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  • Sharon Hessling

Thoughts while painting a fence

ROSCOMMON – When one is in a quiet place for hours painting a fence, it gives one plenty of time to think. It was just my granddaughter and I painting the fence around the playground on the Bambi Lake campground.

She was listening to podcasts, and I was thinking. “This is a long fence for just the two of us to paint.  I wish we had more hands available. What if we are not able to finish it in the days we have here. Then people that come will say, ‘Why did they only paint part of the fence’.” Then I thought of times that I had come to Bambi and asked, “Why did they not do____?, Why did they do _____?, Are they ever going to ______?” I was guilty of the very thing that I was worried that people were going to say!!

I went back to thinking and painting. We, as members of Southern Baptist churches in Michigan, own Bambi Lake. We have a vested interest in the success of Bambi Lake. So, shouldn’t the pronoun be changed from they to we when asking those questions?

What if church members who attend Bambi Lake begin asking, “Why do we not do _____?, Why don’t we do ___________?, Are we going to do________?” What difference would that switch in attitude and thinking make in the future of Bambi Lake. Wow!

I believe this switch in perspective will take time and intentionality. The very next day, as my granddaughter and I were going to the campground, she said, “Are they ever going to do something about ___________?” Then we laughed as we said, “Are we ever going to do something about _________?” 

A couple of days later, she caught me using the they pronoun when talking about Bambi Lake. We have decided to hold ourselves and others accountable by asking what we can do to make improvements at Bambi Lake. We have also committed to being active volunteers to make things happen.

We wish to see our up-north place of peace thrive in the years ahead. We wish to see Bambi Lake continue to be a place of refuge and spiritual growth for others.

Thankfully many people have stepped up to volunteer and are working to make Bambi Lake a success. For it to thrive, we need many more people to take time to come and work at Bambi. As we all work together, let’s see what we can do at Bambi Lake!



Sharon Hessling is mother of three grown children and grandmother to eleven beautiful grandchildren. A retired IMB missionary, she served with her husband, Warren, over 25 years in two West African nations. In retirement, she runs a pie-baking business out of her home. Since December, Sharon has been volunteering for Bambi Lake as the volunteer coordinator.


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