Lake Waubesa Bible Camp

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Summer Reflections

Calm Sunset over the lake

The sun sets on another summer at camp.

My how time flies. It seems that only yesterday we were planning for our camp season and praying for the campers and summer staff that would be here this year. God is good. He blessed us with a staff that were willing to do anything we asked of them. We were able to work with a number of campers who would not have been able to attend without our scholarship program. The opportunity to try new skills and grow them was abundant for both staff and campers. It was incredible to look at the work before us, know that we were not capable of completing it all, and then see God provide for everything. We were provided with strength, patience, energy, compassion, and so much more.

Our morning chapel focused on the story of Gideon this summer. We felt like we were living the story of Gideon and his three hundred men when we realized how small our staff would be this year. The same principle seen in that story was true of our summer: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Our size and all that was accomplished only points to how incredible our God is.

After taking a short break, all of us on the year-round staff team are already starting to serve retreat groups. It is always a blessing to be able to facilitate so many different groups. We love to see people take the opportunity to relax here, learn new things, and have new experiences. Camp provides an atmosphere that helps people to break their everyday routines and think deeply about life or just step away. We are enjoying this time to serve other groups and are looking forward to the programs that we will be running this fall and winter. Acknowledging the joys of the summer and the excitement for our future endeavors, we ask that you to join us in praising God and requesting His blessing on the things set before us.

Prayer Requests

  • Wisdom in Long Range Goals and Planning
  • Staff Support and Fundraising
  • Ministry Retreat Days
  • SALT (high school) and Forge (college) Programs


  • New Opportunities
  • Full and Productive Summer Season
  • Provision of Endurance and Joy

With One Voice Glorify God


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.

jacob and camper

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

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


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

Fall Happenings and Summer Reflections


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

Spring banner

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, 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: 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

sunset over ice

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

fall 2014 letter-1
fall 2014 letter-2
Download the PDF here: 2014 Newsletter


Staff BwaffThrough out the last six years I have been involved at LWBC in various roles from counselor, salt volunteer, activities coordinator, and day camp counselor. I have almost filled as many different roles as I have tried different hair styles. 😉 This fall I am adding full time intern/program assistant to that list and I couldn’t be more excited! For those of you who don’t know me my name is Sarah Schelthelm (aka Sarah Bob for short). I am 24, graduated from UW Whitewater with an Early Childhood and Special Education degree, I love ultimate frisbee, kayaking, singing, and Madison in the summer.

My first summer at LWBC was in 2009 after my freshmen year of college. I wanted to find a camp to get all my hours of observation/participation done so that I could apply to the College of Education. I found a lot more than that. I found community in a way I had never experienced it before. There is nothing like working tirelessly with a group of people who share a common goal. I found purpose, “to create opportunities for life change through the love of Christ.” And I found passion; working at LWBC through the years has cemented in my mind and heart the desire to work in full time ministry for the rest of my life. This year God has given me the opportunity to do that through an internship here at camp.

My role this year as an intern at Lake Waubesa will be to work closely with the full time staff and assist them in their positions. I will help Becca with programing for things like the Winter Blast, and of course next summer. I will be doing a lot of cleaning and organization (which I am weirdly excited about). I will help Ron with some filing and researching. And of course I will also participate in the making of delicious eatables for the various groups that use our facilities during the not-summer season. I am also very excited to get to continue to work with our high school students at SALT (Supper and Life Together). I am looking forward to growing in my relationship with Christ and my ability to serve His Church this year through this valuable experience. God is good! All the time.




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)

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