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Trading Anxiety for Prayer

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. 
-Philippians 4:5-6
Travel anxieties and the excitement of meeting new people can be overwhelming for anyone. While owning a personal faith and stepping out of our comfort zone is part of what makes camp special, homesickness or reporting some anxiety about the week is common. What is also common in working out our salvation are the feelings of anxiety and fear we sometimes experience. Letting campers learn how to pray and trust God in their preparation is a great opportunity to apply the gospel.
Thankfully God’s Word is profitable and practical. Paul tells us that giving our requests in prayer to a God who is powerful, loving and knowing the future can remedy our anxiety. While we know this, it still takes some intentionality (and courage!) for a camper to leave home for a week with new people away from parents. The best way for parents to pass prayer along to their kids is to model it with them the week before leaving for camp.
It is also helpful to prepare your camper for the tech-free policy for 2019. Connectedness and anxiety too often go hand in hand in the digitally seamless world we have built. For many campers, keeping up with the goings on of daily social media “streaks” is like having hundreds of friends in your pocket at all times to share instantly what is happening. That kind of power can have a draining and pressurizing effect. In a study reported by the CCCA, of camps who implemented a no-device policy, 80% of kids were less stressed and anxious without the expectation to keep up with social media. Our hope is that a week of camp will help kids unplug so they can reconnect to God in prayer.
Something special happens when we pause to unload our anxious heart before God—we become more aware that He is at hand. Parents can talk with their campers, help them pack and pray for them specifically to be sure the time away from home draws them closer to Jesus.

The Best Week Ever

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments

With Summer Camp kicking off this Sunday, now is a great time for returning families and first time campers both to plan ahead. Our teams have been training and planning for an action packed summer, and we wanted to pass along these final reminders to campers and parents:

First things first. Both parents and campers can pray for the week to challenge students to deeper faith in Jesus. Along with prayer, since each week of summer camp will be walking through the book of Galatians together, campers can read ahead to engage their hearts with God’s Word before arrival.

Prep Checklist. Happy campers come well prepared! Don’t forget to double check the pack list and make sure all the essentials are covered. A big part of camp being enjoyable and distraction-free for everyone is also knowing what not to bring. Please remember that campers are not allowed to have personal devices; for a further explanation of the policy, check out our past blog entries.

Arrival Day Game Plan. Make a plan with friends or your church group to arrive on your Sunday check-in day. This year the Check-In Tent will be opening at 3:00PM EST. Prior to guest arrival, each week the Summer Staff  meet to pray and cover last minute details, while other teams on campus work hard to clean the camp before a new group arrives. We appreciate your understanding in helping us time everything just right!

We want Summer Camp to be the Best Week Ever for each parent and every camper! If you have other questions about Summer Camp, or would like to learn more about how to register, visit the summer camp page to register and learn more!

Fresh Faces

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments

For the past two weeks, fresh faces have been arriving at camp; a sure signal summer is almost here! Last week, the Program Office arrived to begin the work of preparing and leading. Yesterday, the remaining Summer Staff team trickled in. As most of our staff are coming off high energy semesters or whirlwind graduation seasons, the first week of training helps to acclimate them to camp life, bond as a team, and most importantly pause to get Christ-centered.

This weekend the team will travel offsite to fellowship, be alone with Christ, and will learn to practice spiritual disciplines. When they return next week, countless hours will be spent in creative planning sessions, learning safety protocols, conducting drills, and praying for the campers who will be here this summer. 

Our team is built around the concept that every member has a role to play, just like the body of Christ! These roles range from leading discussion times after chapel, engaging campers in one-on-ones, setting up and running activities, cleaning, providing food, and maintaining safety standards—every role has a purpose, and every gift has a place to serve. 

Many campers naturally wonder how they can become part of the Summer Staff. While we always have room on the team for newcomers, most of our leaders are campers who have come through our ministry pipeline. The leadership portion of this pipeline starts with the Camp Aide program. Here our campers learn to serve and live out their faith. 

If you aren’t aware, we have expanded the Camp Aide Program and spots are available for guys this year. If you haven’t registered, we encourage you to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. Click the link below for more information!

The Dirty Work

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments

This week Miracle Camp is full of activity in a different way—rather than cabins full of campers, our campus has been full of teams of workers helping us ready the facility for summer. While prayer comes first on the to-do list, next comes rolling up shirtsleeves and getting to work!

From flower beds to fire suppression, our Operations Team leads the way in making our facility safe and beautiful. Kitchen and Housekeeping Teams dutifully carry out jobs like taking out the trash, doing the dishes and making sure the facilities are clean and sanitary. Each of these teams model servant leadership for our whole staff! Even though they enjoy the quiet and unrecognized service, we enjoy pointing to their action as a worthy example and praise God for each member and how they serve!

Humility, servanthood and a willingness to be last: traits that will not win blue ribbon awards, yet Jesus described kingdom greatness just that way. While His disciples continually asked when he would become king or which of them would be in charge, Jesus pointed them toward selfless service every time.

While our teams continue to pray for fruitful ministry this summer, we are thankful for the work of our every single volunteer, contractor and team member to make our campus guest ready!

Smooth Transitions Start With Prayer

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments

Spring is when everything outside changes in Western Michigan! Seemingly overnight, brisk days of lingering winter give way to full flowering trees and birds returning for summer. While the weather takes a turn for the good, behind the scenes the Miracle Camp team changes pace as well, just in time to prep for summertime.

This year, beginning May 15, we will be hosting campers every day throughout the summer season until mid-August. We are so thankful to God for filling our calendar again with so many different groups and guests to serve! Each year our team works hard to prepare, so that every camper has the best week ever. But prayer is the precursor to everything we do as God’s people. That step cannot afford to be missed.

We know as a team that so many of our guests are also the key supporters of our ministry, and we are thankful for your prayers. Each Friday, we spend special time as a team praying that our guests would arrive safely and encounter Jesus through our ministry. This Friday, please join us in prayer for the following 3 needs as summer approaches:

  1. The home stretch of the Evergreen Project. Pray for a safe and timely finish with everything approved and ready for our summer campers!
  2. Three new interns will join our team this month; pray for their safe arrival and quick transition into summer ministry and gospel community!
  3. Program Office and Summer Staff begin training in early June, and this Summer we are growing the Camp Aide Program; pray for us as we build and train servant leadership among our groups!

Again, we are thankful for the many relationships we share with our guests and appreciate each prayer offered toward the ministry at camp. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

A Season of Gratitude

By | Women's Retreat | No Comments

Excited conversations, smiles, and laughter describe this past weekend as women arrived for our first Women’s Retreat weekend of 2019. For women to be able to step away from their usual schedules at home is a commitment, so we strive to program a balance of new experiences and restful unplugging at each Women’s Retreat weekend. This past weekend was full of fellowship, activities, crafts, but most importantly times to worship and hear truth shared from our speaker, Robyn Dykstra. As women departed Sunday, the peace-filled joyfulness of the women was evident and something we praise God for.

Women’s Retreat is designed to provide women exactly this…a retreat. A change of pace from the normal day to day routine so they can reset and refocus during their time away. Not only is it a fun time spent with friends doing activities that are out of the ordinary, it is a time for women to hear God’s voice and spend time with Him, learning what it means to know Him more. Starting the day in prayer, spending solo time after lunch, singing praises to God and hearing Biblical teaching all provide opportunities to do this outside of the normal routines at home.

Thank you to all of the women who have attended and those who have yet to attend our Women’s Retreats. We are continually amazed at those who prioritize coming back year after year —and for those who have come for the first time and now are excited about returning again! Praise God for allowing Camp to be a place where women grow closer to God and commit to following Him even after they leave from this place.

We are thankful to God for the stories we’re already hearing from the women about how they encountered God this weekend as they paused to hear His voice. Join us in praying for this upcoming weekend when more women will step foot on our campus for our second Women’s Retreat of the year. Our prayer is He is glorified again this weekend through the work of our team!

If you missed out on booking this Spring, good news! We are also excited and look forward to the addition of our third Women’s Retreat this year! Programmed the same as our spring retreats, we hope this will provide an additional option for those looking for a retreat at a different time of year. Registration is already open for Women’s Retreat 3 (September 27-29)!

The Evergreen Project – $100,000 Gift-Matching Opportunity

By | Keeping Faith | No Comments

Help us complete the Evergreen Project!

As part of Miracle Camp and Retreat Center’s (MCRC) financial sustainability initiative, the Evergreen Project helps us meet the needs of the groups we are currently turning away due to lack of space. While MCRC has 400+ beds, one of our weaknesses is available meeting spaces; we only have two large meeting rooms. That means that while we can comfortably host two church groups of 100-125 each, those groups will potentially only fill about 250 beds, leaving 150 beds empty.

More importantly, the Evergreen Project allows us to share the love of Jesus with the next generation. The new Evergreen building will expand MCRC’s summer camp capacity and will enable us to sleep 118 girl summer campers, 100 boy summer campers, 28 camp aides, and 52 summer staff. This is compared to our previous numbers of 108 girl summer campers, 88 boy summer campers, 22 camp aides, and 47 summer staff. That means more lives touched with the love of Jesus!

But, we need your help. Initially, we expected to be able to fully pay for the building with the cash from the $800,000 in donations we received during the primary campaign. Thank you for the support that has brought us to this point! Unfortunately, a disagreement between state and county regulators added $425,000 to the cost of the project midway through the build. These added costs raised the Evergreen Project’s construction costs from $800,000 to $1.25 million. As such, we are working to make up the difference.

Thankfully, we were able to work with the Christian Service Foundation (CSF) and attain a loan of $425,000. These funds will hopefully allow us to finish Evergreen’s construction by summer camp. While I am thankful CSF has made these funds available to us, I desire to use as little of those funds as possible. Our prayer is that we will be able to raise most of these funds before occupancy.

We are excited to announce a $100,000 gift-matching opportunity. By God’s grace, we have been able to line up donors who will match all Keeping Faith contributions until June 30.

The stories of lives changed are more than I can count; from decisions to follow Christ, to growth and encouragement, to repentance from persistent sin. I cannot emphasize enough the eternal impact your generosity is making possible. Thank you for helping us support the ministry of the local church and for helping us set the stage so that the love and message of Jesus can shape hearts.

Keep faithful. Keep praying. And, thank you for supporting!

Sincerely,

Jonathan L. Hyde
Executive Director

A Million Thanks

By | Men's Retreat (Man Camp) | No Comments
2019 has already turned out to be a banner year for Man Camps at Miracle Camp. One of the many joys for the Miracle Camp team is hearing stories of God’s faithfulness during our weekends. Maybe now more than ever, Christian men need a place to be within the brotherhood. The freedom experienced in Christ when we are unplugged from the everyday is something that can be hard to find between shifts, trips for work, family obligations and taking care of everyday life. Man Camp weekends allow the space for men to reconnect with God and each other.
This Spring, 853 Men joined us for four consecutive weekends of grilling meat, talking around fires, playing camp games for bragging rights and finding the space to open up about the challenges and victories that are part of following Jesus. Both early morning prayer times and late night fireside ribbing give men time to grow together. With a weekend to gather with other men and disconnect from the routine, men get much needed space to pray and refocus themselves on work and relationships waiting back at home.
We were honored to partner with FEC pastors Mike Drury, Nate Hamblin and Jake Mills; this year we also were able to send off longtime Man Camp speaker Tom Harmon, who spoke about Finishing Well. Centering discussions around weekend themes such as biblical manhood and forging relationships took small group discussions a level deeper, setting the table for old groups and new friends to find common threads to discuss and grow closer to God together.
From the men who make Man Camp part of their annual routine, to our first timers this Spring—Thank You. Two simple words that go unspoken too often. By expressing our gratitude, most of all we want give glory to God for the work He does at our camp.

Did you miss us this Spring? Good news! Registration is open for our fall Man Camp Weekend this coming Oct. 4 to join us!

A Better Friday

By | Food for thought, Life at Camp | No Comments

The typical Friday routine begins by putting finishing touches on the grounds and finalizing last minute details in the office. Afternoons, our team gathers to pray and ask for God to work in the lives of our guests. While those regular parts of our Friday around the office will be missing, this week we will be taking time instead to remember Good Friday.

Miracle Camp is a place where lives are changed. For over fifty years, FEC churches and countless guest groups have encountered the tangible grace of God spending time having fun here. Good Friday reminds us that the fun and joy we share at camp is not without cost. The cost for Jesus was real to reconcile us to Himself and remembering the goodness of this day reminds us that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ.

The real catalyst for us to know faith in Jesus as Lord is the atoning sacrifice freely offered at the cross. (1) The Apostle Paul writes that He who knew no sin became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2) This infusion of life offered to us in Christ was the world changing event by which everyone who truly knows God has access to Him.

While all of our guests are at home with their families and churches during Holy Week we want to remind them on Good Friday–without the events of this remembered day, our campground would be empty every weekend. But because the tomb is empty, we have life and love to share in Christ.
 
The Miracle Camp Staff want every bed made, every building built and each event we program to be fueled by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. On Good Friday let our team commend to you what we tell ourselves constantly: Jesus did it all. Our role is to facilitate His work, by his grace, for his glory. Today we join our FEC partner churches and congregations everywhere to remember the weekend Jesus died, was buried and rose from the grave.
1. Catalyst is a word meaning rapid change or action from within. We use it on the MCRC team to describe how we partner with God’s work among our campers.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:21

New Seasons & Next Steps

By | Internships | No Comments

Miracle Camp & Retreat Center’s Internship Program is designed to serve exiting high school and college students who are launching into years of obtaining skills for work or considering educational options. Rather than staying caught in the middle between what is now and “what’s next”, this internship exists to step in and help prepare participants for a lifetime of fruitful vocation while they work alongside the MCRC team serving groups, churches, and individuals through multiple avenues.

We are excited to introduce two new interns who will be joining the Miracle Camp team this May!

Preston Alger is originally from Flint, MI and first heard of Miracle Camp through his local church’s connection. He experienced Miracle Camp during an Ice Camp with his youth group, and he eventually applied to the Camp Aide program. Through this, he spent two weeks growing deeper in his faith and learning more about himself and God. Following this experience, he decided to join camp’s part-time staff serving in the kitchen. “Working in the kitchen, I had the pleasure to work with the interns and learn more about the program,” which is what led him to apply. Additionally, he was not sure of his plans after high school, so he decided to take this gap year opportunity. Preston is looking forward to discovering more about how Miracle Camp runs and how he can serve, especially as he works with digital design. “I also cannot wait to just learn about God with the intern devotionals we will be doing,” he adds.

He loves anything involving the outdoors, such as swimming, hunting, skateboarding, and enjoys building things. He also enjoys playing soccer and is an avid disc golfer.
Gavin Engler is also a senior in high school about to graduate. He is from Paw Paw, MI and heard of Miracle Camp from his former Bible quizzing coach, Beau Graf, who is Miracle Camp’s Dining Services Director. He began working in the kitchen as a part-time staff member in January 2018 and enjoyed the work as he served Miracle Camp. Gavin was undecided about his plans after high school and the internship appealed to him because, “camp seemed like the best option.” He is excited to begin the internship program in May and is ready to see what this year holds: “I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can and continuing growing in my walk with Christ.”

Gavin has really enjoyed his involvement with Bible quizzing the last two years. Also, he has been on the Varsity Bowling season team for four years and was the Captain his senior year.

We would love for you to pray for these guys as they prepare for their time here and seek all God has in store for them during their internships. To find out more about our internship program, click the button below!

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