Greetings From The Hill!
BY BRIAN CANFIELD, HTH BOARD CHAIRMAN
For most of the last 38 years, HTH has served our God by hosting weekly youth summer camps, weekend retreats and other Christian and community activities. During those years, we’ve seen God work through ministries at His Thousand Hills to change lives and strengthen faith by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. 2020 has been a year like no other for all of us as Covid 19 has certainly created much uncertainty, changes and at times frustrations. HTH, as with all Christian camps, has been adversely affected with lower camper and camp revenue numbers. All previously scheduled 2020 spring retreats as well as weekly summer camps here have been canceled due to the Covid 19 virus and its mandated restrictions. Our retreat and camp revenue at the end of September is down over $75,000 from last year. However, as you will see throughout this newsletter, HTH continues to operate on a smaller scale under the guidelines. We continue to be blessed by God in many ways despite the Covid 19 virus and we are excited to see what God will do here after the restrictions go away. In the meantime, we continue to trust in our God, who never changes or is uncertain, to guide us through the challenges and help us make Christ-honoring decisions for HIS ministries here at HTH.
Endless Possibilities at HTH!
BY MICHELLE POLCZYNSKI, HTH HOST/GUEST SERVICES COORDINATOR
These are just a FEW of the ways that YOU could use HTH (besides camps & retreats): -A family reunion -Your family vacation -Campfire with friends, small groups from church, family members, etc. -Frisbee-golf -Night of worship in the Stone Chapel -Kickball night with youth group or friends -Hike on our miles of trails -Bible study in the Renewal Center or Lodge dining room (room for social distancing) -Beach volleyball party -Skate party in the Gym -Brunch or a dinner in the Lodge -and so many more ideas!!! Contact me by email for more details about availability and pricing! MichelleHTHhost@gmail.com
Welcoming New Staff + Volunteers!
His Thousand Hills has recently welcomed two families to the staff team. First, Ben and Michelle and their 3 children moved onsite in 2019, to become the host family, and...they've ended up doing a little bit of everything! Their hard work and dedication to seeing our camp flourish has made a noticeable difference. We are so blessed to have them serving here.
Gabriel, Tai and their 2 children moved onsite in early July, and hit the ground running as they began joining forces with Ben and Michelle and the board to plan and run a Day Camp in mid- August. (More on that later.) They both have been serving the Lord full-time for the past 10 years with a family band, and have been blessed to share the Gospel all across the US and Canada. Now they are excited to see how the Lord uses them in their new location, and hope to reach the community with the love of Jesus. In addition to the two staff families above, HTH has been blessed with a new part-time office manager: Evelyn Hoover, as well as a jack-of-all-trades maintenance volunteer, Norm Gerhart. Both are welcome additions to the HTH team of staff and volunteers. Several of the management duties and oversight continues to be completed by volunteer HTH board members. Volunteers play a critical role in maintaining low-cost operations, and are very much needed and appreciated - especially this year. We generally can fit a volunteer's skill/interest and time schedule to a task here at HTH. Give Evelyn a call at 570-297-2366 if you have an interest in volunteering or would like additional information (or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Summer 2020: Volunteers, Day Camp, & God's Blessings in the Midst of COVID.
BY TAI PETROFSKY, HTH STAFF
This year brought many more challenges with it than any of us could have ever expected. Things looked bleak on so many levels; a HUGE number of camps have joined in the ranks of small businesses and events across the world that have had to close their doors - some permanently. But the board and staff here at HTH knew God would preserve us in spite of the increasingly challenging times, and chose to press forward in hope and prayer, believing God to supply our needs, and even to GROW our camp and our outreach in this unlikely year. One answer to prayer was the Erb Mennonite Church, who brought their youth group to volunteer at our camp. They accomplished an amazing amount of maintenance work in just a day and a half, and left us feeling greatly encouraged. They also had a unique situation and incredible mission for those kids, which you can read more about on the blog on our website! Another HUGE blessing of this year is the fact that, against all odds, God made a way for us to offer a week-long mini-Day Camp to the local community! He brought together all of the details miraculously, and brought out the kids! Every prayer so perfectly answered that we can only say that God has accomplished it all! We had about 10 kids join us for our Bible Heroes Day Camp, and spent our week exploring some of the well-known Bible heroes more deeply through Bible lessons by local pastors, and themed crafts and activities. Through it all, they learned how God can use each of them to be a real hero too, if they are willing. (See Photos Below.)
Facilities Improvements Despite Covid 19, God has provided opportunities to improve the HTH facilities. Without many overnight campers, we’ve been able to complete many low-cost maintenance items such as staining/painting, tree/brush removal, removal of mowing obstacles, ditching, removal of unsightly trailers, lodge bathroom upgrades, clean- out of walking trails, etc. Several projects were completed with the project funds supplied from our last donor newsletter in February – new Lifetime dining room tables and chairs as well as all new floor coverings, window treatments and inside painting for the Staff White House. In June of 2020, HTH applied for and was approved for capital improvement grants from four area Foundations. These grants can only be used for designated capital projects but has allowed us to replace the Pavilion and White House roofs, install new floor covering in the Lodge upstairs, and a couple of other small projects. We praise God for the blessings these grants have provided. We applaud the efforts of our facility manager, Ben Polczynski, and his team of volunteers (Norm, Bob, Aaron, Gabe, Pete and others) for the great care they are providing for God’s special grounds and facilities here at HTH. We invite you to drive by or drop in sometime and see for yourself.
Donor Support Needed Now More Than Ever
The contributions from donors for HTH has been in the past and will continue to be in the future, a necessary and critical component for the ministries of HTH. We are very grateful for the past financial and prayer support we have received from each donor like yourself. With the cancelation of most camps and retreats so far in 2020, our normal cash build-up of $30, 000 +/- from summer camp revenue is simply not there this year. Our biggest challenge financially right now is to maintain our cash flow going forward into our lesser revenue fall and winter months, particularly as Covid-19 restrictions remain. With God’s guidance and provision, HTH has been able to greatly streamline our operations and hence reduce our normal operating expenses substantially. However, the reduced operating expenses still are not sufficient to offset the reduction of $75,000 in camp and retreat revenue. At this time, we ask you to keep praying for the HTH ministries and staff here. We also ask that you prayerfully consider how God might lead you to make new or continued donations to HTH to help meet the challenges of cash flow in 2020. If your church would consider the blessing of a special love offering for HTH, it would be much appreciated. We recognize that although our financial need is great, there are no challenges too big for our God as HE continues to amaze us with HIS provisions. You may use the enclosed remittance envelope for your donation.
Prayer Requests for His Thousand Hills
1. God’s provision for all Christian Camps who are dealing with operational and financial challenges due to Covid 19. 2. Increased utilization of HTH facilities by local churches and Christian organizations for ministry opportunities. 3. Kitchen Staff and Volunteers for HTH – part-time and seasonal. 4. Used vehicle for Tai and Gabe and their two children. 5. Michelle's monthly support level to be 100% met. 6. God’s wisdom for future decisions to be made by HTH Board and Staff.