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Fellowship Deaconry Blog

Sharing Updates and Stories from Fellowship Deaconry Ministries

New Entrance to Bethel House and Improvements to Mother House

Bethel HouseRecently, Bethel House received a new entranceway (pictured left) providing a safer experience for our guests.

Power upgrade to Mother House

The Mother House is one of our oldest and most identified buildings here at the Deaconry. It is the place where our kitchen and dining rooms invite our guest to partake in hearty meals and houses the Sisters who have served us and God faithfully for all their lives. The electrical service is old and greatly in need of upgrading so we have started a project that will modernize the electrical infrastructure to meet our needs for years to come. It is just one of many ongoing needs we have to maintain and sustain our facilities so that we can continue to provide a resource for our guests to enjoy.

Would you consider helping to support this and other strategic needs with your prayers as we manage this process? Perhaps you are handy and have time to volunteer or can help to underwrite our maintenance and renovation fund, with 29 buildings there is always a big list of things to fix or maintain.

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Day Camp Sunshine: Stories of Impact

“I was waiting until midnight so I could register my children for camp once it opened. I fell asleep, but I woke up at 1:00am so I got on the computer to register.”

This was a phone call from a dad who was new to camp last summer. He was so impressed with camp that not only did he register right away, he has referred many new families. He is one of our biggest supporters. There are two big reasons, whether he knows it or not, that Day Camp Sunshine (DCS) is so special. The first is the power of camp. Summer camps have an opportunity to reach children in many special ways. It gets them out in nature as well as gets them to be active. It helps their imagination to soar. It also helps them learn to interact with each other face-to-face (no electronics allowed). Camp teaches creativity, social skills, independence, good sportsmanship, life skills, and building lasting friendships.

The second reason camp is so powerful, at least for us at Day Camp Sunshine, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the quintessential reason why we exist in the first place. Seeing the campers lives changed because of the work of the Holy Spirit is an incredible thing. For many of the campers, camp is the only place they get to hear/learn about God. We witness lives impacted by the work done on the cross that Jesus sacrificed Himself on. There is no greater thing. Last summer we saw over 23 campers make a decision for Christ. For many others, it was an opportunity to be discipled – to truly understand what it means to be a follower of Christ.

As a product of camp myself, I know the impact it can have on a person. As a matter of fact, it’s been the majority of my career. With that said, we have many families who would love to send their child/teen to DCS but can’t afford it. That’s where you come in. Maybe God has blessed you so you can bless others. Would you be willing to sponsor a child for a week or two of camp? If you are able, could you donate $370 for a 1st-6th grader, or $400 for a teen camper? Maybe that is more than you can afford, so how about $50 or $100? Whatever amount you are able to give will be appreciated. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me.” Thank you for your support.

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How Great is Our God?

Fellowship Deaconry GroundsBy: Ron Schober, Executive Director 

We may often think or say that God is good, and indeed He is good all the time, but that doesn’t seem to best describe how “all things work together for those who love Him and that are called to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). As the new Executive Director of Fellowship Deaconry Ministries (FDM) I have experienced the greatness of our God in directing my paths to help the board and staff understand God’s perfect plan for us as stewards of these precious resources here in Liberty Corner, NJ. As I walk around the grounds, I can only imagine how God has used this place and the Sisters for healing, transformation, and His glory during the past 82 years. It is my desire to seek His will and blessings as we explore new and significant ways to use our staff and facilities for His glory and honor.

We have an opportunity to serve our community needs as we partner with local churches and regional ministries to offer education, recreation, and restoration to youth and adults in the greater metropolitan area. With over 40 acres and more than two dozen buildings, the task is challenging to say the least. I have been blessed with a competent staff and wise board, but we need and covet the continued prayers, and support, of our Deaconry “friends”.

Your faithfulness over the years has allowed us to make improvements, repairs, and continue to make our facilities affordable to groups so they can experience God’s peace in the beauty and serenity of these grounds. I have listed a few investment opportunities for you to consider as we plan our needs. Perhaps one of these, or a portion of one, resonates with you, or a gift of any amount will help close our operating budget gap this year. We are also planning a new scholarship program to help sponsor a child in need with a Day Camp Sunshine or Sunshine Preschool experience. Would you be willing to help as you can to support these important stewardship opportunities?

 

A few investment giving opportunities – could you help meet some portion of our need?
  • New roof on our barn – we need 180 sections of shingles costing $100 each
  • We need a good, used, ¾ ton, 4-wheel-drive pickup truck for general utility and snow plowing
  • Replace four commercial double exterior doors – large chapel – these are $2,000 a piece!
  • Paint a wall or room – A $25 gift “covers” one of many rooms
  • Two laptops to replace aging units – $750 each to update our offices
  • Sponsor a camp scholarship – $150 is half the cost of a camp week
  • Help a Sunshine Preschooler with a $50/day or $250/week scholarship
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Thank you, Allen Smith

On behalf of the board and staff of Fellowship Deaconry, I would like to express our appreciation to Allen Smith for his leadership efforts during the past three years. He has worked to grow programs and resources and sustain the facilities that are the heart of our ministry. Through his efforts Day Camp Sunshine has grown and improvements have been made to benefit this important FDM program and outreach. He also oversaw renovations to the Sister’s living space, which integrated special cooking and dining areas to improve the efficiency and quality of their living. Allen brought many organizational enhancements as well, with updates to our website, governance, and accreditation with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Well done, good and faithful servant!

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Sunshine Preschool Update

This has been a great year at Sunshine Preschool & Infant Care. It is hard to believe that it is already April and school will be over soon!  One of my favorite times each week is getting to teach the Bible story to our preschoolers every Monday. I love going into the classrooms and sharing with them that Jesus loves them. It was fun to have them learn about Jesus’ birth before Christmas and help them understand what the real meaning of Christmas is. We have currently been learning all about Jesus’ life, and for the past few weeks have been learning why Easter is so much more than bunnies and eggs. One of my favorite stories from this past year is hearing about how one of our Stories 3 year olds loves to go home and sing about having the Joy of Jesus down in her heart.

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Day Camp Sunshine: Stories of Impact

2014 was a very special summer and in our end of season parent survey, the families told us exactly how it had impacted not only their child’s life, but their lives as well.

“Where do I start? This was the BEST camp experience we ever had! My son changed so much during and after camp it was amazing. He was more focused, willing to try new things...I can go on and on! He made new friends, loved his counselors and he can’t wait to come back next year. I was just as sad as he was when it ended.”

“I am personally so very THANKFUL to have DCS in my “backyard”! What an incredible experience for my kids to attend a Christian Camp that is loving and serving God, the kids, and the community of parents and beyond. Please keep doing what you are doing!!”

“My son was absolutely thrilled with the camp. He loved his counselors, the bible study, and all the activities. He would tell me about the bible lessons each day, different things about his counselors and all the fun. His self-esteem and confidence really grew as well as his behavior. My daughter also flourished under your camp. The kindness, friendship and showing respect for others are life lessons and experiences that will last a lifetime.”

“My children absolutely adored DCS this past summer!! In fact, just two days ago my daughter was retelling the story of Jonah and the Whale to her brother, in 3rd grade CCD, who didn’t remember it! I loved hearing about their Bible study every afternoon. They loved it and we can’t wait to come back next summer!! Thank you for providing such a true day camp in our area!”

“I cannot even express how grateful we are to have found such a great camp so close to home! DCS met and greatly exceeded our expectations and is worth every penny we paid. We were praying for a great place to send our Girls for the summer and our prayers were answered. Thank you!”

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Director's Corner

I have to confess that the end of summer for me is somewhat painful. In previous Seasons I’ve shared my childhood experiences and the impact that Camp Sunshine had on my life. Reflecting back on our summer camp season I can’t believe it just seemed to zip by too quickly. I’m sitting here thinking back on my childhood and remembering how sad I was when camp ended. I wanted it to continue year round. The power that camp can have on a child’s life can be incredible. For me it was life changing.

In order to run a successful camp, it’s a year round job. In our case preparation for the 2015 season began immediately after camp closed. Back in my day as a camper/counselor camp opened usually the last week of June and closed the Saturday before Labor Day. There was no pre-camp planning. We used the same program year after year and everyone loved it. Those days are long gone. We have a small camp staff team that works feverishly to deliver an incredible summer camp experience.

This year was an extraordinary camp season. Camp attendance was up, we increased the camp season by two weeks, the staff was the strongest we’ve seen in years, the annual drama play was a huge success, the family BBQ’s were amazing and best of all kids came to know the Lord.

I really want to thank the year round and summer staffs for their countless hours of hard work and dedication that made this season such a blessing.

The fall season is quickly upon us. Leaves have already begun to turn colors and drop. We’re preparing the facility for the winter season and I’m looking forward to a number of special winter projects we’ve got lined up.

This has been an exciting year for the entire organization. God has truly blessed us on many levels. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Remember, if you’re in the area, stop by - I’d love to share a cup of coffee with you. Have a blessed and joyful holiday season.

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