Camp kids

camp kids

I thought you’d enjoy seeing this video (click on the link above: camp kids) Note: this is a child from another camp.

Raising a child/children at/in/around camp is a unique experience.  What our kids think is normal is sometimes humorous…  mini-farm, dining hall, canoes etc., lakes with lifeguards, new people over for dinner and to do laundry, ski and snowboarding hills, tubing runs, a prayer chapel in the woods, Bible classes, hayrides, deputation trips.  It’s a different kind of ministry upbringing.

Jason and I have been challenged lately to write out our journey.  The testimony and story about how in the world we got into camping ministry for our children.  Being as young as they are, we want to be able to share with them when they are older of the goodness, perfection, and faithful of God to our family throughout the years.

Thankful for God calling us and our children to this amazing, wild ride of ministry we are on.

 

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Dear God, thank you for peanut butter and grasshoppers. Amen.

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Yesterday Judah (4 years old) asked if he could pray for his lunch.  I said sure and bowed my head with him as he prayed. “Dear God, Thank you for peanut butter and grasshoppers. Amen.”

Simple in words. Deep in back-story.

A couple of days before I had run out of his favorite sandwich ingredient: peanut butter.  I needed to make a special trip to the little small town grocery store down the street for that and a couple of ‘it can’t wait until the weekly trip’ ingredients. For that Judah was thankful for a thick slathering of peanut butter and a generous helping of good grape jelly for his lunch.

The day before I filled up the old hard plastic pool in the backyard and the supposed to be a turtle sandbox with water. Dumped a bunch of random toys in both and had the kids put on their swimming suits.  Three kids smiling, giggling and (happy) screaming for three hours.  A toad was found. The toad was made a home. And an ever prized grasshopper was found and captured.  Judah was elated.  Something so small, but such a big deal to him.  Both were released unharmed before bedtime to rejoin their families.

God has been showing me sometimes gently, sometimes in a STOP!!/’bucket of cold water over my head’ type of way, that I need to SLOW DOWN!  Slow down for our children. Slow down the schedule. Linger more. Wait more. Be patient with my words, actions and body language. Words like “we don’t have time for that”, “hustle up”, “we are late”, “hurry. hurry, hurry up!” need to be phrases that are not uttered from my mouth as much.

I couldn’t help but smile, and then repent. Lord, please help me slow down. Help me not to miss these truly precious and priceless moments. Help me to usher these moments into our families days more and more, so that they become a norm and not an exception.

I agree with Judah.  Dear God, thank you for peanut butter and grasshoppers. Amen.

Meet Forest Springs… The Mini-Farm

This post is another in a series that highlights a specific area of our ministry at Forest Springs. In this post, and in those to follow, we hope to give you a taste of what our ministry looks like in the summer. It’s our way of bringing camp to you. Enjoy.

As you could probably imagine, the summer at Forest Springs is a dynamic time of ministry. We just wrapped up several weeks of youth camp – sharing the Gospel with more than 1,000 young people (ages 5-18 years old). Yesterday, we started the second of nine family camps.

This week, we are amazed at the number of young families at camp – looking to grow in the Lord together. For young families at Forest Springs, the Mini-Farm seems to be the place they gravitate to.

The Mini-Farm

As its name indicates, Forest Springs’ mini-farm is just like a regular farm – only smaller. It has a number of animals – ducks, peacocks, chickens, kittens, bunnies, sheep, goats, burros, pigs, a horse, a cow and an awesome dog – Sadie.

It’s a place where our family has spent much time throughout our time at Forest Springs. We have shared special family moments at the mini-farm – watching our children compassionately care for vulnerable baby chicks or kittens. It’s a place where we’ve watched them observe and learn the complexities and perfection of God’s creation. And along the way ask lots and lots of questions, which has lead to many discussions, learning, and ways we can continue to point them heavenward to God’s amazing connective plan for creation.

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It’s a place where they’ve learned the power and creativity of our great God.

Lessons Learned at the Mini-Farm

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” – Job 12:7-9

burro 2014          goat

Photos Courtesy of Forest Springs

Christian camping ministry is unique. We teach people about God’s creation IN God’s creation. We teach that everything created by the Creator glorifies Him! It is a blessing indeed!

Our prayer this week is that the Lord will continue to use the mini-farm to create memories for families as they experience this unique and special part of Forest Springs.

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Praying in a World of Busy

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This post is the first in many that highlights a specific area of our ministry at Forest Springs. In this post, and in those to follow, we hope to give you a taste of what our ministry looks like in the summer. It’s our way of bringing camp to you. Enjoy.

Prayer Meetings 

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At Forest Springs, there is a real temptation to go, go, go  in the “world of busy” – especially in the summer. I mean, there isn’t a single day all summer that we do not have campers here. Today, we had 290 campers! As much as I hate to admit, sometimes it is hard to commit what I do to prayer. Of course, that attitude is contrary to what scripture tells us…

“Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

That is why I am thankful for our staff prayer meetings every Tuesday and Friday. It’s time carved out to have devotions and  pray together as a staff.

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Many times, we pray for each camper by name (which I love as a parent of campers). We pray for each other. If you have asked Lisa & I to pray for you, chances are – we prayed for you during these times. 

In showing you around camp, we felt that this is the place to start – because this is where we feel (or should feel) our ministry starts.

 

We’re bringing camp to you (well sort of)…

DANANAY_2014

Hello!

It has been an embarrassingly-long time since we’ve added anything to our blog. We’re sorry. We are not offering any excuses.

We have hundreds of people who pray for us and/or financially support our ministry. Many of you have never been to Forest Springs. My wife had the awesome idea of bringing Forest Springs to our family and friends (figuratively, not literally) through a summer blog tour of sorts. It’s really hard to share with people what we do exactly and how God uses us in this ministry. So, we’re going to try to show you!

Sooooo…every week, we will be featuring at least one part of Forest Springs and telling about how it fits into the ministry.

Our goal is to show how our great God uses many different things at Forest Springs as a ministry tool for His glory.

Stay tuned. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Love,

The Dananay’s (Jason, Lisa, Julia, Jack and Judah)

Aren’t Missionaries Supposed to Go Somewhere Else?

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That’s a question that many people ask us (or would like to).

We are currently raising financial support to become missionaries at Camp Forest Springs, a non-denominational Christian camp in north central Wisconsin. Our ministry is focused on two things:

1. Initiating Faith

2. Cultivating Maturity

I’ll admit, sometimes making the case for being a U.S.-based missionary gets old. But…I think we as citizens of this great nation believe we are far more reached then we really are. 

Consider the following statistics (I love statistics):

  • In 2000, the United States sent out 118,200 missionaries, but it also received 33,200. Ironically, the world’s largest missionary-sending country has now become the world’s largest missionary-receiving country. Since that time, both side have increase even more.
    • The world’s largest Buddhist temple is located in Boulder, CO!
    • The world’s largest Muslim training center is in New York City!
    • The world’s largest training center for transcendental meditation is in Fairfield, Iowa!
  • With its 195 million unchurched people, America has become the new mission field. America has more unchurched people than the entire populations of all but 11 of the world’s 194 nations.
  • The unchurched population in the United States is so extensive that, were it a nation, it would be the fifth-largest on the planet.
  • More than 44% of American adults 18 and over are unchurched; 120 million Americans have no substantial Christian memory.
  • America’s secularization has gone from only 15% in the 1950s up to 40% in 2001; and are above 60% in 2013. 

While some of these statistics are a bit old, I am sure we can agree that things have not gotten better. This is the tip of the iceberg as far as making the case for U.S.-based missions. 

If you are interested in learning more about our ministry, I encourage you to ask us! You can reach us at jasondananay@sbcglobal.net 

Jason 

 

Soooo…What are you Guys up to Again?

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Over the past few months, our family has been traveling all over the Midwest – speaking at churches, meeting with small groups, and sitting across the table from individuals sharing our ministry vision. It has been a very productive time for us. 

It dawned on me that not all of our friends know exactly what we are doing. To catch you up, below is a letter that we sent to many of our family and friends in May. 

If you are interested in receiving more updates from us via e-mail and snail mail, please send me your contact information (jasondananay@sbcglobal.net). 

 

May 2013

Hello friends,

The long Wisconsin winter is over, and we thought now would be a great time for an update!

 I (Jason) have spent the last year as a student in an internship program at Camp Forest Springs in Westboro, Wisconsin.  It was a wonderful experience for me, and for the whole family.  It was just the kind of training and exposure we felt like we needed, coming off more than 12 years in the business world.  One of the main purposes in coming here this past year was to get an overall picture of Christian camping, and to take the time to pray about how the Lord might use us in this kind of ministry.  We are now following the Lord’s leading to begin a new chapter in our lives, and to pursue ministry through Christian camping.

This spring, we were asked to join full-time Missionary Staff at Camp Forest Springs.  We are thrilled to accept this invitation!  I will be fulfilling the role of Director of Development and Marketing.  In this position, I will be responsible for:

  • Raising financial support for our ministry.
  • Overseeing the marketing team both at Camp Forest Springs and Oak Forest Center, an adult retreat center in Frederic, Wisconsin.
  • Working with camp leadership on development initiatives, such as Camp Forest Springs’ camper scholarship program and a variety of building enhancement projects aimed at serving our guests even better.

As we make this transition, we would like to ask you to pray with us.  We will be traveling quite extensively this summer, speaking at churches and sharing our vision with people throughout the Midwest. 

We are excited to see how God uses our gifts and talents for His glory.  

In Christ,

Jason, Lisa, Julia, Jack & Judah Dananay

 P.S.  Be on the lookout for more news from us in the next few months.  We’ll keep you posted!

The Beginning and the End

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Can you imagine the worlds most brilliant person that ever lived, renowned for his/her knowledge and wisdom calling you and saying “I’d like to meet with you and share a few things?”  The person that government heads clamber to spend even a brief moment of time in their presence.  The person whose words of knowledge and wisdom unlock untold things that have been unknown or unresolved for centuries.  A person so incredible in the depth of their knowledge and wisdom that they are almost worshiped by all of mankind across people groups, across religions, across political divides.

This person described doesn’t even hold a drop in the ocean of comparison of who our God is.

Our God of Genesis 1:1 that was the only one present “In the Beginning…”

“We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love Him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 MSG

Wow, what a meaty, hit you in the gut passage!  I read it today in my devotionals.  Chewing on it an hour later.

Take a few minutes to re-read it.

The other night I read Julia a portion of her new children’s Bible (The Jesus Storybook Bible).   She had been asking some questions lately about heaven.  The final story in the book gives a summary of Revelation 1, 5, 21 and 22.  As I read it, I couldn’t help but cry as I talked about John having a beautiful dream of the future.  I know it’s a bit long but worth the read.  And if you are in a place you can, I challenge you (that’s a nice way of saying I double-dog-dare you!) to read it out loud.  Read it, and hear it.  It’s life changing, spirit sharpening, overwhelming, mind-blowing and exciting all at the very same time.  Because it’s God’s message to us, His Children.  As real today as the day John wrote it.

“John was one of Jesus’ helpers. He was old now and living on an island, which might sound nice except it was a prison. (The Leaders put him there to stop him from talking about Jesus, but I’m sure you don’t think a little things like being in a cell, in a prison, on an island, in the middle of the ocean, could stop God’s Plan, do you?)

One morning, Jesus appeared – right there, in John’s cell. Jesus’ eyes  were bright, shining like the sun. “I am going to show you a secret, John,” Jesus said, “about when I come back.” His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. “Write down what you see so God’s children can read it, and wait with happy excitement.”

Then Jesus gave John a beautiful dream – except John was wide awake and what he saw was real and one day it would all come true…

I see a throne, And on the throne is a king. And the King is Jesus. All around the throne people are bowing down. They are giving him their treasures.

There are loud cheers and clapping, clapping and bright laughter like a thousand waterfalls and everyone bursts out singing a new song….

…”This is our King! The Lamb who died, so we don’t have to – our Rescuer. All Honor and Glory! Forever and ever.” And every creature everywhere, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, joins in.

And then

From all around

A wide

Immense

Beautiful

S i l e n c e

And I see Satan – God’s horrible enemy – thrown down, defeated.

I see a sparking city shimmering in the sky glittering, glowing – coming down! From heaven. And from the sky. Heaven is coming down to earth!

God’s city is beautiful. Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut.

Where is the sun? Where is the moon?  They aren’t needed anymore. God is all the Light people need.  No more darkness! No more night.

And the King says, “Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes they’re gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see – I have wiped away every tear from every eye!”

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, “Look I am making everything new!”

It was hard to squeeze all John saw into words. And fit it onto a page. And cram it into a book. All the words on all the pages of all the books in all the world would never be enough.

“I am the Beginning,” Jesus said, “and the Ending!” 

One day, John knew, Heaven would come down and mend God’s broken world and make it our true, perfect home once again.  And he knew, in some mysterious way that would be hard to explain, that everything was going to be more wonderful for once having been so sad.  And he knew then that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.

“I’m on my way,” said Jesus. “I’ll be there soon!”

John came to the end of his book. But he didn’t write “The End.” Because, of course, that’s how stories finish. (And this one’s not over yet.)  So instead, he wrote: “Come quickly, Jesus!” 
Which perhaps, is really just another way of saying…

To be continued…”

(The Jesus Storybook Bible)

Paraphase of John 1:12-13

“For anyone who says yes to Jesus

For anyone who believes what Jesus said

For anyone who will just reach out to take it.

Then God will give them this wonderful gift:

To be born into A whole new Life

To be who they really are

Who God always made them to be –

Their own true selves-

God’s dear Child.”

———————————-

As we share our journey and what God is speaking to us along the way, our hope is that you choose to be born into new life.  To be who YOU really are, who God made you to be fully.  Maybe you once were, but the you of today looks anything but a new creature, God can change that and transform that too.

Today can be your day to become a Christ follower.  You can have relationship with “I Am”.

-Lisa

What’s the Difference Between Willingness and Obedience (A Reflection on Isaiah 1:19-20)

The past few weeks have been a rich, but busy time in our family’s ministry at Camp Forest Springs. It has also been a time of physical pain (hand issues) and anxiety (about out next steps after our year at Camp Forest Springs is up). I (Jason) am having hand surgery tomorrow, I will be away from the laptop for at least 10 days while my right hand recovers. Anyway, here is a written journal entry I put together a few weeks ago. I don’t typically share my journal entries or prayers, but felt the need to share it in the case anyone could relate and be encouraged. 

1/4/13 (Isaiah 1:19-20)  

“If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”

I am a thinker (that may come as a  surprise to many). I tend to chew on the details. So, upon my first read, I was challenged by the words “willing” and “obedient.” I was challenged by them because I felt like they meant essentially the same thing. They don’t. 

willing = being ready to do something.

obedience = actually doing it. 

That’s a big difference. 

I feel like I am fairly willing to do what God wants me to do in our future. We moved away from everything that was comfortable for crying out loud. But what if our next step is something completely different than Christian camping? Would I be willing then? Would I practice obedience with zeal? Lord, help me. I want to be willing to go where you want me to go and do what you want me to do. Forgive me for the times that I am neither willing nor obedient. When my actions don’t match my words, or when I choose not to formulate the words to be willing. Help me set my feet in the starting block of what is today. Help me to look no further than today’s  race. 

Instead, help me have the faith that you will help me at the starting block of tomorrow’s race. And when you fire the starting pistol, help me to run – that is where obedience comes into play. Your Word promises the BEST from the land. That blessing comes from grace. As I see it Lord, the best means a family that knows you and cherishes your grace and mercy, and a clearly marked route from Camp Forest Springs to our next ministry opportunity. Those would be my desires neatly wrapped with a perfect bow.

But you, God, you wrap things differently.

You’ve showed me time and time again that your wrapping is perfect. I love you Lord. Help me to be willing and obedient – not only in following you, but also in glorifying you. I want to give you all that I have to give.

Amen.  

How can I find happiness? Is that even possible?

The following words are not mine but George Müller.  He was a thief, liar, gambler and drunk by the age of 14!  But God had another plan for his life and after a radical encounter with God, he had an INTENSE and AMAZING faith journey.  Please feel free to read more on him here.

I think his words really express Jason and my heart for the new year: knowing God through the revelation of the Holy Spirit through scripture.  It’s challenging, but simple.  I am praying that God will show us (and you!) how to walk this out in our daily, every day, ordinary lives.

Blessings,

-Lisa

“We have, through the goodness of the Lord, been permitted to enter upon another year—and the minds of many among us will no doubt be occupied with plans for the future, and the various fears of our work and service for the Lord. If our lives are spared we shall be engaged in those: the welfare of our families, the prosperity of our business, our work and service for Christ may be considered the most important matters to be attended to; but according to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.

But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How shall we obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.

In the Scriptures, by the power of the Holy Ghost, He makes Himself known unto our souls. . . . [Therefore] The very earliest portion of the day we can command should be devoted to the meditation on Scriptures. Our souls should feed upon the Word. . . . This intimate experimental acquaintance with Him will make us truly happy. Nothing else will. . . . In God our Father, and the blessed Jesus, our souls have a rich, divine, imperishable, eternal treasure. Let us enter into practical possession of these true riches; yea, let the remaining days of our earthily pilgrimage be spent in an ever increasing, devoted, earnest consecration of our souls to God.”