Lake Waubesa Bible Camp

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…leaves…

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leaves

There are 200,000 leaves on the average oak tree. Sometimes it feels like there are 200,000 oak trees at camp. That makes for lots of thousands of leaves that come OFF the trees at some point between the end of green summer and the beginning of green spring. As winter melted into spring and the snow finally trickled into the earth and lake, it exposed oodles of red and brown leaves that had been hibernating since October. And now that it actually feels good  to be outside (praise the Lord!), I have tried to tackle this leaf infestation one armful at a time. Here is my method:

  • Step One: Choose an area and rake all the leaves into piles. 
  • Step Two: Put as many leaves as possible into a large garbage can. 
  • Step Three: Carry the garbage can to the burn pile and [attempt to] dump the leaves on top. 
  • Step Four: Burn leaves. 

   Repeat steps one through three until campers arrive or arms fall off, whichever comes first. 

One day last week when my arms were very near to falling off and discouragement was weighing down the leaves, I asked James and Emily to remind me why in the world we are doing this anyway. Jesus tells us to make disciples. He says nothing about raking leaves. James’ answer was not original; it was our camp mission statement: “To create opportunities for life change through the love of Christ.” But can raking leaves really play a part in changing lives?

Yes, I believe it can.

When summer camp is not in session, we still get hundreds of people on the property for retreats, community events, and other school-year programs. For the most part, our staff are not the ones who disciple our guests. They bring their own leaders, create their own programs, and communicate the love of Christ through worship, speakers, activities, and relationships. As a camp staff, our role is primarily backstage. We clean, cook, check out ice skates, and rake leaves. As mundane as that sounds, the joy is in giving each group of people the opportunity to spend a weekend not doing those things. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to focus on Jesus when you’re not doing dishes or yard work because a break from the routine of life can help you refocus on what is truly important.

The work we do at camp is not glamorous. I am more often found in ripped jeans than dress clothes, more often covered in glitter from craft projects than intentional fanciness, and more often smelling of pancakes than perfume. But Jesus called fishermen to follow Him and God had a carpenter raise his Son and even when He uses ordinary people for ordinary things He is still using them, and that is pretty incredible. Besides, you can’t have a banquet for a king unless there are people to cook the food, right?

Whatever you are doing today, whether you are backstage or on the frontline, remember that it matters. Make it matter. Thanks for playing a part in the bigger picture.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

SALT

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SALT

The Fellowship of the Believers

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)

For anyone who thought SALT (Supper And Life Together) was an original idea of LWBC, it only takes a quick glance at the Bible to see that the concept of doing life together is not a new one. The apostles were the original SALT group, and they set a wonderful example of what a life of fellowship looks like.

Since it started more than two years ago, SALT has been fellowship-focused. In a nutshell, it is a school-year program for high school students whose goal is to share life together by providing a positive Christian environment in which they can connect and encourage one another in life and faith. Sound fancy? It’s not. It’s all the normal stuff… together.

Why is fellowship important? The entire Bible is filled with fellowship—fellowship with God and fellowship with other people. We can learn better and accomplish more as a group than we can as individuals, and it gives us a chance to love and grow with one another.
How do the students benefit from fellowship? Being in a “together” environment offers new perspectives, ideas, and thoughts, and sheds new light on what we are learning. They get to encourage one another during activities and conversations and grow in faith alongside their friends.

SALT

How do we fellowship? As a group, we play games, have Bible study, discuss spiritual issues, serve the community, and spend time hanging out and catching up, getting to know one another better on a personal level. Last fall, we went through a book called Not A Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus and learned what it means to truly be a disciple of Christ, not just someone who sits on the sidelines and cheers Him on. This semester, we are learning from the book Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples because not only does Christ call us to follow Him, but He also calls us to make disciples so others can follow Him too. But we can’t do it alone!
SALT is about more than supper, a game, and a good book every Sunday. It’s about the midweek text to check in and encourage someone. It’s about showing up to a soccer game to cheer on your friend even if you have no idea who they’re playing. It’s about conversations in the car on the way home from the Sunday meeting. It’s about friends. It’s about challenge. It’s about building up.

But mostly, it’s about God. Because God never intended us to do it alone. Only as a faith community do we begin to see the fullness of God displayed, because in loving one another we are able to love Him more and as He teaches one of us, through sharing He teaches all of us. It’s a relationship with Him… together.

(For more information about SALT and to get connected, visit our Facebook page SALT at LWBC or email Becca Kregness at becca.kregness@gmail.com.)

[uganda]

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ugandaWe were at supper and I was sitting next to nine-year-old Lois, who was chatting away happily.

“Auntie Katie, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I’m not sure,” I told her. “What do you think I should be?”

She took this question very seriously. For about two minutes—which is a very long time for her—she didn’t say a single word as she pondered the direction of my future. Then all of a sudden, her eyes got bright and a smile lit up her chocolate-colored face. “I know!” she exclaimed. “A clown!”

Kids will be kids wherever you are. Thank God for that!

There are 160 children at Noah’s Ark Children’s Ministry Uganda, where I spent three months volunteering in the fall. One hundred sixty children with parents who have either died or abandoned them. One hundred sixty children who will never know what it’s like to grow up in a conventional family with a mother and father and less than 159 siblings. One hundred sixty children who don’t get kissed good night before bed and who don’t know their real birthdays.

My heart breaks for these 160 children. While Noah’s Ark is a wonderful ministry and a better home for these kids than most other orphanages or children’s homes in Uganda, it is difficult to forge your own identity in such a big family. I have cried many times over the fact that they don’t have parents and must share caretakers. None of these kids gets to be That Person to anyone, like a beloved child is to her parents.

But I rejoice over one thing: Because of the ministry that takes place at Noah’s Ark, every single one of those children knows that he or she is a beloved child of God. They know who He is. The know how He loves them. They know that no matter how many caretakers they have, He is ultimately the One who cares for them. I have seen them worship. I have heard them pray. I have watched them learn. And I know that even though they are missing out on some things in life by not having their original families, that these children are blessed because every single one of them is That Person to God.

“God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:6)

To all who donated to Noah’s Ark at camp last summer, THANK YOU!! The extra funds were very much appreciated by the Noah’s Ark staff. To read more about my time in Uganda, visit my blog: www.nzekatie.blogspot.com.

 

wishing you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

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merrychristmasblog

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas!!
We recently wrapped up our inaugural Thanksgiving field trip program. In the course of 8 days, we hosted over 550 school kids & chaperones, sharing with them a little about the very first Thanksgiving. We were overwhelmed with the positive response!
Personally, I played the part of the Governor of the first colony. On top of cooking 18 – 20 pound turkeys to serve, I also had the chance to talk to the kids about what may have been on the menu for that very first Thanksgiving feast. I started off with a quick object lesson by placing 5 kernels of corn at each place around the table. That represented the daily ration of food for the first winter in the new world before the settlers had a chance to build, plant and harvest. The look on the faces of the kids was priceless.
Skip ahead a few days … and our family gathered for our own Thanksgiving celebration. Late one night I was reading a book and listening to my children (of various ages) as they laughed and played together in the other room. My heart warmed at the sound!

lwbc staff
I am sure you’ve had these moments …. of simple awe, wonder and thankfulness. I know they don’t happen often enough to reflect all the amazing and wonderful gifts that God showers on us daily.
James 1:17 says,

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.

So as we come to the end of another year, we very much want to express our thanks to all of you. To all of our campers, parents, donors, family, friends and all the rest, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve you and so very thankful for how each of you served us. Because of you, here are just a few of the things we did in 2013:

  • served over 600 (a 15% increase) campers, staff & volunteers ages 5 – 65 during summer camps
  • gave over $8,000 of scholarships / financial assistance
  • built a new outdoor pavilion
  • built new picnic tables
  • SALT (supper and life together) for senior high on Sunday evenings
  • The “W” winter retreat for junior high
  • built new “Wa-Wa ball” activity
  • received a donated large screen television for the lodge lounge
  • served thousands from Dane County and beyond through church/school/family/university group retreats
  • added new laminate flooring to the lodge lounge
  • received a donated boat and outboard
  • began a very successful Thanksgiving field trip program
  • received a new donated mixer for the lodge sound system
  • and much, much more!!
In every one of these programs, we strive to live up to our motto: “Creating Opportunities for Life Change Through the Love of Christ”
In 2014 and beyond we have big dreams and plans and know that God will bless them with more opportunities to serve Him by serving you! We would love to ask you all to consider praying with us for all of our campers and staff in the upcoming season. We also have financial needs we would like to ask your help with. The following are a few of the things on our “needs/plans” list:
  • blacktop
  • canoes
  • tractor
  • truck with plow
  • exterior landscaping/stairs
  • Carpenter bathroom remodel
  • audio visual equipment
  • lodge basement remodel
  • marketing display
  • climbing wall
  • furniture
  • outdoor team building activities
  • I could go on…

Those of you that have been here recently realize how needed the blacktop is on that list and the price tag is over $25,000 for that single item! Should you be interested in giving a tax-deductible gift, you can do that here or simply send a check made out to LWBC. With our humble THANKS!

Sincerely,

Ron Kregness

Executive Director

WA-WA!

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“three…two…one…wa-wa!”

 

And the game begins. Campers and staff shuffle around the walled-in court, keeping one eye on the ball and one eye on… well, everything else. Some rush to the middle to stay in the thick of the battle. Many push their friends in front of them to serve as human shields. A few huddle in the shallow corners, hoping those in the center of the arena will battle it out before noticing the stragglers hidden on the fringes. The brave ones rush to the ball and hit it with their hands toward their opponents. The quick ones jump and dodge to avoid all contact. One by one, as the players are hit, they hop out of the court and choose a player to cheer on to victory. Eventually, someone is the last one standing. This is wa-wa ball.

 

This new summer activity has been a hit with campers and staff alike. The game is relatively simple—it’s a lot like dodgeball in a tiny arena. There is one ball and as many players as can fit in the court. You may hit the ball with an open hand, but if it hits anywhere else on your body, you’re out of the game. Due to some recurring finger scrapes from the wall and ground, the camp store is now selling professional wa-wa gloves that come individually or in a pair, so you can purchase based on your playing style. (The gloves look mysteriously like gardening gloves…) We hold an all-camp tournament every Friday to test the skills the campers have been practicing throughout the week.

 

The court has undergone some pretty drastic wear and tear since summer camp started. Week one it was still grass, beginning to turn brown from the soles of so many shoes. Week two it became a muddy wading pool, deeper with every storm. Now it is mostly compact dirt. Grass will never grow there again, but that’s okay. For years to come, the grassless octagon by the Canteen will serve as a reminder of victory, defeat, and hours of franticly scurrying away from a rubber ball.

 

That’s wa-wa for you.

 

A glimpse of our LIMITLESS God…

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“Indescribable, uncontainable, You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. You are amazing, God.” What a great song to start out our weekly worship night. Every night during High School and Crew weeks, we have a late night activity. Most days, that means we go outside and play a game and get to run around in the dark. On Thursday, however, we get to join together in the lodge for fellowship and worship. Not only is it refreshing to be still for a while instead of always on the move, but it is also a much-needed reminder of who God is and why we come to camp in the first place.

lwbc worship night
On Thursday night, we as a camp didn’t just hear the gospel. We experienced it! Each cabin went through four Stations of the Cross together. At the first, we talked about Christ’s agony and contemplated what that was like for Him. Next, we took turns carrying a heavy cross and thinking about the significance of what He went through. Then we each wrote some sins on paper and nailed them to a cross for us to leave behind. We ended at the tomb, where the body lay. One by one, we blew out a candle until, with the last camper, darkness took over.

After the Stations of the Cross, we joined in the lodge to sing through the gospel. The room had been transformed from the Amazon rainforest to a simple, candlelit meeting space for believers. The songs started with God’s greatness and limitlessness, then moved to looking at our sin and the grace He gives to cover us, and finished with us surrendering ourselves to Him and all He has for us. “I surrender… I surrender… I want to know You more, I want to know You more,” was the final chorus and prayer. That’s what camp is all about! It was an emotional and beautiful night… but the gospel didn’t end there.

The next morning, two excited women interrupted our breakfast announcements to tell us the body was gone, so we all followed them back to the tomb where we had last seen Christ. In the same place we had left in total darkness the night before was a table piled in grave clothes, but nobody to be found. The tomb was empty, the sun was shining, and we stood on a hill and sang praises to our God the Father and Jesus the Christ for not only dying for our sins, but also rising from the dead and defeating the grave. The celebration lasted throughout the morning, as we had balloons and decorations for a breakfast party in honor of Jesus. God is so good!

high school week…camp to the mostest.

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DSC_0445 - CopySix months ago, when we started planning this new phenomenon called High School Camp, we knew we wanted to make it significantly different than the other weeks of camp we provide… but how? Camp is already a getaway, a pause from normal life to rest in God’s creation and fellowship with His people day in and day out. And with our limited space nestled between marsh, lake, and neighborhoods, how could we possibly expand what we offer? The answer to that question took us across the lake to a place called Lake Farm Park.

Last week, we had the chance of a lifetime (or maybe just the chance of a Wednesday) to leave our ten acres behind and do some real camping. If you can call having toilets real camping. In our defense, they were pit toilets, so that definitely gets us closer. On a sunny and slightly windy afternoon, we piled 65 campers and staff into a speedboat, a pontoon boat, canoes, kayaks, and even a rowboat with mismatched oars and caravanned across Lake Waubesa. The trek proved successful when, nearly two hours after the first boat launched, the last boat made its way to the shore of Lake Farm and we got our program started.

The nearly-24-hours was packed with a solitude retreat, cooking over a fire, games, evening chapel, some lively campfire games and discussions, setting up tents, portaging boats, a sunrise over the lake, lots of mosquitoes, and a little bit of sleep. What was the purpose of getting away from the getaway? God can do tremendous things in individuals and groups when they undertake a challenge together. It is one thing to leave everyday life and come to camp where you meet other friends who are doing the same thing in the same place. It is another thing to undertake the whole event, from packing to paddling to playing, as a part of a team. That evening, what a joy it was to see the entire camp sit around a single campfire, laughing and singing and enjoying God’s beautiful creation of nature and people. It was a reminder of the fellowship we should seek every day of our lives, not just on the special ones. Praise God for a fun, safe, relationship-building journey!

Lake Waubesa Bible Camp: LIMITLESS 2013

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Lake Waubesa Bible Camp: Limitless 2013It is said that the Amazon rainforest is so dense, once you walk 50 feet in you are all but invisible to the outside world. The same can be said of summer camp. For those working at or attending camp, once the summer season hits or the week starts, we become so focused on God’s work here that we become rather invisible to the outside world—or rather, the outside world becomes invisible to us. After a few days or even a few hours, we are into the thick of things. This summer, however, we want to stay connected through Facebook, Twitter, our new website, and this blog (which, now that I’ve gotten started, will be updated more regularly).

With that being said, please jump into our Limitless Summer 2013 and join us for a life-transforming two months!

Limitless: without end, limit, or boundary. When I looked up this word in a thesaurus, some of the synonyms included: boundless, unlimited, infinite, everlasting, immeasurable, fathomless, unceasing, and inexhaustible. What better words to describe the God we love and serve? As we do our best to convey who God is to the campers each week, it is always with an understanding that we do not have the capacity to understand, much less describe, the extent of His being. We can wrap our minds around the small, tangible parts we see everyday in nature, in the people around us, and even in miracles; but how can we, who have a conceivable beginning, end, and definition for everything, even pretend to fully comprehend our God who is without end, limit, or boundary? It is an amazing thing. He is an amazing God. Praise God for being our infinite, everlasting, and boundless Father!

Have you never heard? 
Have you never understood? 
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. 
He never grows weak or weary.
 No one can measure the depths of his understanding. Isaiah 40:28

[why hello blogging world!]

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katie schinnell

As a full-time camp staff member, I can’t tell you how many times I have told someone what my job is and had it followed by this response: “You work at a camp? That’s so cool! Wait… uh… what do you do the rest of the year?” Lake Waubesa Bible Camp has a strong summer program, but that isn’t all we do.

With this blog, we want to share what God is doing here—both in the summer and in the “off-season.” From work projects to youth group retreats, cookie baking to pavilion building, deep cleaning to tobogganing, God keeps us busy and we don’t want to keep it all to ourselves.

This summer, we invite campers to capture the adventure as we explore the Amazon rainforest in our Limitless Summer 2013. But before that, we invite you to join the adventure that is camping ministry year-round. We want to share with you more than one week a year, more than a weekend, and more than a letter every November. So make sure you stop in every couple of weeks as we regularly update you on what God is doing here at camp and how you can be a part of it.

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