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Fellowship Deaconry Blog

Sharing Updates and Stories from Fellowship Deaconry Ministries

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection

It was our privilege to be a drop off site for Operation Christmas Child again this year.  Volunteers worked hard for two weeks collecting boxes and getting them ready to be shipped overseas. In total, 1,890 boxes were collected!  We're so thankful for the dedicated Operation Christmas Child volunteers who make this program possible and ask you to join us in prayer for all of the children who will be receiving boxes and attending the discipleship program overseas.

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Introducing our new Executive Director, Rev. Joel E. Davis

It is with great joy that we introduce Rev. Joel E. Davis as Executive Director at Fellowship Deaconry Ministries.  He joined us in the beginning of November 2016, having previously served as Assistant V.P. of Finance at Pillar College.

Pastor Joel is a faithful servant of God.  We believe his gifts as a pastor and finance professional are a combination that will help him grow our current ministries and develop new ones.  Joel is a church planter, a people-person, and a lover of the Word.  He understands our vision:

"To glorify God by facilitating positive, life-transforming experiences for all who come."

And he wants our core values, or DNA, to motivate our Staff and be evident to each person who visits these hallowed grounds.  These core values are Joy, Unity, Stewardship, and a Servant's Heart

Please join us in welcoming Pastor Joel to our Staff and continue to pray with us for God's Glory to be further manifested in our midst.

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Day Camp Sunshine Update

Sunshine. Slushies. Swimming. Sunscreen. Sweet Shop. Songs. Sports. Sleepovers. Smiling Faces. Staff. Salvations. While each of these accurately depicts an aspect of Day Camp Sunshine (DCS), none describes the true essence and nature of DCS. The singular word that would truly capture and portray the ministry of DCS is relationships.

Having been involved in nineteen summers of sleep away camp, I felt confident and knowledgeable jumping into the day camp environment. I was blown away with the deep connection and close relationships the staff developed with their campers as well as with each other over the course of nine weeks. The very foundation and roots of DCS also boils down to one significant relationship. Our staff poured out their heart and soul introducing their campers to Jesus Christ and cultivating a personal relationship with Him.

As we inched closer to our ninth and final week of camp, campers responded to their counselors with deeper questions about Heaven & God. When that final day of camp arrived, tears trickled down the faces of the veteran counselor, the macho twelve year old boy and the youngest, most innocent Kindergarten girl. The final chapter of the summer had come and like every amazing book, you wanted it to continue. Why? Campers felt loved and accepted by their counselors, while counselors loved ministering to their kids and showing them God’s love.

All in all, over 50 counselors representing 6 continents, 11 different countries and 4 states ministered to 391 families, 547 campers and a total of 2,437 youth over 9 weeks. Countless spiritual discussions took place, numerous seeds planted, and God rewarded the staff in seeing the fruit of their labor with many kids accepting Christ. Praise God for the lives impacted at Day Camp Sunshine in 2015.

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Sandbox Salvation


On July 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm, 271 screaming campers sprinted towards the high ropes course, anxiously awaiting the next event in the most crazy and competitive week of camp: Color Wars! Less than two hundred yards away, quietly perched on a wooden bench under an oak tree near a sand box, sat two young seven year old boys quietly speaking with their counselor. Perplexed as to why these two boys had not joined the throng of madness at the all camp activity, I strolled over to them.

Mr. Amos saw me coming and provided an amazing opportunity. “Would you talk to this young man? He has questions about Heaven, but thinks he is already going simply because his parents are Christians.” For the next ten minutes, Mr. Amos & I separately shared the Gospel and God’s plan of salvation with the young boys.

Two hundred yards away from us, 271 campers laughed, yelled & participated in an activity at the climbing tower while two young boys sat silently contemplating the amazing story of Jesus dying on a cross for them. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit and Mr. Amos’ commitment to his young camper’s spiritual condition, both boys prayed to accept Christ as their personal Savior. Despite the amazing amount of fun being had at the high ropes course just a stone’s throw away, a sand box is where two boys confessed their sin and entered the kingdom of Heaven. While the high ropes course is an amazing tool that captivates our campers, God used a simple, wooden bench under an oak tree near a sand box to bring two boys to a saving knowledge of an act of love that occurred on a different tree two thousand years ago.

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New Entrance to Bethel House and Improvements to Mother House

Bethel HouseRecently, Bethel House received a new entranceway (pictured left) providing a safer experience for our guests.

Power upgrade to Mother House

The Mother House is one of our oldest and most identified buildings here at the Deaconry. It is the place where our kitchen and dining rooms invite our guest to partake in hearty meals and houses the Sisters who have served us and God faithfully for all their lives. The electrical service is old and greatly in need of upgrading so we have started a project that will modernize the electrical infrastructure to meet our needs for years to come. It is just one of many ongoing needs we have to maintain and sustain our facilities so that we can continue to provide a resource for our guests to enjoy.

Would you consider helping to support this and other strategic needs with your prayers as we manage this process? Perhaps you are handy and have time to volunteer or can help to underwrite our maintenance and renovation fund, with 29 buildings there is always a big list of things to fix or maintain.

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Day Camp Sunshine: Stories of Impact

“I was waiting until midnight so I could register my children for camp once it opened. I fell asleep, but I woke up at 1:00am so I got on the computer to register.”

This was a phone call from a dad who was new to camp last summer. He was so impressed with camp that not only did he register right away, he has referred many new families. He is one of our biggest supporters. There are two big reasons, whether he knows it or not, that Day Camp Sunshine (DCS) is so special. The first is the power of camp. Summer camps have an opportunity to reach children in many special ways. It gets them out in nature as well as gets them to be active. It helps their imagination to soar. It also helps them learn to interact with each other face-to-face (no electronics allowed). Camp teaches creativity, social skills, independence, good sportsmanship, life skills, and building lasting friendships.

The second reason camp is so powerful, at least for us at Day Camp Sunshine, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the quintessential reason why we exist in the first place. Seeing the campers lives changed because of the work of the Holy Spirit is an incredible thing. For many of the campers, camp is the only place they get to hear/learn about God. We witness lives impacted by the work done on the cross that Jesus sacrificed Himself on. There is no greater thing. Last summer we saw over 23 campers make a decision for Christ. For many others, it was an opportunity to be discipled – to truly understand what it means to be a follower of Christ.

As a product of camp myself, I know the impact it can have on a person. As a matter of fact, it’s been the majority of my career. With that said, we have many families who would love to send their child/teen to DCS but can’t afford it. That’s where you come in. Maybe God has blessed you so you can bless others. Would you be willing to sponsor a child for a week or two of camp? If you are able, could you donate $370 for a 1st-6th grader, or $400 for a teen camper? Maybe that is more than you can afford, so how about $50 or $100? Whatever amount you are able to give will be appreciated. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me.” Thank you for your support.

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How Great is Our God?

Fellowship Deaconry GroundsBy: Ron Schober, Executive Director 

We may often think or say that God is good, and indeed He is good all the time, but that doesn’t seem to best describe how “all things work together for those who love Him and that are called to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). As the new Executive Director of Fellowship Deaconry Ministries (FDM) I have experienced the greatness of our God in directing my paths to help the board and staff understand God’s perfect plan for us as stewards of these precious resources here in Liberty Corner, NJ. As I walk around the grounds, I can only imagine how God has used this place and the Sisters for healing, transformation, and His glory during the past 82 years. It is my desire to seek His will and blessings as we explore new and significant ways to use our staff and facilities for His glory and honor.

We have an opportunity to serve our community needs as we partner with local churches and regional ministries to offer education, recreation, and restoration to youth and adults in the greater metropolitan area. With over 40 acres and more than two dozen buildings, the task is challenging to say the least. I have been blessed with a competent staff and wise board, but we need and covet the continued prayers, and support, of our Deaconry “friends”.

Your faithfulness over the years has allowed us to make improvements, repairs, and continue to make our facilities affordable to groups so they can experience God’s peace in the beauty and serenity of these grounds. I have listed a few investment opportunities for you to consider as we plan our needs. Perhaps one of these, or a portion of one, resonates with you, or a gift of any amount will help close our operating budget gap this year. We are also planning a new scholarship program to help sponsor a child in need with a Day Camp Sunshine or Sunshine Preschool experience. Would you be willing to help as you can to support these important stewardship opportunities?

 

A few investment giving opportunities – could you help meet some portion of our need?
  • New roof on our barn – we need 180 sections of shingles costing $100 each
  • We need a good, used, ¾ ton, 4-wheel-drive pickup truck for general utility and snow plowing
  • Replace four commercial double exterior doors – large chapel – these are $2,000 a piece!
  • Paint a wall or room – A $25 gift “covers” one of many rooms
  • Two laptops to replace aging units – $750 each to update our offices
  • Sponsor a camp scholarship – $150 is half the cost of a camp week
  • Help a Sunshine Preschooler with a $50/day or $250/week scholarship
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Thank you, Allen Smith

On behalf of the board and staff of Fellowship Deaconry, I would like to express our appreciation to Allen Smith for his leadership efforts during the past three years. He has worked to grow programs and resources and sustain the facilities that are the heart of our ministry. Through his efforts Day Camp Sunshine has grown and improvements have been made to benefit this important FDM program and outreach. He also oversaw renovations to the Sister’s living space, which integrated special cooking and dining areas to improve the efficiency and quality of their living. Allen brought many organizational enhancements as well, with updates to our website, governance, and accreditation with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Well done, good and faithful servant!

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Sunshine Preschool Update

This has been a great year at Sunshine Preschool & Infant Care. It is hard to believe that it is already April and school will be over soon!  One of my favorite times each week is getting to teach the Bible story to our preschoolers every Monday. I love going into the classrooms and sharing with them that Jesus loves them. It was fun to have them learn about Jesus’ birth before Christmas and help them understand what the real meaning of Christmas is. We have currently been learning all about Jesus’ life, and for the past few weeks have been learning why Easter is so much more than bunnies and eggs. One of my favorite stories from this past year is hearing about how one of our Stories 3 year olds loves to go home and sing about having the Joy of Jesus down in her heart.

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Day Camp Sunshine: Stories of Impact

2014 was a very special summer and in our end of season parent survey, the families told us exactly how it had impacted not only their child’s life, but their lives as well.

“Where do I start? This was the BEST camp experience we ever had! My son changed so much during and after camp it was amazing. He was more focused, willing to try new things...I can go on and on! He made new friends, loved his counselors and he can’t wait to come back next year. I was just as sad as he was when it ended.”

“I am personally so very THANKFUL to have DCS in my “backyard”! What an incredible experience for my kids to attend a Christian Camp that is loving and serving God, the kids, and the community of parents and beyond. Please keep doing what you are doing!!”

“My son was absolutely thrilled with the camp. He loved his counselors, the bible study, and all the activities. He would tell me about the bible lessons each day, different things about his counselors and all the fun. His self-esteem and confidence really grew as well as his behavior. My daughter also flourished under your camp. The kindness, friendship and showing respect for others are life lessons and experiences that will last a lifetime.”

“My children absolutely adored DCS this past summer!! In fact, just two days ago my daughter was retelling the story of Jonah and the Whale to her brother, in 3rd grade CCD, who didn’t remember it! I loved hearing about their Bible study every afternoon. They loved it and we can’t wait to come back next summer!! Thank you for providing such a true day camp in our area!”

“I cannot even express how grateful we are to have found such a great camp so close to home! DCS met and greatly exceeded our expectations and is worth every penny we paid. We were praying for a great place to send our Girls for the summer and our prayers were answered. Thank you!”

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