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Camp Lebanon News – June 2019

A quick June update, including a recap of the summer so far, news about Grandma Sandy's Swim across Cedar Lake, and new prayer & praise items!

Youth Campers Discover 'Awesome Creator'

With a God-designed laboratory of 140 acres, over 1900 summer youth campers will be invited to discover the power, genius, and personal care of their Awesome Creator. In lieu of a clever summer theme as in past years, program staff chose instead to “let Camp be Camp.” No special props needed at the home of the “Funnest Fun!” Instead, program energies are being channeled into developing the first of four “Big ‘T’ Topics.” Staff see these core Truths as the foundations of a living faith, including creation (2019), salvation (2020), resurrection (2021), and revelation (2022).

If the first weeks of summer offer any clues, we’re in for an exciting season! Super Kids 1 got things soaring with 185 kids, 40+ of whom made a decision to say “Yes!” to Jesus. Junior High 1, though the “small” week of summer, filled with 171 young teens, a work crew of 24 from Woodbury Lutheran, and a full session of Leaders In Training (12 students). Looking ahead, all future youth sessions will hit 210 or more, with a waiting list of 120! The four family camps are on pace to match last summer’s record. What’s more, the many guest groups filling the weekends could push total summer attendance over 5000 for the first time. All glory to God! Thanks for praying with and for your Camp!

$150,000 Gift Grows Scholarship Endowment Fund

God continues to bless Camp Lebanon through estate gifts of friends wanting to advance the ministry. The latest gift of $150,000 arrived in late May from a man who passed away on Good Friday. In honor of a granddaughter who drowned at age nine, this friend wants to help make it possible for many kids like her to find their way to Camp and to the Savior. Per family wishes, his donation will be added to Camp’s Scholarship Endowment (now valued at $350,000).

One More Swim for Grandma Sandy!

Ninety-two-year-young Sandy Abeler, lovingly known as “Swimming Grandma,” makes her seventh and final swim for scholarships across Cedar Lake to Camp Lebanon on Friday, July 5. Escorted by a pod of family and friends and a flotilla of pontoons, kayaks and canoes, Sandy plans an 11 AM start to her nearly half-mile, half-hour swim. Sandy, a mother of six and grandmother to 24 with nine grands, got the idea for the fundraiser back in 2012. “It’s all about helping get those precious kids to Camp so that they can hear the good news that Jesus loves them,” she explained. “It’s something I could do.” That first swim doubled expectations with $2200 and each year the blessing grew larger. In her 2019 comeback, Sandy hopes to surpass her last swim’s total of $16,500. The six-year total is $45,000. WOW! With a bum knee and an arthritic hip, Sandy finds walking difficult. That challenge and others led her to “retire” after the 2017 swim. But there’s no stopping her this time. She quotes Philippians 4:13 for inspiration. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength to do it,” she declares with convincing resolve. This will be fun!


HELP SWIMMING GRANDMA REACH HER $17,000 GOAL! Give online at or mail a check to the Camp. Thanks helping us love kids to the Savior!

Praise & Pray!

  • PRAISE! Full summer staff team, full sessions, full throttle energy! Charge!
  • PRAISE! Memorial for Camp’s great friend, Chuck McMurray (FBC-LP): $1910.
  • PRAISE! Spring Records: Men’s Advance 129, Mother-Daughter 198. 1292 guests!
  • PRAISE! Record Spring Senior Day: 240 guests, $8933 love offering, sweet time!
  • PRAISE! Volunteer Work Crew: Woodbury Lutheran at JH 1 (20 teens, 4 adults).
  • PRAY! Staff Openings: Women’s Retreat Coordinator, Facilities Manager.
  • PRAY! Summer Ministries: Spiritually effective, physical safety, staff health & unity.
  • PRAY! Fall Ministries: Planning, volunteer recruitments, registrations.

Volunteers Stretch Ministry $

Friends of Camp come through again! Twice in June volunteers stepped up to help complete big projects. On June 7-8, the Mike Ackerman family (Willmar) and Dave Blanchard (Long Prairie) worked to repair and reroof the leaking west end showerhouse. On June 12-13, a crew of Teen Challenge – Brainerd men jumped in and assisted staff in pouring a long-awaited curb and gutter. What blessings!

Inbox Blessings

From a Super Kids 1 Parent

“Thank you for creating such a wonderful experience for my son. He didn’t want to go to Camp and now is super excited to go next year! He’s talked about growing deep into God’s Word so he can grow ‘true north’… He also shared that he didn’t go up in the service to accept Christ, but prayed in his cabin and wants to be baptized…Thanks to you and your team for pointing him toward Christ!”


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