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Men of Hope 2013

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Perhaps many years ago, before there was a Camp Hope lodge complete with a great kitchen staff, individual rooms with showers, baseboard heaters and such, a men’s retreat would have been more adventurous, more earthy! With no electricity, no heat except from fires, no lights except lanterns or candles, no food except beans, smoked tofu, dandelion greens and spruce bough tea, it would have been a real ‘guy time’.

Well, last men’s retreat, November 2013 was a bit of a throwback to the olden times. Sometime during the wee hours of the night, during a heavy downpour, a car went off the road and took out a telephone pole out on the highway in front of the camp. To fix it, they turned out the power, ours included. We woke up to darkness. 

Maintenance Director Todd Schafer interrupted my beautiful deep slumber and we were up and out in the rain and searching for the source of our powerlessness. We soon found it out on the highway and knew we were not part of the solution. BC Hydro was already on it, replacing  the  pole. We were told to anticipate two hours but it was closer to seven.

One by one the men arose on Sabbath morning to the realization that all was not as it had been the night before.

Men of Hope 2013

As the lodge was already cooling off, we started fires in the fireplaces and one in the wood stove. Even though the water was still hot, some seized the opportunity not to shower or shave! The staff in the kitchen with the help of candles, flashlights and gas stoves still put on a delicious spread and no one went hungry.

We had a great group of guys out for the Men's Retreat last weekend, Nov 1-3. The weather was blustery and wet until Sunday, when the skies cleared and we could see the snow was quite low on the mountains.... It was an adventure. Due to an auto accident out on highway 7, the power was out from about 4 a.m. Sabbath morning until just before 2 pm Sabbath afternoon. 

Our wonderful kitchen team continued on undaunted, with the aid of the gas stoves/ovens, candles and flashlights etc, and we did not lack for scrumptious food.

Thank you Stephanie, Rita and staff. They also put out many candles to light the darker areas, the stairwells etc. Both fireplaces were burning, as well as the wood stove. While it was a little chilly inside, our hearts were warm and the brotherhood we shared was incredible.

Pastor John Murley gave us many inspiring manly messages and everyone was blessed by the Godly wisdom he shared with us. It was good to see a big group from Quesnel and from Nanaimo. Hope you guys had a safe trip home. 

One highlight of the weekend was having 'Big George' there for the first time. He is an amazing man and we were honored to make his acquaintance.

It was impossible to wipe the smile off of his face, not that we wanted to. A number of years ago he was the town drunk up in Lytton, spending on average 3 days a week in the town drunk tank. Today he is a man reborn and living a God filled life.

Thank you to Peter and Markku from Fountainview for befriending George at the Lytton dump and sharing Christ's unconditional love. I hope to post 'Big George's' story on this page one day soon.

We also had a guest fisherman, Brent, who has fished all his life and works on our BC west-coast shared a story of survival with the guys. One night the boat he was traveling in rolled over in a storm near Cape Mudge and he survived for 5 hours in 50 mph winds and big waves. He says he spoke with God a lot that night and has been a changed man ever since. His story is in the book Dangerous Waters by Keith Keller. 

You men who were not there. You missed out. Plan on coming next year and getting a great blessing.

By Bill Gerber, Camp Hope Director; Photos by Jon Mundall

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