Billboards in and around Dallas featured a beautiful lodge with the words “Sky Ranch.” This lodge was to be located on the highest point in the property – with a great view of the lake. This lodge is where the dining room, kitchen, offices, meeting rooms and large deck were to be located. The reality was that there were no significant contributions for the construction of the lodge. Time to swallow hard and scratch the lodge.
Three months until the campers were to arrive – no buildings & no utilities under construction. Campers were registering. Staff was being hired. The old camp was gone. No turning back now!
The re-designed craft building had a loft and a very open feeling. This looked to be the only building of any size which would be built in the first year. It could work as the temporary kitchen and dining hall for 150 people — tight, but by using the loft, it could work. The barn loft, if fully separated from the barn and properly insulated, could become the location for the craft program. This very closed in, almost windowless area would be just the opposite of the open, bright feeling of the anticipated craft building, but reality was reality.
A building designed for use by small groups was redesigned into one large room which could seat 150 on the floor. The front deck was expanded to handle 150 people. This building/deck would meet the indoor and outdoor program requirements — it would work.
We had to scrap the maintenance building – not essential for the summer. Ouch – no building to adapt for this purpose.
George Christian became the “go-to” person for the construction of the new ranch. We walked the new property hour after hour, selecting and marking the site for every building and activity area for present and projected plans. To do this we had to keep in mind where utilities would be available, where the trail rides should be located, how people would travel from one building to another in clear or rainy weather, where to park 100 cars, where to locate the road for deliveries to the camp store, kitchen, and barn. Road access to each sleeping cabin was a challenge ? and each cabin, being a duplex, needed two parking spaces for retreat weekends. The challenge was huge — but we did it!
Don Hill of Tyler, TX was hired as the general contractor for building construction and he blocked off the entire spring to build the fifteen planned buildings for camp. When Don realized the central lodge was not going to be built and that other buildings were still in the design stage, he took on other construction projects. Don Hill had no problem finding work — he was good! Reality: when the building plans were finalized, Don had his men working on other projects. At least the construction of the dam was on schedule.
To have peace and patience in the midst of this mess was truly a stretch for all of us! Nothing was going as anyone had planned — except for the construction of the dam. At this point living In Partnership With God was challenging and exciting ? but not fun! Abraham, Moses, David, Nehemiah and many others expressed similar feelings.
The Sky Ranch situation was a great example of Hudson Taylor’s words: “God’s work done in God’s way never lacks for God’s supply.” Something was not right! Everyone now agreed: the plans for the beautiful lodge had to go – others modified. Insufficient funds!
The result? Sky Ranch was becoming a much more “camper friendly” place. The dining hall would not be beautiful, but it would be functional due to its openness, and bright because of the many large windows. The craft shop would feel “tucked away” – a place set apart, cool and comfortable. And there would be an excitement felt when 150 campers and staff are packed into a room, or sitting on a deck – to laugh, sing, and listen.
Trust in the Lord. Wait patiently for Him!