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Covenant Pines Ministries

2022 Reflections from Dave Cairns

Our Executive Director share his thoughts on this past year at Covenant Pines Ministries.

December is a time of reflection. I’m sitting by the window watching the snow fall as I write this article and thinking back over all that has taken place over the past year. You have read stories in the past months of individual Sacred Places at CPM, of the exceeding generosity of donors and of Next Step faith steps taken by both campers and staff. Collectively, we celebrate these stories and God’s fingerprints on them. This morning I reflect on stories that are hidden a little further below the surface, but still have God’s fingerprints on them.

Pickleball. Yes, that pickleball. Did you know that each week since mid-October 20-60 players have descended on CPBC to play pickleball? What started out as a casual conversation has grown into a daily morning event. These players from the McGregor community sign-up online for a 3 hour window to play in the gym. For the majority of them, this is their first introduction to the ministry of CPBC. And while there is no chapel service, God is using pickleball to create community relationships, grow our volunteer network and even generate a few donors. (Our staff would love to teach you how to play on your next trip to camp!)

It was an unexpected phone call that brought John and Maria to Adventurous Christians. You’ll get to meet them if you visit AC over the winter. John and Maria love Jesus, are retired and have an adventurous side to them. After spending the past few years traveling the US on their motorcycle and volunteering with various ministries and park systems, they were looking for a part of the country they had not visited before. With a newly converted Greyhound bus as a tiny home, Northern Minnesota seemed like just the place to spend a winter volunteering. A google search and series of phone calls later, John and Maria arrived at AC in October and will be volunteering through the Spring. They brought with them a passion for serving God, skills that fit specific needs at AC and humbleness to be used by God wherever and whenever.

The CPM Board approved a new employee handbook in 2020. For the most part the approval was to update language and make minor revisions. There was one significant change – the inclusion of sabbatical. While widely accepted in higher education and for lead pastors, sabbaticals are not as common in camping ministry. Knowing that our year-round staff give sacrificially and with our desire is to create a healthy rhythm of work and rest, a sabbatical policy was developed for staff who have worked at least five years. In September, I was the fourth employee to experience a four week sabbatical. During my time away, I spent 9 days solo backpacking 140 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail. A few friends thought it was crazy to have this be my first backpacking trip. God used this time away from emails, meetings and phone calls to bring rest. It was so rejuvenating to spend this solitude time hiking, reflecting and praying.

The mission of Covenant Pines Ministries is to Encourage Campers to Take a Next Step in Christian Faith. I am thankful for obvious ways this occurs through Chapel and conversations around the campfire. I’m also grateful for the times God shows up during pickleball, unexpected phone calls and the solitude of hiking.

Thank you for your support of Covenant Pines Ministries.