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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,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!