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Life at Bambi Lake: God has been gracious

by Michael Ritchie

ROSCOMMON, MI – I could see the frustration grow on the young man’s face. The 11-year boy named John was shooting a bow for only the second time in his life, the first being 4th grade camp. Day one of Kicking Bear/Centershot camp at Bambi Lake Camp and Conference Center in Roscommon, MI. We were doing a practice round for Saturday’s Centershot tournament. John was not even hitting the target half the time. Introducing myself to the youngster in the coonskin cap, I asked him if I could make some suggestions on his shooting form. Looking down he nodded and said “Yes”.

The name John is a biblical name and means “God has been gracious.” Talking to his foster care father, I learned that John has not had an easy life. Both of his parents struggled with addictions and John has bounced from foster care home to foster care home. Remembering Kicking Bear Founder Ray Howell’s testimony, I could see a young Ray standing before me and I instantly saw a boy with a huge future in the hands of God and just one adult that cares. “John, squint your left eye and keep your right eye open, then relax your grip.” I told him. He immediately began to hit the target, and I could see his confidence soar.

Saturday’s Centershot tourney had 62 registered shooters, including John. In the end John shot a very respectable score of 160 of 300. Not bad for his very first time ever shooting competition! After giving out the awards, we were scheduled to baptize 3 young people in the lake who had made professions of faith. As we were baptizing the last person John wandered down and stood in the water. “John,” I said. “Why are you here?” “I want to be baptized,” he replied. Surely God has been gracious! John and his foster dad have been in church the last two weeks, and we have been speaking to him about salvation and discipleship. Remember, every child is just one caring adult from success. Put a bow in the hand of a child, and lead them to Jesus.

I must say, many meaningful days have been spent at Bambi Lake. My wife’s grandparents, Wil and Evelyn Jansen, were saved there. Laurie (my wife of 38 years) and I were baptized together on July 3,1983 in Bambi Lake. Our church Roscommon Baptist Church has been blessed to hold our annual Wild Game dinners there and have seen God reach hundreds of people for Christ. I have met some of the most wonderful people there, heard the most inspiring sermons, walked some of the most beautiful hillsides there, and spent some of my most meaningful times in meditation in a tree stand there. Bambi Lake is a place to meet with God. Come and spend some time.

Autumn Pursuit

Come alone and hunt with me

Among the falling crimson leaves

Rest atop that brushy knoll

will cleanse your mind

and fill your soul

You never know what you may see

A buck in rut or chickadee

Staying quiet my voice be heard

In footsteps as the leaves are stirred

In the coyote’s howl, the song of birds

in the sun warmed breezes you'll

hear my words

Come alone and spend some time

in autumn pursuit with the divine

Michael L. Ritchie D.C.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.



Michael Ritchie D.C.and his Wife Laurie have been part of Michigan Baptist since 1983 and have been serving at Roscommon Baptist Church the whole time. Mike Says, "If I wasn't Baptist I would be Ashamed". They have two grown children, Jacob (Kaleigh) and Sarah with one grandchild Lucas who Mike calls, "The best child born since Jesus". When they have time they own and operate Higgin-Houghton Chiropractic Clinic in Higgins Lake, MI. 


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