One year ago was the beginning. The beginning of the pandemic and all the chaos that went with it. It’s been a rough year.
It has been a rough year, but Crow navigated it as well as anyone, I think. We’ve turned our focus to renovation and upgrades - both to the physical plant, and to our office processes and administration. That has been encouraging, and also sad. Like the sound dampening panels in the dining hall. It’s always so loud in there: concrete floors, and concrete walls, and a concrete ceiling… The panels look great, and it was a much needed improvement in a building that was already close to perfect for camp.
But it is also a reminder: that dining hall is always so loud. Except… it is silent. The most effective sound dampening there is? Pandemic.
It wasn’t a melancholy year, though. We ran a really successful summer of wilderness outdoor recreation, with a amazing group of Outdoor Leaders. What we couldn’t do in quantity, we made up for in quality. It’s been a rough year, but in the best moments, it was also confirmation that “he who promised is faithful.” - Hebrews 10:23
Last week, we released The Plan. I like how ambitious it is. I like that it is called "The Plan" - with a Capital P. It feels grand, and confident; vigorous… And so, although we’re fairly tightly constrained (we can’t even run a day camp at this point) and we don’t have any clarity or insight into what comes next... we do have The Plan. It’s laughable, really - a colour-coded chart of what we want. Print it out, and you have yourself a flimsy reminder of how little we control, and how dependent we are.
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.” ~ 1 Peter 1:24
(also... check out Fernando’s version)
That’s our plan. Sorry, that’s The Plan.
You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. ~ Proverbs 16:9
The Lord’s purpose will prevail, but that doesn’t mean we ought to proceed without a plan. I believe we can honour God in our plans, by acknowledging God’s purpose and sovereignty as we make them.
Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance. ~ Proverbs 20:18
This tension - the tension between knowing that we don’t know, and also knowing that God will hold us accountable for our own plans and expects us to act with wisdom - has been on my mind.
At this moment, overnight summer camp in 2021 looks like a coin-flip. Could go either way. Some days, I think it is definitely happening. All of it: campfires, songs, stories, games. Some days, I see that Alberta is pushing second shots out for four months. Four months. Count that out on your fingers, and maybe a coin flip suddenly seems optimistic. Because if we are mandated to ensure social distancing, summer camp isn’t going to work. If we need to observe social distancing, we won’t be running normal overnight camps, with bunk beds, and cabin leaders, and the whole shebang.
I am comforted (somewhat) that ultimately it isn’t our decision. The Leaders at Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp can flex our brains impressively, but technique, and careful planning cannot spare us from pain, or prevent the bad bounces. Living a year under Covid has demonstrated to me - conclusively - that a ministry can have great people, have a great system in place, and still be run over by circumstances that are genuinely beyond our control.
“I saw something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is the bread to the wise, nor the wealth to the intelligent, nor the favor to the skillful. For time and chance happen to all… I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:11; 10:7
I give you these words not to discourage you, but precisely to encourage you. You do not control your own fate. You will never be able by your own skill or technique secure success. So... what next? What do we at Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp do?
Seek Wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t ensure a win, but it sure is better than folly! Wisdom makes things easier. Wisdom worksTM. It is not a 100% guarantee - something between 10% and 80% guarantee, let’s say - but it does work.
Rely upon faith, not technique, not wisdom, not your own capacity. There’s something of faith in letting go. There are so many verses to choose from here. I have decided to go with Psalm 20:7 - “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” It is not our job to bring the results. It is our job to be available - somehow - to plant… to water… but to remember “neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to (Romans 12:3)
Rely on, and recognize the strength of your team (Romans 12:4). When success happens, praise the team, and recognize that we did it together.
Do what you can. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Be faithful in small things, and celebrate small successes, even in the face of significant failures.
Remember, when you succeed, that sometimes a fool rides high in a Prince’s place. Do not become puffed up; you didn’t do it all - you may not have even done MOST of it. Live with humility.
Forgive yourself and others when failure happens. It is inevitable, and time and chance happen to us all.
That’s the report from Crow. We have a plan - The Plan - and we have a healthy optimism, and also we’re ready to let it go. If Alberta Health Services says that overnight camps are not permitted, we will submit to their good guidance. We put out The Plan so that you could start to think about your leave requests, and travel arrangements, but in the end, The Plan has a lot in common with the seller who planned a year, to travel, and make a good profit - but did not know: “You are a mist.”
We have The Plan. But we’re also praying, as we were directed, “If it be your will.” (James 4:15) And hoping…
Hoping to see you all soon.