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Camp Hope is slowly digging itself out from the burdensome layer of branches and trees that fell down during the ice storm of January 4-6, taking down power lines and poles with it. Adding to the mess, Courtney, a professional tree faller from one of our northern churches, was hired to come and cut down more trees while the power lines were down. These were trees that were either storm damaged, leaning towards buildings or power lines, or had just grown too big becoming a safety concern.

Two large excavators were hired and brought to the camp, one to create a buffer between our power lines and the neighboring woods. The other to clean up debris and load large logs to be hauled away. Three to four weeks of excavator work has been completed. Smaller, very useful equipment was also loaned to the camp, including a Bobcat tractor and a chipping machine

Right from the start, volunteers have been showing up and helping. Some days there are 20-30 volunteers, and sometime just one or two. Many are retired, in their 70s and 80s, still very hard working people. Families, singles, seniors, young and old, all ready to work with a pair of gloves, a willing heart, and a love for their camp.

After seeing the Camp Hope ice storm story on the Vancouver evening news, Wayne came to help from the neighboring town of Hope, just because it was the right thing to do. He even left a small donation. John and Michel from our more distant churches put in a day’s drive to come and help. Michel felt that God called him to come, and spent three weeks volunteering. Gordon, though on oxygen, comes and helps out, oxygen bottle going everywhere he does.

Chain saws and muscles, some old and some newer, well used, but some largely unused, were tuned up and brought out to help. Two of our schools, Fraser Valley Adventist Academy and Fountain View Academy each sent a bus load of students to spend a day helping. These were a great help.

At the time of this writing, after three weeks of work, clean-up is about 50% complete. Damaged roof and horse corral repair has yet to start. Power was restored after 10 days and lines are 90% complete.

We are very grateful that damage to buildings was minimal, for many volunteers and helpers and to date… no injuries! While the beauty of Camp Hope slowly emerges, as from a cocoon, and we see mostly a big mess with tons of work, we know that in time we will see the blessing in the thorn.

By Bill Gerber, Camp Hope Director
 Camp Hope Ice Storm 2015