ROSCOMMON, MI – This is the theme or motto of our Bambi Lake staff. God is the focus, and a thankful heart for His provision is what keeps us going. I am reminded of the scripture in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” So we worry about nothing, but pray for the camp with thankfulness, anticipating what the Lord is doing and will do as we join him, faithfully serving here.
It is such a blessing to see how God provides in unexpected ways in daily life at Bambi Lake. Following Christmas break, three of our housing units were without water due to frozen pipes. One of our staff was staying in the lodge. On Sunday morning at about 5:30 am the fire alarms in the lodge went off. They ran to the alarm to see where the problem was located. It indicated the elevator corridor, so the area was investigated through the game room. No smoke, but the sound of water running? No! Water was shooting like from a fire hydrant from the handicap restroom! A pipe had burst, shorting out the alarms in the ceiling on the basement level, setting off the alarm. Once the water was shut off and the damage surveyed, we had to replace some ceiling tiles and dry the place out. Imagine, if we had not had staff in the lodge, what the damage would have been by nine o’clock Monday morning when we came in to the office. This was one of God’s blessings as He provided knowing what we needed before it happened. We see the hand of God regularly at Bambi Lake.
One of the furnaces in the Wilson building has been malfunctioning, so it has been cold in the worship area. But, with heaters that we already owned and creative airflow, we have been able to keep the space comfortable for guests at our retreats. And God’s provision of warmer weather has helped significantly as we have not had to overcome the arctic air. Yes, there is a need to replace the furnace, but until finances provide a solution, God is blessing us with warmth.
We started the winter without a working snow plow. A volunteer who did some plowing for us decided to sell his plow truck. So with God’s timing, we were able to secure a new, used snow plow truck. It was so critical to have a dependable plow truck. The weather has been rather unusual this year, rotating between four inches of snow and two inches of ice. Icy roads this year have seen unmanned cars sliding as well as the terrifying trauma of a car not stopping until the last second. But, with God’s protection, no significant damage was seen for any person or vehicle. Our staff with the new plow truck has been able to keep up with the snow. And it has been used to carry sand to sprinkle the roadways to aid traction. We have used a lot of sand on the roadways and salt on the walkways to keep people safe.
In February, all of the rain and melting snow poured over two feet of water in the basement of the maintenance manager’s house. The hot water tank floated and fell over breaking pipes resulting in the water being turned off and the home left without water. This happened at a time when college was on winter break and we were able to enlist extra help from a college student to help with the “mud-out” and get them cleaned up and dried out, working toward restoration. Much of this was completed before a small retreat and, by God’s grace, did not happen in the middle of a large retreat! And there will be a fresh, renovation of the basement in this house, another blessing.
Other drainage problems have surfaced as the water levels go up because there is nowhere for the water to go. The drains are full, the ground is frozen, and the water backs up in the basement. Laundry must be done, so it becomes a slow process. God has blessed us with a patient and diligent person who plugs away at the laundry until it is accomplished, letting the drains clear between loads.
Lest it sound like everything has been discouraging and things are not going well at Bambi, I hope you will read on.
We have hosted a Men’s Retreat, two Youth Retreats, and a Women’s Missions Retreat to date. These events are full of people who are commenting about the good changes they see at Bambi. The stage in the Wilson Auditorium is new, with up-to-date technology providing a new atmosphere. The relocation of the sound booth has made it so much easier to adjust the blend and levels of sound.
The food service is getting more creative, and we have begun to offer some new menu options. Guest are loving the coffee and cookies at check-in, a new normal in the lodge. Although we have had a few glitches, Camp Manager Mick and the smoker have gained fame. Mick also serves “hot off the griddle” pancakes for Saturday breakfast which has been well received by all of the groups attending.
The calendar is full and many events are new and exciting. Our event registration process is now user and group friendly. Administrative costs are less than the prior system, which is another blessing. When registering, select the event you want to attend and get details, before you are asked to log in.
God is blessing us with returning staff and new staff that are making it possible to keep up with the demands that these changes and busy schedule add to our days. We are experiencing growing pains-- which is a great thing. God is providing for our needs. God has blessed us with a Camp Director who is multi-talented and uses all of his giftedness to serve in this place. We believe that God is instilling great vision in Pastor Mick. We know God has every resource needed to accomplish the vision He has given.
Daily, as people come into the lodge, they are reminded “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” It keeps us encouraged and focused on thankfulness to our God who is greater than any difficulty that we face and who can turn everything for the good of those who love Him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.