Lake Waubesa Bible Camp

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With One Voice Glorify God

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Campers run to-and-fro, games are played, the canteen opens, and the sugar rush seems to never end. God is present in this place during the laughter and shouts of play and throughout energetic chapel times. It is incredible to see the way that God has been working this summer. I often wonder at the grace of God to allow me to work at such a place as this. There have been campers and summer staff alike that I’ve been able to see open up and come to understand more of who God is. One of the things that I love the most about camp is how relational it is. There was a week that a cabin called themselves the duckies and would walk around joyfully quacking together. I’ve seen counselors taking the time to sit down and talk individually with campers. The joy on their faces at being so intentionally looked after is beautiful. I am so proud of our staff this year and how well they show the campers and each other the love of God.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Romans 15:5-6

That verse has truly been in action this summer. Amidst the long hours of camp, I have seen God embrace everyone here and lend endurance and encouragement. He has poured so much into everyone that is serving here. It is obvious in the way that they glorify God with their treatment of our campers. There has been an abundance of joy in the Lord this summer. During swim time, the laughter is nonstop. When we play games, the competition is fierce but everyone will stop to help if someone trips. At chapel, the truth of who God is and His love shines in the messages and His word is passionately presented. Camp can be exhausting; but it is absolutely worth sore muscles and lost sleep. As we reach the midway point of our summer I pray that God will continue to amaze us each day and keep the intensity of our schedule from dissuading us from giving our all.

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Being intentional with campers

Please, be in prayer for our staff: that God would continue to grant us the endurance and encouragement we need to serve and glorify Him in one mind and one voice. Ask that He would continue to prepare the hearts and minds of everyone who will be spending time here during our camping season. We want nothing more than to see people take steps closer to God during or following their time here. Thank you for your support of this place and our ministry. Your prayers are vital to our mission. Please, be encouraged to know that God is at work here each and every day.

-Crystal Smith

Smoking Allowed at Camp

Smoke can mean a lot of things-a warm campfire, a forest fire, a controlled burn, a tragic accident, and a number of other things.

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Our new meat smoker!

Coals smolder and glow; wood pops and flickers. You can tell what kind of fire you’re approaching from the smoke. A barbeque in the summer can make everyone’s mouth water as they smell meats cooking. Add some more friendly smoke to the process and you’ll get meals that sing with notes of whatever fuel you’re burning. A fire always need fuel.

 

Just as smoke differs based on what you’re burning, our lives reflect where we find our provision. One of the names of God is Yahweh Yireh, the Lord will provide. It is often easy to affirm this, then go back and rely on our own power or that which we can physically see or hold. Here at camp we are consistently blown away at the things that God provides for us. From big things, like new full-time staff who are passionate about working here, to small things, like a meat smoker, it all comes from God. We’ve been dreaming about getting a meat smoker since realizing that it could benefit a number of events that we are going to be hosting in the future. It was a dream that was fairly quickly realized. Now it will be possible not only to smell campfires at LWBC but also the full delicious scent of smoking meats. Perhaps this can become a small reminder for us here that not only does God provide for our physical needs but also provide for the most profound spiritual need that any of us have. In all things God is present with us.

Here at camp there are a lot of needs as we prepare for the summer. As a full time staff, we need God to continue to bind us together and prepare us emotionally, physically and spiritually for what is both a fulfilling and exhausting season. The summer staff still needs to be filled out, particularly with female counselors. It would be very beneficial for us to have some high school staff boys join the team. We need God to prepare the hearts of everyone who will be involved to grow closer to Him. There is always a spiritual battle happening at camp, but it becomes more evident over the summer and we need God to provide us with the strength and grace to continue in His work. We also need His protection during this time. There are likely many things that we don’t even know will be needed this summer and we trust that God will provide for us.

We are constantly overwhelmed by the way that God provides for us. It is both amusing and astounding that God provides not only our needs but also things that, while useful, are just things that we want. God is good, all the time. It is no mistake that He is likened to a father who gives good gifts. The way He provides for us is beautiful. As we look at the things that we need and have yet to prepare for summer, it is the best solace to know that we are in His care.

 

Written by Crystal Smith

Q&A with our new camp staff, Jesse and Jo Barriga

Q: What were you doing before you came to camp?IMG_5205

Jesse: Well…before camp we lived in Connecticut and I worked in the public school as a paraprofessional, where I got to work with kids with behavioral issues.  I also led worship at our church and ran a photo booth.

Jo: I was a nanny and helped with the children’s ministry at our church.

Q: What is your favorite thing from the canteen?

Jesse: It’s a tie between cold Reese’s peanut butter cups straight from the fridge and sour punch straws.

Jo: I’m not a big fan of candy, so I am going to have to go with the sea salt and vinegar chips.

Q: If money were no issue, what would love to see at camp?

Jo: Yurts! A whole village of them! Wait! No…a hammock village. You know what? I dream big, I want both!

Jesse: Underground tunnels to get around when it’s snowy…it would be awesome.

Q: What is your favorite camp song?

 Jo: Nothing tops the Hippo song!

Jesse: (Interrupts in a loud singing voice) “And the ducks go by, Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Q: You both worked here when you were in college and then spoke here the last several summers.  What is your favorite camp memory?

Jesse: My first year as summer staff at LWBC I led worship night. Leading worship night…yeah it was awesome!

Jo: I don’t know if I can pick just one, but the friendships I have made here will have a lasting impact on me.

Q: Will there be more baby Barrigas joining us at camp?

Jesse: Right now we have man to man coverage with the two of them and so if we were to throw another in the mix we would be outnumbered, and I don’t know if that’s a good idea.

Jo: What he said! Lord willing…

Q: What are you currently studying in the Bible?

Jo: Ecclesiastes until I get depressed about the world being meaningless, then I’ve been jumping to Luke for the joy of Jesus.

Jesse: I just finished reading through the entire Bible for the first time and now I’m going back through the Pauline epistles. I’m loving the book of Romans right now.

Q: What is your favorite camp meal?

Jo: Any time there are cheesy potatoes.

Jesse: There is no greater meal than that of the chicken patty sandwich – so good!

Q: What else could LWBC stand for?

Jesse: Let wet babies cry

Jo: What? No! Lemons would be cold

Q: What do you do in the off season when there is no summer camp?

Jesse: We host retreats groups.  We feed them and make their stay awesome.  We also get ready for summer camp.

Jo: We also design different things for summer and visit churches and other places to promote camp.

Jesse: Oh yeah…that too.

 

Dream with Us

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We live our lives in three time zones—past, present and future. Each day we work to reconcile those three. Our present is made up of statements—the retreat group needs feeding, the emails need answering, the buildings need cleaning—those things without which camp wouldn’t function. These pressing needs are driven by the past. The past brings us questions. How can we serve this church better than the last time they were here? What would make our staff training more beneficial based on last summer’s program? What buildings need to be cleaned based on last weekend’s retreat?

Perhaps my favorite time zone is the future. The future is made up of “what ifs,” of sentences without endings, of questions without answers. It is a place where all things are possible, where all dreams could come true, where camp could change in ways we’ve never imagined. So in the midst of answering yesterday’s questions and fulfilling today’s statements, we get to dream together as a staff and as a camp community.

Some dreams are so close we can taste them and some dreams are decades down the road, if they ever come to fruition. But camp thrives on dreams. It is through yesterday’s dreams that we reach the families we do today. And it is today’s dreams that will pave the way to continued life change tomorrow. We have something better than dreams, though. We have a God that delights in our dreams and enables us to fulfill some dreams we have and some dreams we have never even considered.

Ephesians 3 2021

Recently, our camp family grew. We have had the pleasure of hiring Jesse and Jo Barriga and their two beautiful children as our marketing and guest services directors. This growth gives us new insight into our past, new hands for our present, and above all new imaginations to dream for the future. Together, we have spent these last two months praying, dreaming, and planning. We want to share some of those dreams with you because camp is more than just the full-time staff. It is more than the summer staff and even more than the campers. It is a whole community of staff, of campers, of churches, of families, of prayer warriors, without whom we could not continue to serve God and this community.

We ask you to join with us as we dream. We want our excitement for the future to overflow to you and your families. We want to hear your ideas for what camp could look like in a year, in ten years, in fifty years.  We want to pray together for camp’s future, whatever that may look like—that it would be a future honoring to our Savior and one that allows us to continue to create opportunities for life change through the love of Christ.

Dream List

Making All Things New

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Making All Things New

The past few months have been a whirlwind for me. I just moved and started working here at Lake Waubesa, and it’s been a special kind of challenge. It’s my first time living on my own, having apartment, having a year-round job that I’m passionate about, and so much more in this new, exciting, and challenging time in my life. As we approach Christmas and the winter retreat I find myself meditating on the fact that God makes all of us new upon salvation. 2 Corinthians 2:17 tells us ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ This comes right on the heels of reminding us that through Christ’s death and resurrection we have been changed. The birth of Christ makes all this possible. If God did not take the first step toward us in our sinful, broken state, then we would not have the chance to become new. With everything that I have been experiencing lately I know that new things can be terrifying but they can also be unimaginably fulfilling and exciting. This Christmas season we can not only stand in awe of who Christ is and the incomprehensible greatness of the gift of His birth, we can also allow this truth to change us and inspire us to follow diligently in our lives and become more like Christ.
                The winter retreat is focusing on our renewal in Christ as we live the Christian life. This too would not be possible without the life of Christ. As Christians, we are set apart for the purposes of God. We have a new purpose because of our salvation – a mission to live according to the will of God. After speaking of the freedom we have in salvation and the work of the Spirit in us after salvation Paul states ‘If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:25) While we are made new by God we are responsible to actively live according to the Holy Spirit. We have been made new, our strength is not our own, by the work done in us we can seek to live as the instruments of God in this world. I still have a lot to learn working here at camp, and each day God gives me the strength to continue and the joy of following Him in this ministry. I pray that this Christmas season none of us will just celebrate the birth of Christ, but that we would allow the reality of it to change us for the better as we begin the new year.
-Crystal Smith

OVERWHELMED? THERE’S AN ANCHOR FOR THAT ………

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Personally, I have felt overwhelmed in 2016. The death of my parents just a few months apart early in the year left me depressed and overwhelmed by grief. I know many of you feel overwhelmed too. Maybe it’s a great feeling, overwhelmed by a Cub’s world series victory. Or maybe it’s downright helpless, like watching the 2016 election process. The one thing I know is that I can’t control any of it. Those are the times I need to be reminded that God is in control. It’s easy to feel out of control, tossed about by feelings and circumstances. The great news is that we can hold on to God in the midst of the storms of life and know absolutely where our security lies.

We are so blessed to be able to tell campers and guests in these troubling times that they can rely on Jesus. Lake Waubesa Bible Camp had the opportunity to communicate that good news to over 500 young people this summer and thousands more as we serve retreat guests in the fall, winter and spring from literally all over the world! My personal story confirms that as an organization, LWBC stepped up and reminded ME that God is in control. An amazing group of board members, full time staff, and summer staff helped me get the rest and find the Anchor I needed in a time of personal storms.

I like to think of all of you as “links in the chain” without which LWBC couldn’t be as effective. So many of you pray, volunteer, and help financially to help keep our ministry working well and our staff housed and fed. In the summer LWBC gives out many scholarships to campers who can’t afford the full cost of camp. This past year we’ve upgraded a number of things like a new mower, video projector, lodge floor coverings, and many other items. All these things help us communicate God’s love as we surround every camp and guest with the best we can offer. Many of you might not even know that our full time staff also raise support to be able to work at LWBC. We have ambitious plans for the future too. Our desire is to replace / upgrade all the beds at camp (many of which are 50+ years old). We need new audio visual equipment, kitchen equipment, exciting new activities. We are also planning on adding a new full time staff couple early in 2017. I am asking all of you to pray about possibly helping LWBC with a year-end financial gift or even consider ongoing support for one of our full time staffers who serve so diligently. I can guarantee you that LWBC is one place where you won’t see your gift get gobbled up by administrative costs; every bit will go to do the work of communicating the gospel of Jesus right here in Madison where people need to hear about HIM!

I am praying that God will use YOU to help us raise $50,000 between now and the end of 2016. Please consider how much LWBC means to you and the community and prayerfully give what you can to help us realize this goal. You are able to give by check, credit card (phone) or online at www.lwbc.com. This is a huge ask, and I know I serve a HUGE GOD.

-Ron Kregness

Fall Happenings and Summer Reflections

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Recent Going-ons

Hello friends!

The fall season is well underway at LWBC. We have had the pleasure of serving a number of wonderful retreat groups, hosting the Movie by the Lake event with the McFarland Chamber of Commerce, and adding a new member to our full time staff team! Crystal Smith has been a dedicated servant to the ministry over the past few years as a counselor and chapel coordinator, and we are very excited to have her join us here. With the Fall equinox being yesterday, I thought it appropriate to reflect upon the summer which passed us by so quickly.

Summer Thoughts

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

John 15:16 NIV

As you may know, Ron was able to take some time for a sabbatical during the summer season. God was faithful in allowing our summer ministry to flourish even though He had given the camp director a period of rest. We flourished because God had chosen an incredible group of young men and women to serve at LWBC this summer. We pray diligently for summer staff members, and God absolutely provided for our needs. Any roles left unfilled early in the spring were covered by the time we began our week of staff training. It is amazing to see how those chosen people went and bore fruit, and I am sure it will be lasting fruit.

 

It is an incredible thing to see the result of your work. In youth ministry it often happens that a young pastor will burn out. Supposedly, the average term for a youth pastor in a church is about 18 months. In the summer camp ministry, many summer staffers work for a summer or two, or three, and then graduate from college and move on in life. They don’t get to see the full impact of their work. I have been blessed to see those children that I counseled for many years and worked alongside with as high school staff, become summer staff members. The cycle of growth is amazing. These rambunctious, fun (and sometimes challenging) kids actually do take some of what we say to heart. They internalize it. Their decisions are sometimes influenced by us as counselors and staff members. They reflect parts of us in their own personalities. They remember LWBC because of the people that God has placed in their lives for a week at a time. I hope the summer staff of 2016 realizes that the hard work they did has been life changing for some of these kids and youth. Praise God, we had many campers become followers of Jesus for the first time this summer, or re-dedicate their lives to Him. God had chosen them to do this work, and to bear fruit. Lasting fruit. And just as I have been blessed to see the cycle over the past 8 years, I hope they will see it as well.
-Jon Becker

Spring Has Come and My Soul Rejoices

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Spring is a transitional season.

It’s the time between the season that I hate most and the season I love most. It’s a time of recovery and anticipation. Sometimes I don’t even realize the oppression of winter on my countenance until it is lifted. Friday March 13th was the first day I really started to get excited about spring. Even though I was exhausted, stressed, and busy; I could not keep the smile off my face. God was so real and so good to me in the moment. God is no less real or less good in the winter. Just as God is no less real or good in times where we ourselves feel cold and lifeless. But the joy I have during the spring thaw (that melts the frost off my heart as well as off car windshields) reminds me that God knows that we as humans are physical beings. And that we need these tangible reminders of His love and provision. We need to see the proof of His promises as the grass turns green again and the leaves start to bud.

“For everything there is a season…”

The word season here in the Hebrew (according to blueletterbible.org, no I have not been to seminary) means: a set time, an appointed time. In other words, there is a set time for everything, and at the appointed time it happens, and it lasts only as long as it has been set to last. This principle is hugely encouraging to me. I don’t know about you but I am much more likely to endure and persevere in something for a set amount of time rather than an indefinite period. It reminds me of the marshmallow test. For those of you who haven’t seen this you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ But in this experiment children were placed in a room by themselves with a marshmallow and told that they could either eat it now or wait until the facilitator came back and then they could have TWO marshmallows. Now most of the children didn’t do too well with the waiting. Which to me is pretty understandable. I would like to argue that if the children were given a timer set for 5 minutes or even 10 minutes depending on the child the results would have been much different. When the finish line is in sight, when we have our eyes on the prize, it has been proven that humans can accomplish some pretty amazing things. But so often we get stuck focusing on our current circumstances that we forget where we’ve come from and where we are going.

Different seasons call for different responses

Maybe some of you are still in the middle of winter and the hope of spring seems a long way off. Be encouraged! Spring is coming. Look ahead and warm your heart with the promises of scripture: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), “He has made everything beautiful in it’s time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), “And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Maybe you are in the midst of the heat of summer. You are experiencing blessing and the cold winds of winter are a distance memory. If so take time to look back and remember what it is the Lord has brought you through. It is easy to become complacent and start to feel entitled to the blessings we receive. We may even get to the point of complaining about the very heat that we were begging for in the winter! When this happens we must look back on what the Lord has brought us through and retrain our brains to be thankful daily. Because the summer too will end. We must rejoice while we have the daylight for night is coming.

If you are in Spring like me, it might be time to stop constantly looking back and looking forward and simply be! Savor the sweetness of warmth slowly creeping into every part of your life. In times like these it is so easy to be thankful. It is so easy to find reasons to rejoice. Don’t try to contain that joy.

Experience it. Live it. Share it.

Capture these moments in your memory to fall back on when the days get dark again.

Spring has come! Praise the Lord!

 

The W 2014

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Reflections from our not so wintery Winter Blast retreat.

We finally have snow! Just in time for NOT the Winter Blast retreat. Fortunately here at Lake Waubesa we specialize in fun with or without snow. If you want to see how much fun our 23 middle schoolers and 10 staff members had you can check out our Winter Blast 2015 album on facebook. But we didn’t just have fun playing games inside and out, we also had a blast learning how to experience the inexpressible and glorious joy of following Christ.

Our key verse for the retreat was 1 Peter 1:8 which says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,”  Through looking at the life of David and His prayers recorded in the Psalms we discovered that true and everlasting joy, despite of our circumstances, comes from a relationship with God. We learned that even in the midst of trial and tragedy we can look for and see the goodness of God. All we have to do is ask for Him to show us and then be ready for an answer that might be different than we would expect. Even when it seems that God is silent we can look at His creation and let the rocks, trees, stars, and waves speak to us; reminding us of His presence, His power, and His goodness.

In this world there are many good things that can bring us joy: relationships, music, sports, possessions. But that joy–that lasts only for a moment–is given to us to point us to the giver of all good gifts. When we choose to seek God, rather than the blessings He bestows, He will grant us the greatest gift of all: Himself. In the words of John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  God is the truest source of this inexpressible and glorious joy that has no end.

But how do we seek Him? How do we accept this gift that God is offering? It is as simply as the ABCs:

A – Admit. Admit that on our own we can never live a holy and perfect life, that we will always be found wanting (Romans 3:23).

B – Believe. Believe that in order to satisfy our debt to a holy God, He Himself came down and became fully man while remaining fully God and lived the perfect life we never could. He died for our imperfection and rose again on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

C – Choose. This one is the hardest and yet most important step. In order to receive this gift of joy and new life in Christ we are required to die. To die to self and so that we might live for Christ (Matthew 16:24). It is a choice to follow, to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9) . But let me assure you. He is worth the cost.

It is our prayer that all the campers that come through our doors will get to taste and see just how worthwhile following Jesus is. We want them to know that Christianity isn’t as much about rules as it is about relationship. It’s more than knowing about God it is learning how to know God. As we look forward to this new year we continue to pray for our campers; past, present, and future. We would love to hear from you as well if you have stories of how your family has experienced the goodness of God at camp or otherwise. Stay warm and enjoy the snow!

 

End of the Year Newsletter

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Download the PDF here: 2014 Newsletter

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