Thirty years ago, the second year in our new home, my mom and dad came for a visit. Dad could never sit still, so he taught son Dirk, 11, how to drive our station wagon. They hooked up our small trailer and proceeded to move stones from a stone wall in the back of our property to build a 109’ stone wall across the front of our property. Inside the fence dad planted daffodil bulbs in clumps from one end to the other. Dad knew the daffodils would make beautiful flowers in increasing numbers year after year, with very little care. I have planted many more over the years and now I give away about 1,000 daffodils each spring. People enjoy them – deer do not.
Rich Sylvester and Russ Boronow spent many summers together at Deerfoot Lodge. Today Rich is the Director of Mont Lawn camp/conference center, and he hired Russ as the Director of Mont Lawn’s conference ministry. This camp/conference is part of the Bowery Mission in NYC. Each year 210 children, 95% of whom live in poverty in NYC, come to the camp for two weeks – 840 campers a summer. Rich has worked hard to change the staff from being almost totally white young people to being over 50% minority. Almost all of the staff are college students.
Russ has been working with Rich on the camp program for the past four summers, then switched to the conference ministry which has been expanding.
The Bowery Mission has recognized the excellence of the work Rich and Russ have been doing, and has gradually invested funds for the improvement of the facility. This year the mission is investing about $1,000,000 to build two large lodges – each of which has several bunk rooms with handicapped bathroom facilities. These rooms open up into a room with a vaulted ceiling where everyone can meet. A third building will be built in the near future. They are beautiful.
Rich and Russ have been bugging me to come see the facility development, meet some of their staff, and hear how the lives of some wonderful children and groups from very disadvantaged situations are being impacted. Recently I drove down for the day, taking with me 275 quality daffodil bulbs that will bloom over a three month period. Next spring Mont Lawn will be alive with daffodils – that in future years will make more daffodils. Multiplication…
After walking around the facility for a good hour, we sat down on picnic tables in the new pavilion. They told me of their love for the kids, the groups, the place. They are excited, and should be! We talked about the tough situations they must deal with, yet the joy remains!!!
One of the funny things I learned about was when a hunting store was going out of business; they brought all of their unsold clothing to the mission in NYC. It was decided that perhaps giving camouflage clothes to street people might just not be a good idea! “Rich, pick out what you can use, and sell the rest.
The staff went through the “goods” and picked out what they could use. A staff member took the rest to his hunting club…$20 per item. Back came several checks made out to the Bowery Mission, and a bundle of cash. I asked Rich if he turned in all of the cash.
He said “of course. About 20 years ago I went with you to the Speculator Post Office to buy stamps for Deerfoot, and pick up the mail. You then put your own letter on the counter – and bought a stamp for yourself”.”
Integrity is like daffodils – once it is planted, it has long term results, and it multiplies. Integrity is an integral part of living In Partnership With God. Exodus 20:15