Two families at Family Escape in July enjoyed various activities, including tie-dye and the new escape room.
In July while many families looked for ways to soak up summer with ever-changing restrictions and safety concerns, a couple families attended Pine Lake’s very first Family Escape Weekend, a fun way to deepen their relationship with God and each other.
With the help of trained summer staff, the families enjoyed the time-tested camp fun of zip line, boating, tie-dye, archery, and low ropes course; and conquered the challenges of Pine Lake’s new Escape Room! Pictured above, right, the Escape Room challenged families to work togetherin order to find and solve clues to break free!
Each family rested comfortably in their own climate-controlled lodging and prepared meals in their own kitchen space in Tall Pines.
While both families expressed gratitude for the time and memories made at camp, the kids look forward returning (or coming for the first time!) to Pine Lake as campers next summer! Nothing can replace the wonder of summer camp!
Sad you missed the first Family Escape?
The next one is September 4th – 7th (Labor Day Weekend).
With the help of our Winter Service volunteers December through February, the gym walls were prepared for the final step for interior finishes. In late March, a local contractor finished installing the wall carpet! Following many years of donor support and volunteer and skilled labor, Tall Pines Fellowship Center is “officially” complete. Praise God! We give Him all the glory and are grateful for his provision in this journey. We look forward to the next group who will enjoy Tall Pines Fellowship Center!
It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart that I inform you that the Pine Lake Fellowship Camp Board of Directors along with our year-round staff have made the decision to suspend Pine Lake Fellowship Camp summer camp programs in 2020. Our strong commitment to the health and safety of campers, families, staff, and volunteers will prevent us from being together due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear summer camp cannot be the nurturing and encouraging environment we know and love with physical distancing and other difficulties. This decision is our best effort to care for and prevent an outbreak in each of our camper and staff communities. This decision includes overnight and day camp programs.
I know that this comes as a disappointment to each of you. It is to each of us as well. Since last Fall, countless hours of time and energy have been invested in preparing for another amazing summer of ministry!
Most summer staff were hired.
Facilities received facelifts with the help of many volunteers.
New and exciting features and activities were prepared.
We have all been praying for campers and staff
It pains us to think of Pine Lake’s rolling campus to sit empty this summer. To know that each evening, no campfire will burn on the Island, that instead of campers and staff singing worship songs to God under the stars, they’ll be at home. The challenge course, where campers in cabin unity, friendship, and self-confidence will instead serve as lonely platforms and old telephone poles in the woods. There will be no staff meeting where a summer staffer joyously shares that they prayed with his/her camper who decided to follow Christ at campfire the previous evening. To think about these not happening breaks each of our hearts.
While we can’t gather with one another in person, we can come together in prayer. Please join us in praying for the following:
Campers and their families: We realize this is yet another loss in a series of losses this spring. While there is no summer camp to look forward to, we know that God is present everywhere, not just at Pine Lake. Pray for God to be at work in the activities, lessons, and relationships they experience this summer. May they lead to a deeper faith in Christ.
Summer Staff: These servant-hearted young people have been anticipating and preparing to serve and nurture campers this summer. Pray for God to use their energy to nurture young believers and grow in their faith this summer.
Year-Round Staff: After months of preparation for summer camp 2020, we now pivot to re-imagine how the mission of Pine Lake can be carried out in the new circumstances we all face. May God continue to use Pine Lake to increase His kingdom.
We trust in God’s promises. We trust that He is working all things out for his good and that even though it feels like we’re walking in the valley, he is still God.
We are planning on alternative ways to connect with campers and families this summer. They cannot replace summer camp, but we hope that they will bring that same camp feel and nostalgia to each of you.
Thank you for your past and continued support. We'll see you next summer.
ALREADY REGISTERED FOR CAMP?
Parents who have already paid a deposit or any amount over are asked to choose between the following options:
Receive a Full Refund
Donate to Pine Lake Fellowship Camp
Please reply to an email that was sent to you or contact our office with your choice of the above options (email@example.com).
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the streams.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
-Jeremiah 17:7 I bought too much cheese. Never mind that I can barely consume one small block of cheese before it molds, or that we should avoid overbuying right now. As the words “global pandemic,” “unprecedented,” “stay-at-home order”, etc. swirled in my head, I plunked 2 fat bricks of cheese (one mozzarella, one cheddar) into my cart, and felt a fleeting wave of reassurance.
The need for reassurance is natural; it’s human. But reassurance via cheese? God offers a reassurance far richer than stockpiles of cheese or toilet paper, the news, the stock market, or any government we might (unintentionally) place our trust and time in.
Jeremiah reminds us that true confidence comes from the Lord. As we reach out to Christ for nourishment, He fills us with knowledge of His unfailing power and love. We can stand tall in times of uncertainty and stress, knowing we have no reason to fear, for our Lord walks with us. No matter our circumstances, when we draw strength from Christ, we can bear His fruit and share His love and peace with the people around us. How can you intentionally place your trust in God? What are three things you can do to share God’s love with someone else?
This post was written by Suzanne Opel, Program Director and was part of PLFC's April 2020 newsletter update Check it out!
Mr. Willie presented with a wall hanging for his kitchen by members of World Renew.
“In His service, World Renew volunteers,” were the final words at a home dedication Meridian resident Mr. Willie on March 20. Mr. Willie had a tree fall on and destroy part of his home during an EF-2 tornado in April 2018. As a result, he was left with no kitchen or bathroom for two years and had to use homes of other nearby family members. “Now, l live in a mansion,” said Mr. Willie thanked World Renew facilitators Gary & Bev Van Noort and Jack & Pat Buist after the dedication.
For nearly two months, dozens of volunteers helped rebuild the back side of his house in just 5 weeks. World Renew: Disaster Reponse Services “set up camp” at Pine Lake from February 6-March 20 to provide relief to homeowners affected by the tornado. In that time, PLFC was the host site for 95 volunteers who served at Mr. Willie’s and several other storm damaged homes. After working in the rain and mud each day, volunteers kicked back each evening to renew their strength and energy with conversation around the table or a walk around the lake. One group of volunteer students from Grand Valley State University even spent a few days at PLFC cleaning cabins and painting bathhouses. Then students prayed over the cabins for campers to take their next step with Christ this summer. Praise God!
Ms. Mavis Scott’s home was built from the ground up in only 5 weeks by another group of volunteers from Orland Park Christian Reformed Church (Illinois). At her home dedication on March 12, dozens of volunteers, community leaders, and partner agencies gathered to give her the keys to a new home. She is thankful for a home “that isn’t falling down” (Watch Ms. Mavis in her own words). This church even secured a $20,000 grant to help Ms. Mavis. As hands and feet of the Church, each volunteer gave their time, skills, and finances to demonstrate Christ's hope to not only people in need, but an entire community. Pine Lake is humbled to have played a supporting role in this example of love. The Meridian community as well as our Pine Lake staff are inspired by World Renew’s mission and call to service. Thank you to each volunteer and partner agency for your role in this mission.
A heartwarming news report of the impact World Renew volunteers made in the Meridian community.
World Renew Disaster Response Services
Mr. Willie presented with a wall hanging for his kitchen
L-R Mr willie daugher, Pat Buist, Gary Van Noort, Bev Van Noort, Jack Buist
This post was written by Matt Graybill, Executive Director and was part of PLFC's April 2020 newsletter update Check it out!
The following a summary of the reflections that Matt Graybill, Executive Director, shared at the dedication of Tall Pines Fellowship Center on August 30, 2019.
Matt Graybill, Executive Director, shares reflections from the Growing the Pines Capital Campaign journey
Our theme for the weekend is “God is Faithful.” It’s a fundamental truth about God’s character. He is faithful. It is supported numerous times in scripture and expressed through covenants in the Old testament and prophesy of the coming of Jesus Christ. We see the faith of God’s people as well. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Hebrews 11. It’s commonly known as the “heroes of faith” chapter. By faith Abraham… By faith Noah, and so on.
When I reflect on the reason why we’re here in Tall Pines this morning, it’s to celebrate God’s faithfulness. Not just because we have this new facility. It’s because there is a place like Pine Lake.
Expanding on that chapter of Hebrew, I decided to reflect on the “heros” of camp.
Hand written minutes from the first meeting of what would develop into Pine Lake Fellowship Camp
By faith a group of people met to talk about starting a camp in Nov. 1965
By faith, the funds were put up to by 74 acres and three horses
By faith, Family Camp started in 1967
By faith, the Lodge was dreamed and constructed and changed the trajectory of Pine Lake. That facility is nearing 20 years old.
By faith, many people have come into relationship with Jesus Christ.
And by faith, in the fall of 2008, Pine Lake launched the “Growing the Pines, Building the Future” capital campaign. If you were at Camp Sale in 2008, you may remember watching the appeal video for the first time. This campaign vision was to expand ministry capacity and construct a new facility, Tall Pines Fellowship Center, to meet the needs of the PLFC Association and other churches in the southeast region. The vision was clear, but there were still questions: 1. Can we (Pine Lake) raise that much? 2. Where will the money come from? 3. Would camp be able to meet its operating expenses? 4. Would other fundraisers suffer? 5. Will this ever be accomplished?
Over the last 10+ years, God has provided answers to each of these questions!
Funding is complete and $459,000 has been raised, which meets our campaign goal.
The money has come from many faithful donors, organizations, and PLFC budget surpluses.
Pine Lake has met and increased its budget each year of the campaign with no shortfalls (42% increase since 2009)
PLFC has added fundraisers like the 5K Trail Run & and experienced increases in existing events like Camp Sale
Construction will soon be completed.
By faith this all happened. He is faithful.
Timeline of Construction:
2008 – Kickoff of campaign resulting from 2-3 years of long-range assessment and planning the goals is to raise $80,000 for site prep, foundation, & steel shell construction
Spring/Summer 2011 – Foundation prepared, slab poured, and steel shell erected
Spring 2012 – Phase II – Framing on Lodging end begins
2013 – Plumbing, electric, insulation, and drywall installed in the Spring.
January 2014 – Volunteers from ON serve for two weeks and finish the first floor lodging for our First guest group to reside there (Midway Baptist Church Youth Group)
Spring 2015 – Framing on kitchen/office end begins
Good Friday 2016 – First guest group stays in top floor lodging end (Amor Viviente Church Retreat)
2017 – Framing and rough finish on North and South walls of the Meeting/Gym are completed.
May 2018 – PLFC Staff move into new office space!
Summer Camp 2019 – Meeting area AC installed & 2 BR apartment ready for occupancy (Suzanne resided there for the summer)
Week before Labor Day 2019 – Kitchen installation & set up!
To Come: Meeting/Dining area to be finished & Kitchen appliances installed
A few of many Work Teams & Folks who helped!– Diener Construction, Dale Kanagy, Duane Maust, Amor Viviente, Cliff Maust, Members of Des Allemands Mennonite, Jubilee Youth Group, Jubilee Camp out, Glen & Pat Detwiler, Cal & Shirley Hostetler, Bob Wideman & Co., James & Rachel Metzler, Wayne & Polly Comardelle, Two groups from Ontario who framed, 8th St. Mennonite, & so so many others.
A Vision Realized.
For so long, we only imagined what a finished facility would be able to accomplish for his Kingdom. And because of God’s faithfulness, we’re on the cusp of completing this capital campaign project. It’s can be easy to look back over the course of 11 years of this endeavor and forget all the effort involved. There were intense times of decisions and construction (periods of lamenting), followed by of delays in raising funds, and then those steps repeated. But through it, we see God’s hand in providing people to fund not only this project, but annual operations God provided skilled labor and volunteers to work on the building, as well as many others who prayed, consulted, advised, encouraged, and fed others.
From the outside, this is only a building, but it’s what happens on the inside that counts. The shared mission of reconciliation to God, His creation, & one another is the heartbeat of Pine Lake. It unites Association members, charter churches, campers, thousands of guests, staff, & volunteers in prayer, corporate worship, community, Christian service, and celebration.
And so we celebrate together and dedicate this gift to be used for His glory! Amen!
Glen Detwiler & Matt Graybill share memories
A captive audience on a day of celebration
Butch Clay, President of PLFC Board of Directors, shares a devotion at the dedication.
Gerald Beade, shares a laugh & memory with Glen D.