve to challenge the kids in their lives with the need for repentance and Faith! It is our hearts desire to see the kids be reconciled to God in Faith and Repentance and come into authentic and permanent relationship with Him!

Phil & Mike getting the boat out of mothballs for the summer. It's working great, the kids sure love being in the water!

Thursday afternoon was a sports tournament, the campers and staff rotated between basketball, beach volleyball, soccer and table tennis.

Our illustrious dish crew for Teen Camp! Good job gang!!

 We rounded up all the fellas and carried the raft to the water! Mike & Pete had most of it... the rest of us were just making faces to look good!

Monday night of teen camp... "Fear Factor" night... Happy Meal in a glass. Yum.

Arrowhead's brand new dock has been delivered and is being put to use this summer! We are so pleased to have the new dock!

Our first week of camp wasn't without it's challenges. Due to some confusion with a sub contractor, Irving Oil did not deliver propane to ANBC as expected. This was only a problem once we ran out on Monday morning. With the Bannock in the oven and the spaghetti sauce on the stove we had to do some quick thinking. I bought this small propane cooker from Roger Hill in the Spring and it came into good use on Monday evening - as Venus cooked the spaghetti in the back yard! Propane tanks and propane was delivered in time for Supper on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ANBC Volunteer Training 2012

It was a full weekend! It was an excellent weekend. We began on Friday afternoon as the volunteers for the upcoming summer camps began to arrive. There is something wonderful about the camp filling with friends and family all reuniting and enjoying one another's company. There were more than 70 of us here for the weekend, it was encouraging to have so many turn out for the training.

We began Friday evening at about 8pm with seminars 1 and 2. This weekend we challenged Worldviews with God's Word and talked about the many important aspects of ministry. We held 8 more seminars throughout the day on Saturday, covering such topics as hermeneutics, cross cultural communication, co-dependency, camp schedules and programs, evangelism issues, cabin devotions, camp music and games. There was lots of time for fellowship and fun as well, with games and swimming. And we even had some fireworks to celebrate the Canada Day weekend. After fellowship and worship with our friends at Cumberland Bay Baptist church, we concluded on Sunday afternoon with camp rules and expectations.

It was a blessing and encouragement to have everyone together for the weekend. There was a good spirit of unity as we looked into God's Word and focused ourselves on the task at hand. We are so very thankful for the provision of the Lord and the willing hearts of those committed to coming and serving with us in ministry together throughout this summer.

We were once again blessed by Devon Park Baptist Church with their gifts of cereal and other necessities for our summer camps!

And the kind generosity of the folks at Jacksontown Baptist Church as they donated to our pantry for our summer camps.

Learning some of the music for the upcoming summer camps.

Trying out some summer camp challenges.

These young ladies visited the craft cabin and made some jewellery to sell to raise money for Arrowhead's new dock.

We were blessed by wonderful meals, faithfully prepared by the ladies in the kitchen.

It wasn't all classroom time this weekend - there was opportunity for a swim on Saturday afternoon.