Many Hands Make Light WorkOn Saturday last week we picked up Becca’s Sister Amanda at the airport in Casper, WY. She has helped Becca catch up with a lot of little projects this week. They have worked very diligently organizing and sorting things as well as sprucing up the outside of the church property. On Wednesday when several ladies showed up for Bible study they noticed right away the work that Becca and Amanda had accomplished.
A Fire’s FuryBefore coming home from Casper with Amanda, we stopped by at the teen activity that was going on at Pastor Robbins house. There were a lot of teens there that had come from Cheyenne, Wheatland, and even Scottsbluff, NE. Pastor Robbins and his wife have been a blessing and encouraging to us and it was always good to spend time with them. Little did we know that before one week had passed Pastor Robbins would lose his house.
On Friday last week, I was driving back from a meeting in Colorado when I could see the smoke on Laramie Peek. From where the smoke was rising I knew that the Robbins home was in danger. I called Pastor Robbins and offered to help if he needed but he informed me that the fire was so close to the house that by the time I arrived it would be to late. Several from the area had already came to help him with trucks and trailers and fortunately they were able to get most of their belongings out of the house. The house is now burn to the ground and they are living in the prophets chamber that they once used for guests.
My wife informed me that while I was gone on Friday the ashes from the fire at Laramie Peek were falling in Guernsey. The sky was filled with a smoke and the sun had turned a golden color. Buildings that were once white now had an amber tint and the smell of smoke penetrated the entire town. City hall placed warnings on their sign to stay in side if at all possible because of the smoke. That night we could see the glow of the fire from Guernsey and to put things in perspective the glow we saw was about thirty miles west of town. At this point the firefighters have not been able to contain this fire and it is completely at the mercy of the wind. But although men can’t control this fire God is still in control and we don’t need to fear. Today in Guernsey there is still a thick cloud of smoke resting on the town and the smell of smoke is penetrating everything.
The Robbins were not the only ones that we know who have suffered loss from the fire. Camp Grace has also had the fire pass through their compound. At this point we don’t know what all has been destroyed at Camp Grace but many feel that it is safe to assume that the camp has suffered a great loss. Here is a copy of some emails from Brother Driskel who is Camp Grace’s Director.
Email on June 29thDear Friends and supporters of Camp Grace,
I have had another long, strenuous day. It started when I was rudely awaken by our Program Director, Paul Dickman at 1:30 am letting me know that the fire marshal had awaken him and gave us 3 hours to evacuate the campground. With smoke thick in the air we packed up everything of value. As the sun started to rise we left the campground. I had a heavy heart and tearful eyes realizing that the fire might actually destroy the camp.
This evening we have received reliable and somewhat official notice that the fire did come over the ridge and into Camp Grace's Campground. We do not know the extent of the damage, but it doesn't look good. Yet I know that my redeemer lives and "every good gift and every perfect (maturing) gift is from above, cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."(Jas. 1:17).
In the past 24 hours God has used the story of Job to remind me of God's Faithfulness in every gift He brings our way. God allowed Satan to attack and devastate Job. For Job it was not the end. Instead it was the beginning of a journey by which Job grew closer to God, learned a whole lot more about God, and lived to see God's double restoration and blessing.
I am thankful for the opportunity God has given all of us to grow closer to Him, to learn more about Him and to watch Him do a wondrous work. Out of the ashes of Camp Grace God can and, I believe, will create something even more beautiful than the old Camp Grace that will be used of Him to have an even greater and more profound spiritual impact on the hearts and lives of children, families and Churches.
Please pray for Paul & Emily. They probably lost all of their possessions today. Pray and thank God also for comforting us and all of our staff as we face an uncertain rest of the summer. Finally, as we are in the midst of this very "dark smokey valley", thank God for the presence of His rod and His staff to comfort and direct our next steps.
Pastor Marlin Driskell,
Director, Camp Grace
Email on June 30thMany are asking for updates on Camp Grace. We do not have all the answers. What we do know is (1) The fire definitely went through the campground and the whole of Camp Grace's property (see map). (2) No one has been able to go to the camp and assess the damage to the buildings or property. (3) We are exploring possibilities to make sure we can yet have camps this summer. (4) We will keep you posted as soon as we know anything.
Please pray and thank God for giving us (myself and the board) the wisdom to make the best decisions about Camp Grace.
Email on July 2ndDear Friends,
Two weeks ago Camp Grace was threatened by the Cow Camp Fire. God answered your prayers and gave each of us the privilege of watching God fight for Camp Grace by sending a hail storm that put out the fire that was threatening Camp Grace.
Today the outcome is different. Friday night at 1:30 a.m. we were were given three hours in which everyone was ordered to evacuate the property as the “Arapaho Fire”, which was started by lightning, started to cross the fire line at the Cottonwood Road. Friday afternoon we heard rumors that the fire had swept through the campground, but with no details. Sunday afternoon I was notified that all of the buildings are gone, completely burnt up, and that the cinder-block buildings turned to powder and only one structure remains, (I think the rock canteen building). Later Sunday evening I was given another report which was very similar and yet very different. Basically the second report said that all of the buildings on the West side of the road (ie. House, Pioneer, Chapel, Deer, Bear, Trail Boss, Lodge, and Elk cabins) were destroyed, as well as the Restroom building, the Dining Hall, the well House, the old maintenance building and the little shed by the garage. However this second report says that Lion Cabin and the Garage are yet standing and did not burn.
The exact details do not matter for all practical purposes. God has made it clear that it is time for us to quit trying to renovate old cabins and it is time for us to begin implementing a major Capital Building Program Fundraiser so that we can have the New Camp Grace up and running in a new facility by next summer. (There will be more on that in the next couple of weeks). Please pray for the leadership as we chart out the plans for the New Camp Grace.
Most of you have been following the updates on this "Arapaho Fire" which has expanded like greased lightening. As of tonight I am being told that this fire has grown to over 80,000 acres. Though we were surprised by the fire that so quickly swept through Camp Grace, we know that it did not take our Lord by surprise.
I believe God will be glorified as much from this loss as He was from the “save’ of a couple of weeks ago. Please be in prayer with us for wisdom to know how to proceed in the future. It is no doubt that Camp Grace has been delivered a devastating blow, but not a fatal blow. The Old camp buildings on the property have stood there for over 90 years without burning, and at this point we have no doubt that God will honor the labor and sacrifice of all of you who have sacrificially given and labored at Camp Grace through the past 7 decades to raise up a new facility for the purpose of using the unique activities of the camping ministry to reach young people for the Lord, strengthen families, and serve churches.
Please pray with our summer staff team, our volunteers, our Director, our board, and all our constituents, that God will encourage and strengthen our spirits and our hands, and that he will give us the wisdom and spiritual understanding to discern God’s will in all this so that we can proceed in all due, yet deliberate haste so that we can once again see Camp Grace used as a place of decision for the Lord Jesus Christ.
How God will do this will be a wonderful unfolding testament of His grace and power, for we are sure He will do it in such a way that those who witness it will say –“Only God could do that”! We will,by the Grace of God, rise to the occasion and step forward on the path He has laid out for us.
Though we are yet overwhelmed with the reality that Camp Grace has begun to transcribe a totally new chapter in the "Saga of Camp Grace" embodying the grace and divine enabling of our Great God. In the next twenty four hours we should have the plans for the rest of the summer solidified. We will announce our plans as soon as possible.
We would like to ask you to thank and praise the Lord for what He has done, and in faith, thank Him for the opportunity He has afforded us to watch him raise out of the ashes of this fire a citadel that will proclaim the Grace of God to many generations.
To God be the glory, great things He will do!
Pastor Marlin Driskell,
Director, Camp Grace
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A - Oregon Trail Baptist Church
B - Pioneer Baptist Church
C - Pastor Robbins home
D - Camp Grace