Short-Term Missions Canada
Traveling 1,000 miles with a group of 48 individuals from Indiana/Illinois to Camp of the Woods Canada doesn't happen quickly. The weather when we arrived was rain, and lots of it. Starting on Monday and continuing through Thursday the work was sometimes a bit oppressive. Cutting and throwing logs onto a dump truck. Rowing over to the other side of the lake and clearing trails. Short-term missions are not particularly easy, not overly cheap, and take up some of my vacation time, but I love it. Pouring yourself out like a drink offering to a valuable mission you will come back a better person, and that my friend is invaluable. Would I do it again? Yes, like tomorrow.
A typical day at Camp of the Woods starts with a run at 6:30 A.M. with my good friends Nick and Tracy Sarris. Oh yeah, and the camp dog Butterscotch. Not like we don’t have a full day ahead, but this is a tradition we started on the first trip, and it wouldn't be camp if we didn't run. 2 miles out to the road and 2 miles back. Nice and hilly, but with a nice soft dirt road surface. Haven’t seen a bear or moose yet, but they are well known to visit this road. Stop by afterwards for some coffee, a hot shower then breakfast at 8:00 A.M. Sherrie, Jared and Jacob with me, it’s always a good breakfast with family and friends. Speaking of friends, some of my best ones on the planet make this trip with us, Doug and Lori Miller, Mark Tobey, Nick and Tracy, and many more make it extra special.
Take 20 minutes for cabin clean up, then report to chapel service at 9:00 A.M. Another 20-30 minutes of quiet reflection time (usually lakeside) and work begins at 10 sharp. The first work session is just two good solid hours of effort, then time for a big lunch. Back at it for another two hours, and work is finished for the day. Doesn't sound like much, but when you have an office job and you make the switch to actual labor, it is. Generally I take a nap or just chill out for a good hour afterwards. This year Buzz Page and Larry Davis also worked the wood pile, both north of 65 years old. I was impressed.
If the day hasn't been too hard I had my cycle cross bike with me and went for a ride. Sometimes in the evening I grab the wetsuit and take a swim across the lake. At least once I swim with Samuel Sarris who leaves me in the dust, but puts up with me anyway.
The most special time of the evening for me is a campfire lakeside. This year we brought along Jared’s friend Christian Kloth who led some worship songs as the sunset. Can’t begin to tell you have much I look forward to relaxing by the fire and watching the long, beautiful sunsets at Camp of the Woods.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention all the theme “Under the Sea” decorations that were completed. They results were just over the top. Also need to mention all the kitchen staff led by Ginny Wilson who fed 90+ at every meal. I gained a couple of pounds despite the work. Nothing like 3 square meals a day just waiting on you, loved it.
If you have the opportunity to work with Johnny and Becky Bates, and their staff there in Canada, you will come back a better person, count on it.