Dale Harro, Born into the Depression #222

Dale Harro, MD died on September 16, 2014. He had served on the Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors for 33 years. Dale’s 5 sons were Deerfoot campers and staff members, and now his grandsons are Deerfooter’s. Dale and I made 23 round trips between Delmar, NY and Newark, NJ where Deerfoot’s Board of Directors meet every November. Through our hours riding together, I learned what I share with you. When Dale told of these experiences, it was almost always with a smile, a laugh. Through these, and many other experiences, Dale developed into an incredible man with a rock solid trust in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dale Harro lived In Partnership With God. I confirmed these remembrances with Dale’s son, Ted, who is now a member of Deerfoot’s Board of Directors.

Dale was born in 1929, the first year of the Great Depression. He was the youngest of 10 children. Soon after he was born, his father lost his job working for the railroad and the family lost their home.

They were able to live in a hovel with no indoor plumbing located on 26 acres. Dale’s father got a truck which he used to haul coal from the mines to people’s homes. At the age of 6 Dale was responsible to buy his own clothes. He earned his money cutting flowers on the “farm”, and he would sell them door to door in a more affluent area of a nearby town. When Dale began school, his teacher would give him ½ pt of chocolate milk for lighting the wood stove every morning. These were tough days for everyone – the recession hit its peak about 1937 – Dale would have been 8 years old. When Dale could reach the pedals, his father had him driving the coal truck. He laughed telling about the day the brakes on the old truck failed, and he headed for the ditch.

When Dale went to Wheaton College he worked in food service. This helped pay his tuition, and provided his food through the week. He shared a room with his brother. There was only one bed, so they slept at different times. They wore the same size, so they shared each other’s clothes. Every weekend their landlord gave them a loaf of bread and a bottle of peanut butter and of jelly. Dale said he wondered how they would have survived without them.

During Dale’s junior year of college, his father had a heart attack. Dale returned home to help care for his father. His father’s physician made house calls and noticed how good Dale was at caring for his dad. The doctor wrote a letter of recommendation for Dale to get into the Temple University Medical School. Even though he had just completed his junior year in college, Dale went for the arranged interview, as nervous as you can imagine. If he was accepted, he would have his draft requirement for the Korean War deferred. After he finished medical school, he would serve his 3 years of public service as a doctor.

During the interview, the Dean of the medical school said that he noticed that Dale had gone to a “religious” school. The Dean went on to say, that if Dale came to Temple Medical School, he would have to set aside his religion. Dale stood up and began to walk out of the office. The Dean asked him why he was leaving, and Dale told him he could never give up his religion. The Dean had him sit down. The Dean completed the interview and Dale was accepted and enrolled immediately.

When Dale did not register for the next semester at medical school, the Dean called him in and asked why. Dale said “no money.” The Dean told him to register anyway. From then on his tuition was paid.

Dale’s public service assignment was to provide medical service for a small town. Soon after he arrived, he came to realize that there was a very poor group of people in the area who were not able to use the clinic. He then set up a clinic for them. After serving the 3 years, he earned his Masters in Public Health from John Hopkins Medical School.

Next week: The impact these experiences had on how Dale lived his life In Partnership With God.

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant! part 1 #221

Dr. Dale Harro MD died this past week. He served on the DL Board of Directors for 33 years. Dale’s 5 sons were campers and staff members, and now his grandsons are campers and staff members. I confirmed my observations and remembrances with Ted Harro, Dale’s son, now a member of the Deerfoot Lodge Board of Directors.

I wish I could have been in heaven to hear Jesus say: “Dale, well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

Dr. Dale Harro, MD, became a member of the DL Board of Directors in 1980. Over time, average attendance had dropped from about 100 per session to 50 per session. Ray Hanelius, the present director, was a high school teacher and coach. It was impossible for him adequately recruit and train staff, seek camper registrations, and keep the facility and equipment in reasonably good condition.

Dale quickly realized that Deerfoot Lodge would have to hire a full time director, or close. In 1981, with his letter of resignation in his pocket, he shared with the Board his conviction. They agreed, knowing that all of the funding for the new Director, for necessary equipment, and for operating capital would have to come out of their pockets.

The Board asked Dale to be the chairman of the selection committee because he was not related by blood to any board member or any potential candidate. Then the word went out: Deerfoot Lodge was seeking a full time director. There were 11 applicants. Most had been DL staff and were related to Board members. I was #11, an unemployed camp director who, five months earlier, had been asked to resign.

When the selection committee had narrowed the number of applicants from 11 to 3, Sally Jo and I flew up from Dallas to see the Deerfoot facility. We met Dale in Albany, and drove together to Deerfoot where we were greeted by a blue sky, 6” of fresh powder, and a bright sun! You can’t begin to imagine our excitement when we walked up to Old Hardwood and looked across to the Dugs. This was not Texas!!!

Dale walked us through camp: Founder’s Lodge, Old Hardwood, the dining hall, the staff cabins, the health center, out to the Point, back through the Woodsmen section to the Island. We were freezing! We had seen enough of camp, but on and on we went. If Dale wanted us to see it…. We learned later that Dale was freezing too, but he was convinced we wanted to see it all!

As the sun set, we headed to the Harro home where we would spend the night. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and evening together. Lots of stories, lots of laughter!

The selection committee recommended me to the Deerfoot Lodge Board as the new Director. At the January Board meeting I was interviewed at length. Eventually I was asked to make myself comfortable in a chair down the hall. I waited and waited and wondered what I would do if I was not offered the job. I had turned down several employment opportunities – nothing seemed right. Sally Jo and I were both excited about this opportunity. And I waited. Eventually Dale came out laughing! The Board had quickly approved the selection committee’s recommendation – and then moved on to other business. They had totally forgotten about me!

After the meeting, Dale told me that I was “God’s man for the job”, and that I should never forget this. He went on to tell me that he knew, and I should realize, there would be great difficulties ahead…”Chuck, remember: you are God’s man for the job!” The difficulties came. I found comfort and courage in those few words.

Success! #220


When the “camper car” comes over and down the hill, every returning camper and staff member is looking for The Pig. The road into camp just “feels” good. The Gazebo, Founders, Old Hardwood, Whitaker Lake, the Dugs – even as we read this progression, every landmark brings memories.

And very little changes. Friends from the same session last year are back, and new campers are met. Then its line up, into the dining hall, sing, pray, good food. End the evening with a campfire and the same crazy campfire songs that have been sung at DL, most for 50 years.

In instructional areas there is always something new to learn. It is ok to fail to even hit the target. “I can do this!” And then the target is missed again…then finally hit consistently. In camp craft a first year camper fails to build his fire on his first try, possibly on his second – no big deal. In time fire building will be routine.

“Bringing Out the Best in People” is a book that was required reading during staff training. Rule # 4 “Create an environment when failure is not fatal”. The standards are not lowered to prevent failure. Yes, at DL there is failure, lots of it. But with more teaching, practice, and encouragement eventually the fire is built, the archery target is hit, and the “canoe to the point and back” are passed. Fear of failure decreases. Skills develop. Self discipline and self confidence grow. Success is achieved. “Yes – I did it! Boss! I knew I could!”

I worked with my grandson, Tobiah, so that when he got to DL, he was ready to pass his basic in canoeing. After camp:”Tobiah, did you get your basic?” “Grandaddy, I passed all my strokes but did not go straight on my point and back – but I will do it next year, for sure!” I gave him a hug, said I knew it would be tough – and we laughed together. Tobiah and I will canoe together between now and his next session at DL. Fun for both of us!

There is an easy shift from the work required to earn a basic, advanced, or master’s in the instructional areas, to living as God’s man – living a life pleasing to God! In order to live as God’s man, the basics must be learned through teaching and personal Bible reading. Gradually an understanding is gained of what it mean’s to be God’s man. At Deerfoot it really helps that DL campers, and staff, are surrounded by other DL campers and staff who are also seeking to live lives pleasing to God. None of us ever hits the bull’s eye every time. Failure is not fatal! Forgiveness is available! We keep working at doing what is right every time – to God’s standard. And God’s standard is never lowered. Keep lowering the standard, and soon there is no awareness of wrong, of failure, of sin.

And so we leave Deerfoot Lodge. What encouraged us to live as God’s men is required in some form if we are to live lives pleasing to the Lord. We need to have Christian friends around us – at least at church. We need to have someone continue to teach us about living as God’s man. And we need to take the time to thoughtfully to read the Bible and to pray.

With archery, when practice stops, eventually there is no chance of hitting the bull’s eye. If we stop learning from God’s people, being encouraged by God’s people through how they live and what they say, and stop even picking up the Bible… Enough said.

On July 1, while on a plane heading for Memphis, I realized that I had not been faithful in having my devotions. I am not sure when my pattern, my self discipline failed, but it did. It was time to begin again if I was to live as God’s man, In Partnership With God. Having my daily time with the Lord is included in “Do what is right, every time.”

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. — II Timothy 3:16-17

Does Someone Care About Me? #219

I am sitting, right now, in a restaurant in the Charlotte, NC airport. The music filling the room is of a broken person crying out “Everyone needs to know someone cares!” I have thought about writing this for many months.

At DL, a car with a very uneasy 1st time camper drives up to the gazebo. A Guide welcomes the family, asks for the name of the camper, checks the list, gives the driver a sheet telling about the registration process, and helps the camper get his “stuff” out of the trunk The car is parked, the family is together again. Another Guide walks up, asks the camper his name, picks up much of the campers “stuff” and the two of them talk as they walk toward Founder’s Lodge. The camper checks in, gets a stick-on name tag, and is given his cabin assignment…again, name! A Woodsman Assistant Counselor calls him by name and they go to his cabin where the camper is greeted by his counselor – by name. His counselor can look at the name tag, but often he has previously seen the camper’s picture in the staff lounge. … Every effort is made to help the camper quickly feel he is welcome, that he is important, “that somebody cares”.

This “someone cares” takes a very different form if the camper is returning for his fifth summer. The car drives up, and the camper hops out with a huge grin…”Boss!” He’s back, and he knows his DL friend from New Jersey will be there, and he’s seen on the DL Tracks staff list who his Section Chief will be – “I know him”. As he heads for the Island he sees a few more familiar faces – and on the Island…laughs, hugs, stories. “I’m back!”. Gong rings, line up for flag lowering. I am there, just like I have been every session he has been in camp. This is Deerfoot. Nothing much changes.

This “someone cares” is so very important when the camper comes from a troubled home, that is better described as a house. Yes, mom may take her son to soccer practice, but he knows she sees this driving a necessary evil…an interruption of what is really important to her, an irritation. For some, when the boy arrives home from school, no one is home so he gets some food and goes to his room with his computer so he can play his video games and talk with his “Facebook” friends. No one listens to what has happened at school, be it good or bad. It is lonely. That someone cares means so much to the quiet student with bad complexion who goes to a large school where he is bullied. Yes, he has thought about suicide. A smile, a hug, a word of encouragement means so much. And to get this treatment all day…incredible! Yes, Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place – but it is also their place, and they know this.

You and I are no longer at Deerfoot Lodge. I smile when someone calls me by name and asks about my wife, or our dog. And Linda, or Bernice, or Judy smile when I walk into the plant nursery and call them by name, and then we talk a few minutes…what about does not really matter. We care about each other. (I have their names written down…memory is not my strong point!!!)

Does it really matter if they know I am a Christian? If I live In Partnership With God, should not the reality of Jesus’ love come through regardless? Do I really need to think…”I must love them because Jesus loves me?” Love is a Fruit of the Spirit. Everyone I meet is God’s creation…loved by God, just as I am – Jesus died for us. Can we really be indifferent to the people we meet, particularly to those who see themselves as one of the least… like the woman at the cash register at Wal-Mart. It takes only a moment to bring a smile to their face.

Sally Jo and I are friends with a couple at church. On a very difficult day the wife shared with us how one of high school teachers said she was the worst looking girl in the school. She finds it hard to believe anyone really cares about her. On a very difficult day she said to me, “Chuck, I think I could walk around this church stark naked and no one would notice.” Sally Jo and I have worked at demonstrating we really do care about her – for years! So much scar tissue.

The Bible clearly tells us to love…others, our neighbor, our enemies, our brothers in Christ. Loving requires caring.

Do we consistently bring the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness?

Showing love may take but a moment, or years. It may be easy, or very difficult.

God’s Less Obvious Miracles – prepared for DL Staff 2014 #218

It is always good to tell God’s provision for DL in terms of “miracle stories”: Money given, Protection from a storm…

But most of God’s provision for Deerfoot Lodge has come through people. People who had been through tough experiences. They had found God faithful, but life not easy! With feelings of failure and pain, these people believed in God’s faithfulness. They accepted their struggle, determined to do God’s will. For these people, God’s plan was DL.

I came to DL after being asked to resign as Director of a Christian camp in TX. Total shock!! Then my mom died. Sally Jo and I turned down what appeared to be wonderful job/ministry opportunities. None “felt right” for us. I was invited to apply to become Deerfoot’s Director. I was told DL was in a mess: the previous summer, many staff members had not lived as God’s men. For many reasons, over time attendance had dropped from about 100 to 48 per session. Program equipment was broken or missing. Annual operating contributions were down to $13,000. The facility was in poor repair.

The good? The Deerfoot Board recognized all of this and wanted to provide the support necessary for the right person to turn things around! Sally Jo and I both felt Deerfoot was God’s provision for us – and we could be God’s provision for Deerfoot Lodge. This proved to be true. After becoming Director, I spent the first 5 months mostly away from my family who were in Texas. Through overnights with most every Board member, I learned the philosophy and the program of DL. I soon learned that the program developed by Dad Kunz over a 23 year period was excellent…and camp grew. But much of what he had developed was lost during the 24 years and 7 Directors after Dad Kunz had retired. A major challenge for me was to bring back Deerfoot Lodge as it had historically been.

To go back to the past required that the bicycle and cross country camps, kayaking and rock climbing instructional areas had to be discontinued. Board members agreed that the 5:00 PM Bible study should be discontinued. All agreed that Bible teaching should be done through Deerfoot Lodge staff members, and not through bringing in different Bible teachers. These decisions were not difficult. No miracles needed!!

I had never seen Deerfoot Lodge in operation. I had never directed a wilderness camp. I had no clear picture of how to get camp operational for the summer. I pretty well knew how Deerfoot Lodge needed to change, but I also knew changes brought by a new Director are often not welcomed. When chosen by the DL Board to be the Director I was told “Chuck, we believe you are God’s man for the job. Remember this when things get tough!” Lord Help Me!!

God provided through major, non-dramatic miracles, the exceptionally qualified people needed to get Deerfoot Lodge back on track. I had no clue the following people would be available. Neither did they!

Not long before camp was to begin, I was desperately trying to find a nurse for the summer. I learned that nurse Lynn Gosling might be available. Bill Gosling had been asked to resign from his position in a Christian school. We hired Lynn and also got Bill. Lynn was the camp nurse for 15 summers, and that 1st summer Bill, an experienced writer and editor, was a key person in the development the 1st DL staff manual. Deerfoot was God’s provision for Bill and Lynn, and they were God’s provision for Deerfoot Lodge.

When Bud Williams, PhD, who taught at a Christian college and at their summer camp, returned from his sabbatical, he was told by the camp Director that his teaching was no longer needed. Bud taught camping philosophy and programming and had considerable wilderness camping experience. Bud provided the outline and core content for the DL staff manual which now is over 400 pages. Now over 800 camps around the world have copies. Deerfoot was God’s provision for Bud. Bud was God’s provision for Deerfoot Lodge, and through DL to many other camps.

When Dave Naysmith, Deerfoot’s Chef for many years, returned after taking a summer off because of the timing of the birth of their daughter, Dean Dover/Wazican, whom Nay had trained, was the chef. Dave stepped out of the kitchen and co-ordinated much of Deerfoot’s camping program, and ran tripping. Chief Nay needed a new position at Deerfoot – Deerfoot needed Chief Nay’s knowledge/skill set.

During that first summer, many staff and camper discipline issues had to be dealt with. I remember the wisdom gained by talking with this leadership team. At first I really had to be really tough. Theft was the norm. At the beginning of each session I went through the paddle wheel, stood up and told the campers and staff that if we learned they were stealing, they would go through the paddle wheel, and I would explain the stealing and the discipline to their parents. We took some campers off the mailing list. My staff interviews and background checks became very extensive.

You will face huge challenges this summer: You will have campers that are incredibly difficult to relate to, much less to build as godly young men. Consider that they have been entrusted to you by God! Endure, perhaps triumph! You may have a serious injury on the trail, a seeming million miles from the help at camp. Not your choice!! Trust God as you do your best.

Throughout your life you will have major difficulties, disappointments, challenges – call them what you will, but they will come. How many people in the Bible can you think of who did not have real struggles? When the bewilderment comes, remember God’s love, depend upon His faithfulness. God is preparing you for the next work He has for you to do. That work may seem insignificant. Don’t believe it! When I returned to school for my second master’s degree, I took a very small church so I could focus on my school work: 219 members, with an average attendance of 8. One of those 8 was Chris Philips, a high school student. Today he is the founding minister for a church with a Christian school of about 600 students.

Remember Paul’s charge to Timothy: You know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings — what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. The Lord rescued me from all of them. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus — II Timothy 10-11, 2:3

Remember that the Apostle Paul prayed several times that the Lord would remove his thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, and this did not happen! Paul endured, and was used by the Lord, perhaps more than any other Apostle. “Press on!”

Deerfoot Lodge is “His Place”, and it is your place this summer – to do the work God prepared in advance for you to do. Hopefully you will have tough challenges this summer – challenges to your faith, your skills, your self discipline. Here God is further preparing you for the work He has waiting for you to do. Do not disqualify yourself through willful disobedience to His will, His way. Yes, God does forgive…and yes, God knows your heart – which can be good news or bad news.

It’s Staff Training Time at “The Lodge”! #217

Deerfoot’s purpose is to build godly young men. As the Director of DL, my primary focus was on building the staff as godly young men. There were several reasons for this.

1. Most of what is learned during staff training is useful in many contexts. In the staff manual, under Operational Objectives it says “give evidence that they are developing as Christian leaders.” Our world is desperately in need of capable, Christian leaders in churches, businesses, communities…

2. All of what is taught in staff training is put into use during the summer camping program. The staff works with the campers under very careful supervision, and throughout the summer the staff was/is coached to improve their skills.

3. It was impossible for me, with a staff of 70 and up to 160 campers, to provide focused attention on 230 people.

4. As staff members received more training, gained more experience, they were able to use their abilities to assist me, and those working under them. I worked at never having a person in the counseling staff serve in the same position twice. As a staff member gained more experience, they received greater responsibility. A Guide became an Assistant Counselor, and then a Counselor. After being counselor, many different positions became possible: Section Chief, Guide Leader, Assistant to the Director, Water Front Director, Tripping Director, Crafts Director. Being on the Maintenance or Kitchen Staff is an option. Section Chiefs, Guide Leaders, and the Assistant to the Director, Tripping Director were all given teaching responsibilities during staff training.

In the three days before staff training began, I would have the Section Chiefs, Guide Leaders and my assistant to our home to talk through plans for staff training, and these changed a bit each summer. After the schedule was finalized, teaching assignments were made.
In February one year I had a pace-maker “installed.” In May the meds I was on were not having the desired effect and I was heading towards congestive heart failure. On the Sunday morning staff training was to begin, I went to the hospital and those involved in planning staff training went to DL and began the staff training program. After a week I was given clearance by my cardiologist to go straight from the hospital to Deerfoot. As I regained my strength I was able to begin to participate in the staff training program. The quality of the men, and the years of DL training and experience, enabled the leadership team to do an incredible job!!

While Director I was privileged to have many top quality young men at DL for 8 to 13 summers. What an incredible discipling / training opportunity. An example of the training possible through DL is Chief Ron, now the Director of Deerfoot Lodge. While I was Director, Ron was a Guide, Assistant Counselor, Counselor, Section Chief, Guide Leader, Tripping Director, and my Assistant. While Ron was my Assistant, I was able to take the Allagash River trip as the assistant to Nick Dotti. After his summers at DL, and before he became Deerfoot’s Director, Chief Ron was able to provide pastoral leadership in 3 churches.

Garret Larson, Craig Boronow, and Rich Sylvester went through this training and became Camp Directors. Eric Heipel directs a camp/conference center in MN. Seth Coates did the above and worked on maintenance under Ken Hoffman, and is now the Director of Windfall Rafting, and works with Craig at Moose River Outpost for the off-season retreat ministry. Russ Boronow worked in several positions at DL and now heads the retreat ministry of Mont Lawn, a camp/conference center in PA. It is interesting to note that all of the above men became Deerfoot Lone Eagles.

I sought to live In Partnership With God as did all of the leadership team at DL. Our challenge was to build godly young men, men who would live In Partnership With God. What a privilege!

Perhaps only parents have a greater opportunity to build godly young people – and when parents focus their time and energy on this unique privilege, Deerfoot Lodge is able to reinforce the work done by parents. This is the norm for DL staff.

Endurance! #216

Deerfoot Lodge is good at developing endurance: “the ability to withstand hardship, adversity, or stress” – Webster’s Dictionary

The staff arrives for three weeks of training and the first thing on the agenda is to carry the treated lumber dock sections (heavy!) from Founders Lodge to the waterfront. The sections are taken from a stack 6’ high, out the door and carefully lifted up and over the padded railing to a waiting group of 6 staff members who then slowly go down the uneven hill to the waterfront. Try this in the rain. Yes, it builds unity.

The staff needing life guard certification receives their training in Whitaker Lake when the water is 50–60 degrees. This training is really tough on cool, breezy days when the black flies are biting!

Consider what it takes to carry a 45lb pack up and down 4 of the High Peaks in one day. Now change your picture from a sunny to a rainy day and you are heading up where water is pouring down the rocks at you. I’ve done it many times. I remember the staff training hike when there was so much water that in normally soggy areas the wooden walk ways were floating. Do you step up onto them – and they sink, or go around them into what is certainly deep mud. Moisture absorbing socks swelled inside my boots…pain! Quit? How?

The kitchen is really hot in July. Taking 104 pizzas out of the ovens – endurance. How can you quit? Stir a boiling pot of spaghetti sauce. Wash pans in hot water….

Endurances must mix with patience and kindness when, every night, a Woodsman camper, afraid of the dark, wakes up his counselor to go with him to the Waldorf – and still wets his sleeping bag every night. This same camper complains bitterly on his overland hike, even though his counselor is carrying everything the camper is taking, except his sleeping bag!

I gave the stroke test for the Master’s in canoeing: 16 different strokes plus docking the canoe with the middle thwart hitting my toe.If a person was really struggling, he knew we would change places so I could demonstrate how the stroke should be done. To pass, each stroke and the dock landing had to be perfect. Counselor David Peterson, now a Vermont State Trouper, failed the test 9 times – passing on his 10th attempt. David knew he had mastered his strokes.

“Hey Chief Chuck, its upsetting to lose you – I mean who is going to check my strokes for like the 10th time, but you have made me stronger in the Lord.” Ricky – in the notes from Islanders to me when I retired.

Notice how he tied the physical/mental endurance tied into what is required in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Endurance: devotions almost every day, exercising, studying hard to get even a C, hugging a child who did his best, and did not make the cut for the soccer team. Endurance: working through a tough marital relationship, caring for a mentally or physically challenged child. Endurance: a parent with Alzheimer’s. Endurance: waiting for an answer to prayer.

The Apostle Paul’s Charge to Timothy: “You know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” I Timothy 3:10-11, 2:3

Only What Is Needed! #213

Most DL counselors arrive with all they will need for the summer in a back pack, duffle bag or equivalent. Support staff may bring a bit more due to their storage area in the Hutch Cabin, but not much.

Everything they need for 11 weeks: Bible, notebook, a couple pens, a flashlight, tooth brush… and clothes for rain, cold, and hot, and what’s needed for swimming, hiking trips, canoe trips, banquet night and Sunday morning.

What people wear or have is not a matter of concern, though it is fun to see some new piece of camping technology someone brought. Nothing extra. Time is not spent on deciding what to wear, nor is it spent on taking care of very much. It seems the more weeks young men spend at DL, the less they bring. After 10 summers, they don’t arrive with much.

Jesus and His disciples had fewer physical things than did DL counselors.

Because the disciples and the DL staff did not have much stuff, the staff was able to focus on caring for people and their spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Time was not spent on deciding what to wear, or watching TV or on the phone or at the computer or reading the newspaper.

As Jesus and His disciples, and the DL staff and campers, fished in the calm of early morning, or hiked on the trail for many hours, there were many hours to talk, to think, to pray…and laugh and, perhaps, cry together.

As for me, I have a canoe – and we also have a house with furniture, and windows that need washing, and a deck and a porch, a yard with grass and flowers, a vegetable garden, and blueberry bushes (10 gallons frozen last summer), and raspberries and rhubarb. And we also have a mower, weed whacker and small rototiller, and garden hoses and 2 shovels, 2 hoes, a dandelion digger, and a snow blower…and clothes – multiples of everything. Plus a desk top computer and two printers, and a notebook computer, cell phone, and now a Kindle.

Who has more time for people…Jesus and His disciples, the DL staff members, or me? Who has more time to think and read and pray? Who has more time to respond to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit?

Sometimes I get it right: Tuesday lunch at Wendy’s with Sam, who has Alzheimer’s. A call to Sal’s wife: “How did the surgery go?” Fixing breakfast for a friend on Thursday. How often would God like to use me like this?

I doubt I sense the still small voice of God when pushing to get the lawn mowed, the garden weeded, new seeds planted, a table from the porch repaired, and the trim on the front door painted. The more we have, the more we must care for. Perhaps the more we have, the less I can focus on Living In Partnership with God.

Should we move to a condo, thus greatly reducing what we have, and what we need to care for, seeking to keep in mind that we are making this move significantly because we want to be more available to God? That is a scary thought, and the answer is not easy!

We had 23 here for Easter dinner, 12 were children (we hid over 200 eggs!). People frequently come here for a meal, a day, an overnight, a week. Is this why we live where and as we do? The yard and gardens require considerable physical work! I am sure we would not work as hard or as faithfully if we got our exercise at the “Y”. Nor would we have the fresh organic fruits and vegetables and fresh air to enjoy.

What is rationalization? What is God’s will? I really do want to live “In Partnership With God”.

Where God Dwells #214

Over the piano, seen by everyone who walks into the dinning hall, are the words: This is His Place.

Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place when the staff meeting begins promptly at 7:00 on Founder’s Lodge porch – as the mist comes off the lake and the sun comes up over the Dugs. DL is God’s place while the details of the day’s schedule are reviewed by the Director, a staff member brings a brief devotional focused on the truths of the Bible as they relate to DL, and as the staff stands at the railing to sing a hymn to the campers who are waking up to a “Beautiful Day at The Lodge.”

DL is His place when the campers are having quiet time. It’s His place when the campers have finished their breakfast of cereal, pancakes and sausage, and are singing the same choruses with the piano and five guitars that have been sung since… before the counselors were born. Deerfoot Lodge is His Place during the 10 – 12 minute After Breakfast Bible Study and when the campers head out to their instructional area.

Deerfoot is God’s place during flex time when campers play soccer, tether ball, go to the camp store, swim, canoe, sail, fish, play foos ball, floor hockey – or sit on the grass on the hill in front of the dining hall, looking at the lake.

Throughout the summer I encouraged the staff, and the campers, to “Do What is Right, Every Time”. Our challenge is to Live In Partnership With God in such a way that we are able to recognize the needs of the people around us – and then to care for them through the enabling power of God’s spirit. Doing what is right for others is not easy, for it often costs us something: time, pride, strength – yes, and sometimes money. Doing what is right before the Lord is not easy for it goes contrary to our sinful nature. Doing what is right often begins with self-control – calming down to consciously ask God for help. Having likeminded people around us is a tremendous encouragement.

Doing what was right caused the staff to push themselves to love the campers as themselves – some times more than they loved themselves at a particular moment. Doing what is right before the Lord, day after day, rain or shine, great camper or struggling camper – the circumstance does not matter. What matters is that the counselors have a God-given responsibility. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10.

While Deerfoot Counselors are directly involved with the campers, no one is thinking “I have to show the Fruit of the Spirit”. The counselors focus is not on the Fruit of the Spirit, but on the needs of the campers, and those needs are met as the counselors ask for, and receive, the needed Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control – the work of the Holy Spirit within them.

Foundational to doing what is right before the Lord is reading our Bibles, spending time in prayer, and being part of a Christian community. As we maintain our relationship with God, we do become aware of people in need – sometimes great need! At such moments we can reach out to help the person, be they our children, or our husband/wife, the person we sit next to on the bus, work with every day, or the person at church who is often alone, or a visitor, or a close friend. And we reach out with the humble recognition that we need God’s help: “Lord Jesus, I need your love, your wisdom, your strength. Guaranteed: God is concerned about your heart’s desire, not the words you use! Often we do not know the Fruit of the Spirit for we do little that requires them.

Ask the DL counselors at the end of the summer if God has enabled them to be loving, joyful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. They will tell you of miracles – God has used them to impact camper’s lives for His glory.

We too can have this privilege of usefulness to God. This is what Living In Partnership With God is all about.

I Encourage You to Post the Following #213

I Encourage You to post the following:

Live love with a smile…the smile of the abundant life Jesus came to give us!
Live the Fruit of the Spirit – others will notice!

Ask Deerfoot campers if being this way pretty well describes their counselors.

Love is patient
Love is kind
it does not envy
it does not boast
it is not proud
it is not rude
it is not self-seeking
it is not easily angered
it keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
it always protects
it always trusts
it always hopes
it always perseveres
Love never fails
— I Corinthians 13:4-8

The Fruit of the Spirit:

— Ephesians 5:22-23

I encourage you to live like a DL counselor this week!

Be a fun person who is serious about life!

Live In Partnership With God