In the context of being interviewed for the position of Director of Deerfoot Lodge I learned all I could about the ministry. Sally Jo and I had visited the facility; I had reviewed a variety of reports and asked many questions. The situation was not good. Camper attendance over a 15 year period was down about 50%. The facilities were in need of considerable repair. Annual contributions were down to $13,000 annually. The camp was operating in the red, and there had been some discussion about closing Deerfoot Lodge.
But then again, I was not in a good situation either!!!!
Almost five months earlier I had been asked to resign – for reasons I did not know. I had a wife and three children, and our money was running out. Emotionally I was not doing real well either, though I was not in as bad a shape as Elijah when “He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord’”. I Kings 19:24, and my wife was supportive, not like Job’s wife who said: “Curse God and die!” Job 2:9
During several hours of meeting with the selection committee there were many questions and considerable discussion. I remember being asked something like “Chuck, you have moved five times during your 17 years of ministry. At Sky Ranch you had a year around staff of at least 9. At Deerfoot Lodge you will have a year around staff of 1 – you. What reason do we have to expect that you can adjust to this change, and will stay for more than a few years?”
I had thought through my answer to this question. “I have told the Lord that I would like to spend my life building lives, not building another camp or helping to “fix” another ministry. I would like to remain the Director of Deerfoot Lodge for 25 years, until I retire.”
After being hired as the Director of Deerfoot Lodge, the head of the selection committee, Dale Harro, told me that the selection committee had interviewed eleven candidates, most of whom had Deerfoot experience as camper or staff member. At the end of all the interviews, each member of the selection committee was asked to write down the name of the person they believed should become the Director of Deerfoot Lodge. Every member of the committee wrote down my name. Then he said: “Chuck, always remember when things get tough, and they will, you are God’s choice for this position.”
- Noah was God’s choice, and he built an ark for over 100 years.
- Joseph was God’s choice, and he was sold as a slave and later thrown into prison unjustly.
- Moses was God’s choice, and he was leader of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years.
- Nehemiah was God’s choice, and he had to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
- Daniel was God’s choice, and went to the lion’s den.
- John the Baptist, Stephen, Peter, and Paul were God’s choices too.
During the 23 years I served as Director of Deerfoot Lodge, there were many difficult times. Often I would think back to what Dale Harro said: “Remember Chuck, you are God’s Choice”.
Living In Partnership With God is both a comfort…and a challenge!