Not about bricks and mortar
The father had a plan. He and the children would together plant a small field of corn so the children could have some extra spending money that fall.
The older son was running the garden plow back and forth across the plot. The younger son was placing the wooden stakes in the ground, pulling the string tight that the rows would be straight. Their sister was pulling the hoe to make the furrow to receive the grain. Together they planted, doing high fives for all they had achieved.
The neighbor from across the street came over to their dad and said, "Lots of work going on here, what's the plan?"
The dad pointed to his children and said, "They are going to plant a little corn here so they can make some extra spending money this summer."
Being neighborly he made a suggestion, "Why there's no need to go to all of this hand work, I've got lots of equipment. You could drop in a plow, bring over the planter and have this done in an hour."
"Thanks for the offer, but we're fine."
The neighbor shrugged his shoulders and went on his way.
All that summer the neighbor watched as the children hand wedded, turned the soil with the hoe and shared the toilsome labor of the of the plot. It was no surprise that fall when the field was being harvested by hand that neighbor just couldn't be quiet any longer. He stopped by the plot the day of harvest and said to the father. "I just don't get this. All summer they have labored over this field. I have the equipment that this could have taken one fraction of the time and made more money."
The father simply smiled at his neighbor and said, "I'm not growing corn here, I'm growing children."
The Epworth Forest Project at North Webster is plotted out; the dirt is not being turned yet, but we are hopeful the cash will be raised so that the process can begin yet this year. As plans for the new cabins are laid and the promise for new ministry in the new auditorium and classroom space is shared, the wisdom and hope of what is going is not lost. The Epworth Forest Project is growing building and programs. It's not about bricks and mortar. It's about bringing youth and young adults to Christ. The Father has a plan.
Jean Brindel, CFRE, AFP, serves as Development Officer of the former Northern Indiana Conference of the The United Methodist Church. She lives in Carmel, Ind.
If you or someone you love would like to attend church camp this summer, or if you would like to make a gift to the North Indiana camping ministry, or just want more information, log on to www.impact2818.com. A similar Web site is available for camping ministry in South Indiana at www.sicumc.org/outdoorministries.