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Have A Piece of Cake – It’s Good!

Have A Piece of Cake – It’s Good!

Dear Firs Family and Friends,

During JAM (Jesus and Me) time at Fircreek last week one of our staff (Stacy Smith) was the speaker each morning. Each day the camp worked together on learning the verse at Romans 8:28 that says “all things work together for good for those who love God…”On Friday, Stacy brought all of the ingredients for making a cake in front of the kids and had some volunteers come up to sample each of the individual items.  Needless to say, the participants didn’t have much good to say about how most things tasted (flour, salt, baking soda etc…). That afternoon, at camper Bible Study time, each cabin group was brought a plate of freshly baked cake – enough for each to have a piece. While enjoying the treat the campers asked why they were getting cake at Bible Study. The answer? God works all things together (the nice and the not so nice) for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

This creative object lesson which I believe really drove home a point to our campers also served to remind me of a few things. A week at The Firs, a summer at The Firs and even a year at The Firs is made up of a number of ingredients (so to speak). These items, which make up the whole, come to us via a variety of circumstances and in a variety of manners. Some are encouraging and some not so much. Some are confusing and some make a whole lot of sense. But, together, they make up a whole and with that whole God gives us a picture of what He is doing – and it is good. That doesn’t mean the flour all of a sudden tastes good but it does mean that it serves a very important purpose in the end. Our responsibility is to trust God in the process knowing that the chances are we will get to experience the cake in due time.

Serving Him together,

Tom Beaumont

POINTS FOR PRAYER – August 13, 2018

POINTS FOR PRAYER – August 13, 2018

 

  1. There are two weeks left in our summer for both Firwood and Fircreek. Pray for strength for the summer staff as they head down the stretch. Pray for endurance and increased motivation in the mission so that they will finish strong. And, as some staff leave early for school, pray that there will be enough fill-in (alumni) counselors to meet the needs.

 

  1. Pray for our campers. We are running at capacity for both programs. Pray that they will encounter Jesus through times with their counselors as well as with the speakers at Centerstage and J.A.M. time. Pray, too, for their safety these final two weeks.

 

  1. Decisions are in the process of being made for interns at The Firs this fall. One will be assigned primarily to Firwood, one to Fircreek and one to the Chalet. These are usually chosen from our best summer staff leaders. Pray for the right people to fill these roles and keep praying for them as they transition into these roles following the summer.

 

  1. We have a specific need to find tenants for the facilities across Cable St. used by the Discovery School these past nine years. In particular, we are hoping to partner with a like-minded non-profit who could use the Rutledge Building for their office or meeting space purposes. Please pray that we are able to connect soon with someone.

 

  1. Praise the Lord for Jon Epps and his willingness to join our staff team October 1. This has clearly been orchestrated by the Lord and we are excited by it. Pray for Jon and his family as they transition to this next phase in their lives. Pray for a good orientation time as Jon gets acclimated to his new responsibilities over our Firwood and Chalet ministries. Pray, too, for Steve Jagich as he continues in his role as Firwood Director under Jon – that they become a dynamic team.

 

  1. We have a number of financial needs as we head towards the final quarter of the year. Our budgeted revenue has taken a hit with the loss of the Discovery School revenue and some of our Firwood camps have come in a bit under budget for the summer. We also are in need of some money for our Campership Fund. Please pray for God’s provision. He has been faithful in this regard with unexpected donations and revenue sources in the past and we are confident He will continue to provide.

 

  1. We are looking to see some expansion to our After School Adventure program this fall. The Vanstone building will hopefully be added to our licensed facilities allowing for us to increase the number of school age children we serve. Pray for the licensing process and an increase in registrations that will allow us to grow.
The Firs Welcomes Jon Epps as New Director of Camps & Retreats

The Firs Welcomes Jon Epps as New Director of Camps & Retreats

We are pleased to announce that Jon Epps has accepted our invitation to serve as our next Director of Camps & Retreats (DCR). He will join us in that capacity on October 1, 2018. This is the culmination of several months of consideration, which included the review of 29 inquiries received for the job from across the country. The Search Committee that was put together to give counsel to the process included Paul Petersen, Eric Frazier and Darell Smith & Tom Beaumont. 

Jon was a Firwood summer staffer for several years in the ‘90s, where he met his wife, Shannon, who also served on staff. He is a WWU grad with a degree in Business Administration. He also has his M.Div. from Regent College. Jon spent six years at University Pres. Church in Seattle on their pastoral team working with young adults, and for the past six years has been the Director of The INN University Ministries here in town. Jon is very well-connected here in Whatcom County and very much liked and respected amongst ministry leaders. Please join us in welcoming Jon to The Firs Family!

We’re Hiring!

We’re Hiring!

The Firs Retreat Center is looking for people to join out cooking team! The kitchen atmosphere at The Firs is a casual and up-beat environment, that serves up to 150 guests. You’ll work with a great team in a well-organized and equipped professional kitchen and will create and serve buffet and family-style, adult-oriented meals. Your experience in banquet, restaurant, or institutional cooking will be helpful, but our food service manager will train you to run the kitchen, in order to assist in food preparation with our team of prep-cooks. There are two positions available in our kitchen; both pay $16 per hour.

Full-Time Summer Assistant Cook: This position offers 30 to 40 hours a week throughout the summer.

Year-Round Part-Time Weekend Assistant Cook: This position works mainly weekends with 8 to 16 hours a weekend throughout most of the year.

To apply, please submit your resume and job application to Rebekah Quinn at rebekah@thefirs.org.

Time for Fun!

Time for Fun!

Dear Firs Family and Friends,

The weather is starting to feel like summer, the 4th of July has launched our camping season, and deep down inside you probably wish you could go out and be a camper all over again. Am I right? Well, that’s the feeling I have from time to time as I observe kids at camp. I’m reminded of the outpouring of enthusiasm and the excitement and the seemingly boundless energy that exists with kids at camp and part of me wants to experience that all over again.  It brings a smile to my face to watch campers having fun.

Fun is sometimes an overlooked value in our world. We tend to see fun as a nice thing when in truth it is a necessary thing. I’m sure that you would agree with me when I say that there is a whole lot of un-fun out there and much of that un-fun is experienced by our campers.  For many, positive relationships where love is communicated is not part of their normal home situation. A sense of belonging, while at camp, is in contrast to the isolation and even abandonment felt by some when not at camp. Smiles and laughter and the craziness of camp is a welcome relief to the stress and anxiety felt elsewhere.

Having fun at camp outdoors during the warm summer months is the perfect environment for kids to flourish and enjoy life. It is also a great time for them to hear from God.  That’s why we do what we do.

Enjoy your summer and make sure you take the time for fun as well.

Serving Him together,

Tom Beaumont

POINTS FOR PRAYER – July 3, 2018

POINTS FOR PRAYER – July 3, 2018

  1. We are still in need of Food Service personnel at the Retreat Center. In particular, we need someone who can work full time during the summer to be a Lead Cook to give Doug a break. Please be praying for the right person for that job and for Doug as he navigates through his first busy summer season.
  2. Pray for safety at both Firwood, Fircreek and the Retreat Center as we are in full swing with camps right now. Pray especially for safety around our two waterfronts.
  3. We have a tremendous opportunity to provide a camp experience for, often, more than 500 people a week (when you count those here as guest groups). Please pray that God’s work will be carried out in the lives of each who come to The Firs.
  4. Pray for our counselors, in particular, this summer. Pray that they will learn to set aside their own desires in exchange for serving and loving kids. Pray for the teaching times both formal and informal as Jesus is proclaimed.
  5. Each week at Firwood (Centerstage) and Fircreek (J.A.M. “Jesus and Me”) we have a speaker come and share Jesus with our campers. These speakers come from a variety of sources with many of them youth pastors at local churches. Please pray for them throughout the summer that God would greatly use them in the lives of our campers.
  6. Keep praying for a new tenant to utilize some of our facilities across Cable St. with the departure of the Discovery School this summer. We would love to have a non-profit Christian ministry be that tenant and are getting the word out as many ways as we can.
  7. Pray, too, for our efforts to take another one of our buildings across the street and get it licensed by the State so that we can utilize it, as well, with our ASA program. Pray for Stacy as she does the groundwork for this and as she looks at options for us to expand our program and our impact for Christ in this community.
  8. Achieving our budget for this year is going to be a real challenge for us with the loss of revenue from the school’s move off our campus and some other factors. Pray for good numbers this summer and fall and for God’s provision as we work at keeping costs down.
  9. Pray for our summer long search for a new Director of Camps and Retreats here. This person will be a part of our executive team with responsibilities over both Firwood and the Chalet. Our desire is to have someone in place early this fall.
Encountering Jesus with Skin On

Encountering Jesus with Skin On

Dear Firs Family and Friends,

In a very short period of time we will (once again) be inundated with campers and summer staff members and programs and guest groups and all things that make up a busy summer of ministry at The Firs. On one hand, it is “business as usual” – what we expect and have gone through many times in the past. But on the other hand, it is brand new. It is the intersection of thousands of lives who have chosen to come to camp for a brief time this summer for a number of reasons. They will come in the context of their current and recent experiences. And, when they come they will connect with Firs people who will do their best to love and to serve each of them. Our intent is that each of them will encounter Jesus and experience the love of God as a result. There will be Bible Studies and speakers sharing from God’s Word. But, there will also be a clear communication of who Jesus is that is unspoken and unrehearsed.

Maybe this can be explained through the words of a young lady who recently attended a women’s program at the Retreat Center and wrote to share her experience. She said, “Have you ever been with people and come away feeling like you just encountered Jesus with skin on? That’s how it was with these new friends of mine (referencing three Firs ladies who ran the program) We laughed a lot. We talked of deeper heart things. We prayed. It was a time of refreshing as these ladies just exude the spirit of Christ. They reminded me why (this program) exists and that God is right here with me, every single moment.”

I’m not sure I can think of a better description of the relational impact that takes place at camp than conferees and campers encountering Jesus with skin on in the form of our counselors and leaders. That is how God uses us in this very unique ministry He has called us to do. Please be praying for each person at The Firs who will have that opportunity this summer.

Serving Him together,

Tom Beaumont

Points for Prayer – June 2018

Points for Prayer – June 2018

POINTS FOR PRAYER – June 2018

1. Please keep praying for more needed counselors and other staff members. Right now we are being inundated with record pre-registrations at Fircreek and at this rate we will not be able to accommodate the numbers because we don’t have the staff.

2. Join us in praising God for the provision of a much needed cook here at the Retreat Center to assist our new Food Service Director – Doug Scherer. His name is Mike and he comes with many years of cooking experience. We think they are going to make a great team. But since they are both new – please keep praying for their first (very busy) summer of activity.

3. Pray for our maintenance/building crew: Bruce, Doug, Brian, Keith and Glenn – not only in their job to get our sites fully ready for the summer but in the completion of some pretty ambitious projects throughout the summer.

4. Pray for the overall health of our staff. We have a good number of medical issues that a good number of us are dealing with or recovering from. These things can have the tendency to slow things down and during a time when everything is speeding up heading towards the summer that can be problematic.

5. During the first week of July we will be going through a safety review that will center on all rules and procedures surrounding our waterfronts at both Firwood and Fircreek. This is being outsourced with a firm from Colorado and led by a very qualified expert in the field. It is purposely taking place when we are in full operation. Please be praying that we will have good outcomes from this exercise that will increase our degree of safety at these important camp locations.

6. Your continued prayers are requested for an appropriate tenant to occupy one or more of our buildings on the south side of Cable St. with the vacancy created with the leaving of the Discovery School. We want someone compatible to our programs there and to our ministry. At the same time, pray that God will give us wisdom in how we might expand what we are doing now in Children’s Ministries at that location.

7. The transition between the end of ASA (school year) and the beginning of Fircreek (the week after) is always a challenging one especially in terms of keeping programs appropriately staffed. Please pray for the leadership as they navigate this time of year and see the right people in place at the right time.

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