FROM THE DIRECTOR
Fall has arrived at camp. Summer is over and we are busy hosting retreats on the weekends and doing building maintenance during the week. This past year has been another fruitful year for God’s kingdom. We had 10 weeks of camp and 120 salvations for the year! God blessed us with great staff and volunteers. This year’s scripture focus was 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21, which centers on the idea that God has restored us to peace with Him through the sacrifice Christ made. The passage goes on to say that He has now given to US the ministry of reconciling more people to Him. This summer we saw the truth of this passage firsthand as 120 people professed faith in Christ and 3 people surrendered to full-time ministry.
God has also provided for some physical needs of the camp. Electricity, lights, and stained glass windows have been installed in the Prayer Tower. There is still some work to be done to the outside, but it is very close to completion. We had a church donate money designated for metal roofing to be placed on the old chapel, and volunteers from Mississippi are coming in November to reroof that building.
The 25th annual Singing in the Hills went well.
Over the years God has blessed the camp with many volunteers. Just recently we lost two very faithful men who have helped the camp in many ways. Ray Bertram was a faithful board member for many years from the Laurel River Baptist Association. Ray also was a skilled plumber who donated countless hours in helping build the two dorms, new kitchen and chapel, a house, and many other projects. Also, David Lundy, from the Knox Association of Baptists, passed into glory this past August. David, also a faithful board member, was instrumental in organizing the annual Singing in the Hills. He and his amazing family freely gave of themselves year after year in making the Singing a success. Their presence was greatly missed at this year’s event. Both David and Ray prayed for the camp and supported the work done here and the work of the local churches. Our prayers go out to their families.
Many of you have asked what the next project at the camp is. Over twenty years ago, when I came in view of a call, the camp’s committee showed me a poster of what they hoped to build and the possible location of each building. Some of those buildings and more have been built.
We have already been using the new kitchen and chapel for two years now. God has used this facility in ways that we never imagined. It has enabled us to host marriages retreats, associational dinners, women and men’s retreats, youth retreats and summer camps. When the Baptist Associations of Southeastern Kentucky started Laurel Lake Baptist Camp in 1981, they had a vision to help the local churches reach the lost for Christ. By God’s grace, that vision is still alive and well today. Please pray that God would continue to give us clear vision in how to reach the lost by using what He has provided in the best possible way, for His Glory and for His Kingdom!
God has blessed the camp with growth these past 34 years. May we not lose our passion for evangelism and discipleship. If we seek Him, the next project will come and He will provide the means to do it.
Thanks so much for your support of Laurel Lake Baptist Camp! We could not do what we do without the help of our local churches. May the Lord of the Harvest continue to give us the vision and resources we need, as He seeks to reconcile the lost to Himself, through us and this facility.
Your partner in Ministry
In the past, I have shared life lessons that God has taught me or is teaching me. Today, I feel led to share some of what God has been showing me over these past few years. On Friday, March 20th, 2009, some of my older kids and I spent the day helping our pastor move into his house. On the way home, we stopped to pick up a few groceries when I stepped off a curb wrong and ruptured my right Achilles tendon. I had no idea that what I thought would be a quick fix would end up being a two year process, complete with more consequences than I could have ever imagined.
God tells us in scripture that we will go through times of suffering. Christ also tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that He will protect us. When I finally realized how serious this injury really was, my first question was, how soon will I be able to get back to work and have a normal life? The injury was a disruption to our whole family and my work. There were doctor appointments, long hours of sitting in a recliner day after day, and surgeries. I could not walk, so the kids would have to push me in a wheel chair down to the office. From the porch I would climb on my hands and knees to get inside the door and into the desk chair. Eventually I had to learn to walk on a walker and crutches. At one point I had to go to physical therapy three times a week for several weeks. I thought the process would never end.
I have now healed with no major issue except a very ugly scare, but the season of suffering was not over for me yet.
During these past six years, God has used suffering to teach me many lessons. I learned that I cannot live this life in my own strength and power. I have had to learn to depend on my family, friends, co-workers, doctors and others. I learned that God can use others to do what I thought only I could do. I am learning that even when I am suffering, that does not excuse me from paying attention to the needs and sufferings of others. At crucial times, I failed to pay attention to the needs of my wife and children. I was so focused on getting well and back to normal that I failed to see what God was trying to show me. Christ wants us to identify with Him in our suffering, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. During these past years, we have suffered in various ways with family issues, the deaths of friends and family, and ministry trials. God is teaching me to look at these trials in a different way. One example is in the death of my good friend, Bill Pitts. Bill and Christine have been volunteers at the camp for many years. Bill was good at running errands and making me laugh. At his funeral, his family asked me to speak, and I did. What God showed me was that I needed to be the kind of friend to others that Bill was to me, and not focus on my loss and how to replace it.
I am also seeing how suffering has helped me learn to pray His prayers and to seek Him more.
Suffering has helped me to be more sensitive to other’s trials and to see how God has given me abundant grace to face each day.
They say that good and bad travel on parallel tracks. Scattered throughout the sea of sufferings, God will give us strategically placed islands which will be our havens of rest. Just when we feel all is lost and we can’t go on another day without drowning, He will bring us “into our desired haven.” Just a few of the many blessings I can count are that four of our eight children are married and responsibly living on their own and what tremendous blessings my three grandchildren are. God has shown me that there are many more trials to come and more suffering. He has also shown me that we are to choose to live in the moments of today because we have no guarantee of tomorrow.
A few weeks ago we were visiting in a local church and got to visit with a good friend whom we had not seen in several years. This friend is what I would term as a prayer warrior. She shared a portion of scripture in Psalms 119:33-40 that God gave her several years ago to pray over individuals, families, churches, and our country to come to the point of revival. Studying these verses, I noticed the word “quicken” is used twice, and that the meaning of that word is to REVIVE! She is praying for revival in our country, families and the church. I am learning that suffering can quicken me to the Lord.
In our culture, though, pain and suffering is something to be avoided at all cost. In Chapter 40 of Genesis, God’s servant Joseph was going through a time of suffering but God used it to help him to be ready to lead a nation and to save his people. If you go to chapter 41 of Genesis, you will see the blessing and results of his suffering in prison.
Individuals, families, churches, and countries go through periods of suffering. We should not just pray for the suffering to end but that we will stay in the fire until God is finished purifying us.
Psalms 91 is called the Soldier’s Psalm. We are told that in World War I, the 91st Brigade recited the 91st Psalm daily. This brigade engaged in three of the war’s bloodiest battles. Other units suffered up to 90% casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single battle related death. God is willing and able to keep His words of covenant promise. In Revelation 12 vs 11 it says “ And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved their lives not unto death.” I could have shared many more illustrations and insights but print space is limited. Each of us has a story or testimony that needs to be shared. Thank you for letting me share mine. I pray that as I have shared a part of my testimony, you will see that you can also find a portion of scripture on which to hold on to until you see the face of the Savior!
God Is at Work in This Place!
Laurel Lake Baptist Camp Phone: 606-528-3522
578 Singing Hills Road Fax: 606-526-6791
Corbin, KY 40701 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org