Charting the Course to Christ: Grindstone's Global Impact Through a Former Camper
I remember like it was yesterday, that’s how I know it was significant. I was six-years-old, sitting toward the back of the old chapel at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp. It was dark; the lights were dimmed. Diane, the head counselor from my cabin, prayed with me as I surrendered my life to Jesus. A few years later, back at camp, I was sitting two or three rows back during the morning chapel service. The speaker was talking about the life of a missionary and all the people in the world without anyone to tell them about Jesus. At the end of the short sermon, I remember standing up as a declaration that I was going to be a missionary when I grew up.
The summer of my sophomore year in high school I went on my first mission trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I experienced a culture full of warm and accepting enthusiasm. I looked into the eyes of children who had never known their parents and spoke to women in the market who were searching for significance. I returned to Jamaica two years later, and as the week unfolded, I was uncomfortably reminded of the decision I'd made so many years ago at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp. However, being a missionary wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I had other plans.
Well, my plans didn’t work out. They completely unraveled and left me feeling frustrated and lost. Nineteen-years-old and one year out of high school, I suddenly didn’t know what to do with my life. I decided to give God five months to help me figure it out. It was the fall of 2006. I arrived in Adams, Tennessee, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was a short missionary training program with an international and interdenominational mission organization. Their slogan: "to know God and to make Him known."
After three months of classroom learning, I stepped onto a plane that took me to the unfamiliar land of Egypt. I lived in Egypt for a little over a month. It sounds crazy, but it was long enough for me to call it home. The streets became familiar, and the people became friends. My desire to communicate and get around helped me pick up some of the local language; it came naturally. In Egypt, a 90% Muslim country, I felt alive in a way I hadn’t since my last mission trip to Jamaica, and I was reminded of the commitment that ten-year-old me made all those years ago at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp – that I would be a missionary when I grew up.
Five months turned into 13 years of training and working in missions. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to England, India, Bolivia, Ecuador, Kosovo, and I’ve lived and worked long term in Chile. I’ve learned from cultures not my own, struggled with foreign languages, seen God at work in the darkest of places and had the opportunity to be a part of it. And it all started in a chapel pew at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of being the camp missionary. This time, I was standing at the front of the chapel with campers looking up at me. Wow! What a gift to be back in this way. The chapel was different, but the nostalgia was still there. I was in awe of how things had come full circle in a way only God could orchestrate. I gave the campers the same challenge that was given to me all those years ago, and prayed God would write many more missionary stories that started in a chapel pew at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp.
About the Author: Tara Balvin, a Mora, Minnesota native, now lives in Chile with her husband, Pablo, and son, Hosea. Tara worked with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for 13 years. She credits her years of ministry in the mission field to the decision she made as a young girl at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp. Tara now spends much of her time as an English language educator for Spanish speakers.
Early Bird Ends May 31st!
Our early bird discount of $10 off and a free t-shirt for overnight youth camps ends May 31st! This is a great way for families to save some money. If plans change, you can call or email the registrar (email@example.com) to switch to a different week.
Written by: Beth Haglin, mother of 2 campers ages 9 and 11
I squeezed my young daughter tightly to my chest . . . held her face in my hands and wondered at how it mirrors my own . . . looked into her blue eyes dancing with excitement. "Bye mom! That was my last walk with the dog before I go to camp! You will have to walk him while I'm gone!" She bounced down the gravelly slope of our driveway and climbed into my husband's red pickup. Sleeping bag. Swimsuit. Pillow, stuffed with innumerable items that she "needs" on her bed. Carefully chosen outfits. Everything except . . . me. She doesn't need me for this.
Parents: perhaps you have experienced these moments and emotions, or else maybe this will be your first summer of "letting go" as your child attends a week of camp for the first time.
Whatever your situation, I have some tried-and-true tips to help you prepare to send them off.
1. Use string to tie each outfit together in your child's suitcase.
This makes it easy for your child to find new, clean clothes every day! I also provide a large garbage bag for dirty clothes, so they don't have to mix dirty with the clean. Trust me, everything at camp just gets progressively wetter and wetter as the week goes on. And . . . trust me, even if you do this, some kids will still come back home with most of the outfits untouched. #camplife
2. Be the parent that sends a fan.
You will be a hero if the week is hot and sticky. The cool breeze from a fan can help everyone sleep better at night.
3. Provide a Bible that is readable for your child.
Campers will spend time actually reading their own Bible, and it is much more enjoyable if they can understand at least some of it on their own! For very young children I recommend the NIrV which is written at a 3rd grade reading level. Talk to your pastor about recommending a Bible translation if your child needs one for camp.
4. Pray for your child.
Ask Christ to make himself known in a real and personal way. Pray that your child's heart is open to knowing Him.
5. Make some plans for yourself.
You will worry less, and the week will go by faster, if you have a few activities for yourself. I have gutted and cleaned entire rooms of the house, gone out with friends, traveled, gardened, baked cookies . . . and yes, stared at her picture wondering what she was doing right then.
Safely belted into my husband's truck, my sweet daughter waved all the way down the driveway until they passed behind the trees and out of sight. I kept waving. Smiling. Empty and full. I know the Lord Jesus will reach out to her this week, and I will be at home praying that her heart is eagerly listening!
10 Reasons Why College is the Perfect Time to Serve at Grindstone Lake Bible Camp
Morgan, Nicole, and I had all been involved in ministry and had known each other for years; we thought that working at a summer camp together would be just another chapter in our college season. But it wasn’t just another chapter; it was one of the chapters that shaped our relationships with each other and our creator. Looking back, there was no better choice than walking away from internships, classes, and all the things that we “should have done” while in college and serving with one of the ministries that holds a place in all of our hearts.
After reflecting on the goodness that God has done in our hearts through Grindstone Lake Bible Camp, we decided to write down just a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t just do camp ministry, but you should do ministry through GLBC.
1. You get to spend time outside. Who doesn’t want that?
2. You learn how to work well with others. If you can get along with people when you have little sleep, are expelling a great deal of energy, and living in tight quarters for 8 weeks straight; you can work well with anyone!
3. Nobody judges you if you’re sweaty or dirty, because everyone is sweaty and dirty.
4. You don’t have to play it cool when asked if you like to play games; in fact, you’re encouraged not to play it cool. You’re encouraged to get your tube socks on, paint your face, and try to steal that flag even when the odds feel impossible.
5. You learn skills like time-management, flexibility, and communication, all of which will benefit you in any career path.
6. When working at a small camp you get to have personal and authentic relationships with supervisors and co-workers. They know you at your worst and still love you.
7. With those personal relationships, you gain the flexibility to learn/grow in certain areas of interest because of the hearts that Kevin and Amber Burgess (Camp Director & Registrar) have for supporting their staff. That’s a big thing; most camps don’t have Kevin & Amber (or a baby Mordecai). Example: You are the nurse but you love playing soccer, bam. All of a sudden you are now a soccer instructing nurse that also gets to lead worship. And they pay you to do all those things. Amazing, right?
8. You get time to grow in your faith during a foundational part of your life—your coworkers and supervisors are invested in your faith journey, available to have authentic conversations, and hold you accountable.
9. There is limited cell reception and internet access. Being unplugged for a few months is good for you and allows you to be present—trust us, it’s great.
10. You make life-long friends!! Nothing brings you together quite like a summer filled with campfires, sunsets, yelling at the top of your lungs in excitement over every little thing, kids that drive you crazy and that you also love a lot, and worshiping and talking about Jesus nonstop. This is the stuff friendship is made of, folks!
Authors: Danielle Yaste, Morgan LaPlante, & Nicole Smetana
A Letter from our Board Chairman
Dear friend of Grindstone Lake Bible Camp,
Spring greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The 2017 camping season is almost here,and once again,we are busy planning and making preparations for campus improvements. We anticipate God doing great things again this summer at GLBC.
As a devoted supporter of camp, we want to share some concerns and needs that our aging campus has. As you know, the camper fees we charge do not cover our annual expenses. If they did, our camper fees would be out of reach for many families. Instead, GLBC has relied on faithful partners like yourself to supply the need that we have to keep camp affordable and viable.
Below you will find the "Top Five" projects the Board of Directors have deemed as priorities or are in need of being replaced or completed. We bring these to you as a matter of consideration and prayer. We realize that what we share are large dollar amounts, however, we also realize that we serve an awesome God, who supplies all our needs.
1. Replacing the convection ovens in the kitchen.....................$8,000.00
2. Replacing the automatic commercial pan washer in the kitchen........$2,500.00
3. Replacing the two walking bridges that go over the mote to the girls cabins...$1,200/bridge
4. Updating the bathrooms and showers in the boys and girls cabins.......$1,500.00/bathroom (10 bathrooms total )
5. Converting our temporary chapel bldg into a new administration office/nurses station/staff lounge. There has already been a generous contribution of $5,000.00 towards this project, we estimate it will take another $10,000.00 to complete it.
Would you be willing to contribute to one of these important projects or perhaps pay for an entire project in full? Please prayerfully consider this important ministry as God lays it on your heart. If you are willing to contribute please make your check out to GLBC and mail it to:
Grindstone Lake Bible Camp
13222 Grindstone Lake Road
Sandstone Mn 55072
This year, GLBC celebrates its 85th year of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with young people!! Literally thousands of campers have heard the message of the gospel at Grindstone Lake. Your prayerful and financial contribution will help this legacy of the gospel being heard to continue. THANK YOU!!
From the Camp Board of Directors,
Loren Nelson, Chairman GLBC
320 630 7999
Kevin Burgess, Camp Director
603 608 9068
Have a comment or a question? We would love to hear from you!
God Bless you for being a part of GLBC!
Welcome to the Grindstone Blog
Hello Blog Readers! We are pleased to announce that we are starting a Grindstone Blog! This blog will be used to give detailed updates to our wonderful campers, parents, and supporters. We will also be sharing the new things that are happening at camp, as well as prayer requests, and donation opportunities. Essentially, we want to keep those who love Grindstone as informed as possible! Throughout the off season we will try to keep you updated at least twice a month, and a couple times a week during the camping season. We look forward to you hearing from our staff and friends of Grindstone Lake Bible Camp. We hope that as you read through our future posts that you feel as if you are a part of this ministry whether you live in the area, or live thousands of miles away!
Author: Amber Burgess
Grindstone Staff & Friends