Looking back on 20 years of ministry with thanks.
Looking forward to 2020, and the completion of the vision.
The following is an article from the Camp Daniel Newsletter.
The 20/20 Vision
Walk in faith, not sight
2nd Corinthians 5:7
During this 20th anniversary year, many people have asked about the success of Camp Daniel and the secrets behind it. People want concrete reasons to explain what God has done at Camp Daniel. I have thought aboutll it; I’ve tried to put into words; and I have attempted to outline the 12 steps to success. But in the end, I have no answers, formulas, or direction of how to step into the next 20 years; except to just to take another step in faith.
Some of our journey at Camp Daniel has been difficult, and during those times of walking blindly through the darkness of struggle, we have learned that God’s vision is always 20/20. He will bring someone along to fulfill His purpose and lead us towards Him. But it is only in looking back that our vision becomes, as the old saying goes: 20/20 in hindsight! This anniversary year is an excellent time to look back and see the story God has been building all along.
I look back on Pastor Tom and the vision that God gave him on a campground beach in northern Minnesota almost 50 years ago that has become Camp Daniel. I marvel that God was working so many years ago to clear the path we are now walking.
I think about my brother Daniel’s physical struggle and death and remember the road being clouded by pain and grief. But in hindsight, I know from the ashes of that struggle that new life was given, and Camp Daniel was born. Understanding God’s plan for our family has soothed the ache in my heart that I have felt from losing my brother and has given us a foundation to the road we are now on.
I reflect upon taking a job as a maintenance man, at a large insurance company, shortly after Daniel’s death. God brought me in front of Ron, the owner of the company, a man of vision, who could easily see the vision God had placed in my heart. I look back in awe of how God moved his heart and he so generously helped us at our start. That moment was paramount to the early growth and stability of our young organization. It showed us just how God would provide for the journey He was taking us on.
I remember becoming friends with David, a camper from Minnesota with Down Syndrome who taught me that “more Jesus and less of me” is the real formula for a relationship with God. Without him, the pride that consumes our hearts would have pulled me under long before this 20th anniversary.
I think about the time, 15 years ago, when I sat with our camp cook, and we tearfully expressed our inadequacies to each other and God met us at the point of despair and gave us courage to move ahead. I am so thankful that God arranged that time of frustration to give a gift that has lasted throughout my walk with Him.
I often think about our friend DJ, a camper who came from Pennsylvania to live with us. He was a living example of walking by faith and not by sight. His early life was filled with pain, rejection and abuse, but DJ loved God with all his heart and was a constant example of happiness. I remember asking him once if God would take away his blindness, would he want that? His answer was a resolute, “no”, and he went on to explain that the first thing he would ever see was Jesus when he walked into heaven. DJ’s passion to see Jesus someday has shaped my focus upon heaven in making sure others who don’t know Him get introduced!
So this is our daily charge, our “concrete secret” of ministry; to simply step forward in faith, keeping our eyes focused on God. There is no formula for earthly success; there is no way to circumvent the living and serving that God put us on this earth to do. Camp Daniel is what it is because God has a plan and has imparted a vision for His work. We know His vision is 20/20 and only in the thankfulness of 20 years of walking with Him that we can even begin to understand his plan.
We ask that you begin to pray with us for the fulfillment of this phase of the vision God has given us. We believe with all of our hearts that He is directing us to complete the campus, here in Athelstane, by the year 2020. Sections of the road ahead of us will be winding, scary and foggy, but we know He sees it in 20/20 vision and we follow Him in faith, taking one step at a time.