Deerfoot is a very big place to see on a cold December day when walking on a foot of snow, yet this was my total exposure to DL prior to my arrival for staff training. Between January and May, while talking with staff from the previous summer and DL Board members, I came to the conclusion that DL was a well equipped wilderness camp and thus gave no further thought to equipment needs for the summer.
When I arrived in June for staff training, as camp was being unpacked from winter storage, I began a serious equipment inventory. Vans are big and hard to miss! Slowly I realized DL did not have the vans needed for the hiking program I envisioned, and I had no clue where to get two safe, working vans quickly and cheaply.
When I went into the tripping area, I was greeted with very sober faces. As the packs and tents were taken from their storage bins, the counselors had come to realize that many of the packs and tents were worn out from years and years of use, and others were in obvious need of serious repair: tears, broken zippers, and missing straps. They did find plastic which had been used the previous summer in place of tents, but everyone knew from personal experience that even if the plastic kept the campers dry, it would did not keep away the insects…like black flies. DL had been through several years of slowly declining enrollment and decreasing contributions. New program equipment had been low on the essential expenditure list.
The DL Board had made it clear to me: Be sure DL has what is necessary to have an excellent summer camp. We all knew the dollars were tight.
Somehow we located two cheap, safe, working vans from Canada. By phone we were told the vans were old, boxy, 16 passenger school buses used the previous school year. As promised, French Connection I & II worked well, but it was not very comforting to sit in a seat and look through rusted out places to the ground below. A lot of salt is used on the roads in Canada! But, they worked and somehow passed their NY vehicle inspections. For the next several years DL used these reliable, rusted out, ugly machines – they got the job done.
I priced new tents and back packs – ouch! Then into camp came the Director of Gordon College’s outdoor recreation program, La Vida. He welcomed me to the area and asked if there was anyway he could help. When asked about sources for back packs and tents, he told me the name and phone number of the person who could help us become dealers for Johnson Camping, who made Timberline Tents (DL now has 73!) and Wilderness Experience, which made back packs and sleeping bags. I made the call and DL became a dealer for both companies. I placed the order and we were promised delivery by the first hike day.
How God provides that we may accomplish His work is not our concern. Our concern is to continue working at what we believe God has given it to do. It is when God steps into our otherwise hopeless situation with a workable solution that we realize His greatness…and we rest a bit more easily in His care.
We often grow in faith because we have to – if we are to live In Partnership With God.
Hebrews 11 has been called “The Roll Call of Faith” and begins with “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” and then gives the names of many people who lived by faith, with a sentence or two about each: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, Moses and his parents, Joshua.
In that same chapter we read “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” — Hebrews 11:6