Turtle Mountain Bible Camp (TMBC) held an amazing celebration at Turtle Mountain Bible Camp on September 8 TMBC completed its 72nd summer camping ministry with over 600 campers and nearly 200 different volunteers from the area. “These are exciting days for the camp as we prepare for moving into new facility for summer 2020,” said Howard Weir, camp director.
On Sunday, Sept 8th, a decommissioning service took place as the old dining hall and chapel facility is destined to be demolished by the end of the month. “If the walls could talk, they would ring with the laughter & enjoyment around countless meals, meaningful conversations, skits, worship, messages, and God stories of changed lives. We wanted to take time to reflect on what God has done in the past, but also look forward with eager anticipation to all He desires to do in lives as we imagine the thousands of lives that will have the new building as part of their faith story,” added Weir.
The event was an incredible celebration of God’s faithfulness over the past 72 years of ministry. About 250 were in attendance. The weather was perfect and definitely a ‘gift from God’ in light of the rainy, cooler days we have recently been experiencing. Guests were able to enjoy tours of the new facility and reconnect with ‘old friends’, some from decades ago.
The program was videotaped for Access and guest speakers were Dave Holland, a former Deloraine pastor and board member in the 70’s and early 80’s, who now resides in Winnipeg. Danny Groening, who pastors at the Killarney Mennonite Church, has been a former camper, cabin leader, program director, chapel speaker and leadership trainer for upcoming staff, also shared. Brittany Reimer was a former camper and her family has been attending Family Camp in recent years. It was wonderful to hear her God story and to have Larry Thiessen and Esther McAuley lead in some hymns. A number of our summer staff returned to take in the celebration and lead in a few camp songs. The dining hall was filled with chairs and others stood at the back for the service. Many helped take pews and benches to the craft shop for storage while tables were being set up for supper.
A number of guests brought salads or desserts for the BBQ supper. Debra and Marlin Peters from Virden donated and cooked fresh corn-on-the-cob for the meal, which was a big hit! Some ate their last meal to be enjoyed in the old dining hall, while others visited and enjoyed their meal outside at the picnic tables and on lawn chairs around the grounds. Everything about the day was ‘exceptional,’ Weir said. “It was an incredible encouragement as we listened to many reminiscing of past camp memories and others excitedly sharing about the possibilities for campers in the future that the new building will provide”.
The board was very encouraged by the extremely generous offering of over $47,000, that came in towards the goal of $350,000 that is needed to complete and get occupancy of the new facility for summer 2020. A meal was served at the Farmers Market in Boissevain Friday afternoon and $850 was raised in that fundraiser event. “There is a lot of ownership in this building project as over 1,600 names of individuals, churches and companies have donated and had a part in seeing this become a reality,” Weir shared. God still multiplies the ‘loaves and fish’ today and every investment is another step in seeing God’s provision towards this need.
Weir shared that removing the old building this fall was not taken lightly by the camp board, as it meant there is ‘no turning back!’ “It is a huge step of faith as we trust God to provide the remaining funds needed to get occupancy for next spring.” The time to complete everything is not an issue. God has brought us this far and everything completed to date is debt-free. This is God’s work and we are confident that He is in control and that nothing is impossible with God! Throughout Scripture, God called His people to do things that didn’t always make sense. Just as Moses held out his rod over the Red Sea or the Levites were asked to step into the rushing water carrying the Ark across the Jordan to the Promised land, Israel marching around Jericho 7 times, or Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on water, God hasn't changed. We believe He is asking us to trust Him and do the same. Living a life of obedience to Christ will always have its challenges and it requires us to step out in FAITH—'for without faith it is impossible to please God’. Having the old facility removed this fall is needed in order to finish the front deck and landscaping,” Weir commented.
The next two weeks are very busy packing and moving everything from the old facility into storage in preparation for the big move into the new building next spring. We are so grateful for the help and support of local volunteers, a couple from Brandon, one from Winkler and two from Minnesota, who were an enormous help in this huge undertaking. By the end of September, a local farmer has volunteered to come in with his track hoe to pull down the building and clean up the property.
We continue to evidence God doing 'above and beyond anything we can ask or imagine.' Just last week we were blown away when an events company in Napinka that was closing, donated three trailer loads of items (kitchen dishes and cutlery, a large event tent, decorations, etc.) The support and generosity of so many desiring to invest in campers lives is an incredible and enormous encouragement. It has already been an exciting journey with so many miracles and answers to prayer. We can't wait to see how God is going to write this next chapter in His story of TMBC.