“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” – John 1:16
Grace upon grace – the phrase that encapsulates our staff’s sentiments, particularly as we reflect on and give thanks for everything this past year.
Miracle Camp is like a winter wonderland this time of year. Walking along the paths, fresh snow crunches and buildings glisten. The stark white atmosphere emits an excitement in the air. Just a month ago, camp was flooded with color on the trees, and crisp days made for perfect campfire nights. Only a couple months prior, boats hummed across the lake and campers clustered in Center Circle, indicating summer in full swing.
The transformation of seasons and the bustle of people in and out of our facility provides us the prime opportunity to see God’s faithfulness remain constant.
Several changes have occurred this year that we celebrate with thanks. For the first time, we hired two culinary arts interns, which is a new addition to the internship program. Many upgrades have been made to our facilities, including a new roof that previously leaked for years and fixing the drywall damage as a result. Our maintenance intern, Wyatt, articulates his excitement about many projects in process, such as upgrading all the wi-fi access points, “adding additional ones for more coverage throughout camp,” and replacing the fluorescent lights in most buildings with LED lights.
Evidences of God’s grace are everywhere – in the changes implemented and events that transpire. In the meaningful conversations over coffee in the lodge. In the smiles of guests as they express their joy after “a wonderful weekend.” In the tears prompted by a heart-opening chapel message. In the friendships formed after running up and down the basketball court. In the blessing of camaraderie over delicious food. These seemingly small moments form the big picture of why Miracle Camp exists.
We are immensely grateful for the life-changing moments God facilitates here, and none of it is of our own doing. Our desire is that in every dish washed, in all the beds made, in each light fixed, in every detail planned and activities ran – may we glorify Him through it all.
As we give thanks, we are most thankful for Jesus Christ and the abundant life He gives. Because of Him, we are thankful for His church we serve, the ministry that happens here, and for the readers and people connected to Miracle Camp who help us give God the glory. It’s all grace upon grace.
God is doing amazing things at Miracle Camp. Each season and every single year His faithfulness is evident here, and especially in 2018 as Evergreen has transformed month by month. Approaching the holiday season, we are very thankful for the continued and ongoing progress through the service of our partner churches and volunteers!
After finishing the concrete pouring just in time before winter, the team looks forward to moving inside to being framing and seeing the inside come to life. To see more details about the completed work in Evergreen, check out this post. In late September, a group of volunteers helped with the exterior, and the underground plumbing was in the works. This allowed for the building to get closed up before the cold season, which set the groundwork for the progress currently happening.
While it is exciting to look forward, this Thanksgiving season reminds us of God’s faithfulness in 2018 through the fulfillment of our $300,000 match gift. We celebrate that success and continue to rely on God’s steady provision. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give to this project and be a part of the continued ministry that will happen for future generations. Whether you are a former Summer Staff member or a Miracle Camp veteran with deep roots in FEC, an attendee of events or someone who recently heard of our ministry, we invite you to partner with us! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and we ask that you consider this project in your end-of-year giving plans as well.
Check out the video below to see the status of Evergreen and current updates! We look forward to watching God work throughout the project in many ways.
Snow tubing. Worship. Coffee. Gold Rush in the snow. And dodgeball. Lots of it.
The end of the semester and holidays are approaching, which also means it’s almost time for Ice Camps! For ten weekends beginning in January, youth groups come to these winter retreats to bond over great fun, worship, and biblical teaching. These weekends are an exciting way to help students grow closer to God and each other as they have fun and experience life-changing chapel sessions and activities.
Our returning summer staff members help make Ice Camps possible. Not only do they serve seasonally in the summers, but they view their roles as more than jobs by coming back repeatedly. They choose to serve completely voluntarily as they give up their time and gas money to spend weekends here during the winter season. The relationships they formed over summer camps with each other and the other staff are a large part of their desire to return, as well as their commitment to the ministry of Miracle Camp. Our staff, as well as the groups who come to Ice Camp, are immensely blessed by their presence.
These returners get to reconnect with their summer staff coworkers while making hot chocolate and running snow tubing in the woods. Other ways they serve are by crafting hot drinks in the coffee shop to warm up from the cold, constructing unique creations over conversation in the craft shack, and facilitating basketball, dodgeball, and volleyball in the gym. Their friendly faces provide a welcoming presence at the front desk and in the Trading Post. Not only do they get to laugh with the groups as they lead games and activities, but they have the opportunity to participate in the work God is doing in each student’s life.
While our summer camps focus on each camper’s personal relationship with Jesus, Ice Camps are a time for students to be a part of group discipleship. Our staff plays a key role in letting youth leaders relax, have fun with students, and grow in Christ together. We have opportunities for every returning summer staff member, whether it is indoors, outdoors, behind-the-scenes, or on the stage.
Please check your schedule with the weekend dates listed and stay tuned to your inbox!
JH/SH 1: Dec. 30 – Jan. 1
JH 1: Jan. 4 – 6
SH 1: Jan. 11 – 13
JH/SH 2: Jan. 18 – 20
SH 2: Jan. 25 – 27
JH 2: Feb. 1 – 3
SH 3: Feb. 8 – 10
JH/SH 3: Feb. 15 – 17
MS/JH 1: Feb. 22 – 24
JH/SH 4: Mar. 1 – 3
For more information about Ice Camp, click the button below!
Every person has an opportunity to portray God’s love in a unique manner. He has gifted everyone differently for a purpose, and when those gifts are applied, God’s glory and kindness emanates through His creation. Those who seek to glorify Him through their talents and abilities as they serve not only demonstrate His light and love, but also receive joy that comes from participating in Kingdom work.
This is the epitome of volunteers at Miracle Camp and why we believe they are so valuable. From the paint on the walls to the flowers in the ground to the shingles on the roof, volunteers have played a part in nearly every aspect of our facility. This means that the kids who attend summer camp, guests that book a weekend, or families at our programmed events get to experience the end result of what was once a volunteer project.
Volunteers contribute largely to make Miracle Camp what it is today. Their astounding work is what allows us to operate at our highest potential. Volunteers fall in the same category as our maintenance and housekeeping staff in that they are the hands and feet of the unseen, hard work. The work they do is rewarding in a multitude of ways. Not only do our staff and guests benefit from their contributions, but volunteers themselves get to see the positive changes that happen because of them. Several times a year, volunteers come repeatedly because they enjoy the opportunity to serve. We have those who visit regularly to help with landscaping, maintenance, or any projects they can find. Also, many of our Summer Staff members come back to volunteer for Ice Camps, just for the sheer joy of participating in the mission of Miracle Camp.
Our volunteers remind us of Paul’s words in Scripture: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (2:4-7).
This mindset is what our volunteers assume as they exemplify Christ, sacrificing their time and energy to be a part of the big picture of what God is doing through Miracle Camp. They selflessly give and do what they do for others and to glorify God. Hundreds of guests are in and out of our campus every month. As volunteers use their gifts and abilities, their impact goes deeper than many realize.
Whether it is utilizing your green thumb in landscaping, operating your handywork skills, or applying your knowledge of computer networking, there are many practical ways you can get involved. As the Evergreen Project comes to a close over the coming winter months, the specific construction skills listed below are in high demand. Remember to click the link at the bottom of the list to sign up for our volunteer database, and stay tuned to your inbox for work crews organizing on weekends coming soon!
- Concrete forming/Finishing
- Drywall hanging/Finishing
- Cabinetry/Countertop installation
- Finish carpentry
- Spring cleaning
- Leaves/Stick pickup
- Pressure washing
- Computer Networking/IT
- Other applicable skills
If you are interested in volunteering with us, click the button below and fill out the form to sign up!
If a light bulb goes out, it’s not out for long. Does a sink need fixed? It’s repaired in no time. Our maintenance team ensures that Miracle Camp is operating at its possible best. When our facilities are running smoothly, no one notices the work it takes to make that happen. Our maintenance staff is intentionally unseen and unheard so that our place and the work God is doing through it can be highlighted.
Not only does this staff fix problems that arise, but they do the prep work to prevent any foreseeable complications. They work quickly and efficiently, and their contribution to the Miracle Camp staff is priceless. They are some of the hardest workers, and what they do on a daily basis is of equal importance to any other job here. Essentially, they are the army behind the scenes, making the wheels of Miracle Camp turn.
In addition to the tasks of maintenance work, they are large facilitators of growth. They discover ways to enhance the functions of camp. They ensure that the appearance of the campus be in top shape. Our maintenance team recognizes the gift that God has given us in our accommodations. They pour into projects, such as Evergreen, so that we can reach our full potential and strive to glorify God in every action.
Paul talks about the different kinds of work and gifts that the Holy Spirit gives in 1 Corinthians 12. Our maintenance staff exemplifies their gifts of hard work and serving, and the end result is seeing “the same God at work” in them just as much as our other staff. The maintenance men as a whole have been gifted with skills and keen abilities, but even amongst that team, each individual has specific qualities that allows them to work well. As they wholeheartedly do their jobs, they make it possible for guests to be fully present and in tune with what God is doing in their time at camp.
We are extremely grateful for each of these men and the work they do. Though challenging labor is often required, they dive in without complaint, all the while embodying Christ. God continues to use Miracle Camp, and we recognize that He does so through the work of our maintenance staff. We would especially like to thank Sam Short for his many years of service. Though he is retiring, his contributions to our team do not go unnoticed. It has been a blessing to have him on Miracle Camp staff, and he will be missed!
Serving in the area of maintenance is a great way to get involved with Miracle Camp. Stay tuned for more information next week on practical ways to use your God-given abilities!
Another weekend wraps up as the last guest drives out of camp. While the quietness settling in indicates a time of rest for many staff members, this is a signal that the work is only beginning for our housekeeping staff. With smiles and hearts of service, this team does so much more than clean. Though often unseen, they are just as valuable to the functioning of camp as the staff who are up front and on stage.
The cleaning itself is a tremendous task. Just this fall, hundreds of people stream in and out of campus, providing a constant flow of work. When it comes to the status of cleanliness, “good enough” does not cut it for Miracle Camp. We strive to ensure that our accommodations are more than presentable; comfort, cleanliness, and quality are important characteristics of our space. Our housekeeping team goes above and beyond as they do the job well, embodying the scripture, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
Due to the number of guests and continuously full weekends, the housekeeping staff prepares for many quick “flips” as we call them. Often, when guests leave, another group will come in later the same day or the following day. Our team works quickly and efficiently to ensure a smooth transition between guests, even though the job is thankless at times. They clean after groups, whether it be a teenage youth group or family reunion, removing any hint of mess. They transform the rooms like new, and the process repeats itself. More than the responsibility of cleaning bedrooms, they prepare all the meeting places and buildings to be welcoming and organized spaces.
The most important part of their work lies not in the vacuuming or laundry, however. For our housekeeping staff, it is not just about the cleaning. It is prayer. These members pray over the beds and meeting spaces because they recognize that this is a haven for people. Our facility is a dwelling place, and God’s spirit is in the midst of it. The staff finds it a joy and privilege to prepare a place for God to meet people. When guests come to camp and find it clean and well-kept, they can concentrate on their time with God without distractions. Our housekeeping team is motivated by the perspective that they are making ready a space of rest and retreat so that others can enjoy it, especially as they step away from everyday life to be regenerated, renewed, replenished, and refreshed.
“We don’t mind the messes left behind,” they say with a smile, “as long as the people leave in better condition than when they came.”
We are so grateful to have such hardworking and thoughtful housekeeping staff members here at Miracle Camp. Especially on Sundays, after worshiping they come to work with a ready demeanor to prepare the camp before Monday. They make Miracle Camp function physically, and their prayers are changing the lives of everyone who encounters this space.
Stay tuned for more information in the next few weeks for partnership opportunities as we strive to maintain and upgrade our facilities so that guests can focus on Jesus during their time here!
The cable wobbles as you steady yourself, clinging for dear life to the rope hanging above you. “It didn’t look as high up from the ground,” you think to yourself as you try to not look down. Your friends at the end loudly cheer you on, breaking fear’s paralyzing hold as you inch along the obstacle. One…more…step…and you breathe a sigh of relief when your feet reach the edge of the platform. Exhilarated, you move on to the next obstacle, pushing your fear to the side once again.
Fear. It’s a universal human trait. Regardless of different walks of life, skills, abilities, etc., fear of some sort plays a part in each person’s life. The theme of fear is woven all throughout Scripture, with “do not fear” occurring as one of the most common exhortations found in the Bible.
At Miracle Camp, our Activities ministry is purposefully designed to help guests face and overcome their fear. There’s no better way to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” than in high pressure situations such as crossing high rope obstacles 40 feet in the air. The great amount of trust required to take that initial step off the zipline parallels the bigger picture of letting go of the fear that holds us back from trusting God.
For some, the adventure activities are a thrill or simply an enjoyable interest. They cross the obstacles with ease and a healthy fear as they glide off the zipline tower. What allows them to do this is the knowledge that they are safe and secure with proper instructions and equipment. For others, these challenges can seem like insurmountable endeavors. A first-time zipliner may stand at the top, more consumed by fear the longer he or she hesitates, sometimes talking themselves out of the adventure. “If only they knew how much fun it is!” or “if they just step off, they will realize how safe they are!” others plead as they encourage the nervous one.
How often are we this same way about trusting God in life situations? Sometimes we are the person at the top of the zipline, questioning God, “are you sure this next step is safe? Can I trust that You will catch me?” Instead of living in fear of life circumstances, what would it look like to only have a fear of the Lord? Maybe God is calling you to a new place or career. Maybe He is asking you to have courage to live fully right where He has you. Maybe He wants you to forgive that person or let go of whatever it is you’re holding to so tightly. Proverbs 1:7 says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” When we replace our earthly fear with a reverent fear of God, we begin stepping out in trust, implementing the lessons learned at camp into daily life.
The well-known Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5, declares, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Just as a person cannot half-heartedly decide to zipline or cross a rope obstacle, trusting God requires our full heart as we plunge into following Him. There is such reward seeing a guest’s face turn to joy after completing the challenge in which they were so afraid. And we will find an immense reward waiting for us, too, when we choose to trust God.
Whether it’s high ropes and zipline adventures, or rock wall and our team-building initiatives, here at Miracle Camp we love creating experiences for guests to face their fears and trust God in a deeper way before heading home, and then to hopefully carry this out in every aspect of life.
For more information about Miracle Camp and the activities we offer, click the button below!
Kids shout with echoes of delight. Boats hum with ecstatic tubers on the lake. The zipline whirs in the distance. Birds chatter in the trees near the archery, paintball station, and high ropes course. Worship music floats out the chapel door. What do these sounds have in common? They are all heard at Miracle Camp!
In today’s non-stop society running on caffeine and jam-packed schedules, you could describe Miracle Camp as an oasis. The camp’s layout perfectly complements the surrounding nature, resulting in a pleasant place of respite. The waterfront view, winding trails, and myriad of activities provide high-quality adventure. An aura of wonder fills the air, allowing space to slow down and enjoy life. What could be better than the small-town feel with the 100+ acres of land offering opportunities to play, relax, and wander?
Adding to the beauty, the sense of community at Miracle Camp is prominent. Joy radiates from the staff as you pass them within the comfort of Bankson Lodge. Their inclusiveness embodies the love of Jesus, and you will smile as the housekeepers greet you by name on your way to breakfast. The 45 Summer Staff and 11 Program Office leaders serve with a genuine sense of caring, leaving no one a stranger for long. One of the seven interns runs from one activity to the next, waving as you head to the beach for some kayaking. The top-notch hospitality creates a home away from home.
Prior to your arrival, each staff member is equipped with proper training, provided with opportunities for discipleship, and encouraged to employ a component of personal retreat. These elements are necessary as the teams prepare for a busy season hosting campers and guest groups. Organization is key, and arrangements for comfortable lodging, delicious food, and an exciting itinerary are drawn up to ensure the success of your stay.
While many roles of the staff are obvious, the behind-the-scenes people and work are just as important to the most efficient and successful functions of this camp. You may notice the cleanliness, but miss the woman diligently sweeping the room or the man power-washing the windows. You may observe the beautiful landscape, but not see the ones spending hours on their hands and knees planting flowers. Behind your enjoyable stay were hours spent on the phone and in the office in preparation. Frequently, the Friends of Camp, the regular volunteers, are onsite contributing to the work that plays a powerful role in the daily operations.
The whiff of a campfire drifts through the evening breeze, mixing with a hint of freshly mowed grass. From the interactions with the staff to pleasant accommodations to activity preparations, bringing glory to God is evident throughout every detail. The safe and relaxing atmosphere at Miracle Camp offers loads of laughter, stretches of rest, and opportunities to encounter Jesus. As you pass the lake on your way out, you will glance back at Miracle Camp in your rearview mirror with a renewed spirit, happy memories, and the anticipation of planning your return trip.
Last year, as part of the Keeping Faith Campaign, we were able to purchase a generator that will power the Chapel, Evergreen, and the Lodge (including the Dining Hall) in case of a power outage. We are excited to share with you that this generator is now completely hooked up and up and running!
We want to say THANK YOU for all of your support towards the Keeping Faith campaign. The generator is a huge addition to camp because, not only will it keep lights on when the power goes out, but it will also eliminate any potential distractions during power outages during chapel sessions and while guests are on campus. One of the most important roles the generator will play, though, is supplying power to our dining hall and the large refrigerators and freezers we have on campus. On any given weekend, we could have thousands of dollars worth of food in our kitchen. With the generator, we now won’t have to worry about having to throw out food due to the power being out.
We appreciate your support in helping us continue to improve Camp’s resources. We are very excited with what the future of Miracle Camp looks like and would love to have you partner with us in our mission to glorify God and share the Good News of Jesus with more and more people every year. If you would like more information on the Keeping Faith Campaign, or if you would like to help support us with a financial gift, visit www.miraclecamp.com/keepingfaith/!