I’ve been the director of Moose River Outpost now for nearly 8 years. Perhaps by now the feeling of “newness” around this place ought to have worn off. I can tell you however, that it hasn’t. We’re on our second coat of stain and our second set of shingles in many places, but God’s plan for this place continues to outgrow my own expectations, while also making my own plans seem silly at times.
We’ve seen changes of all types in the last several years. We’ve built several new buildings. Even as I type this letter, I’m sitting beside a burning wood stove in what was once a tired maintenance building and is now a cozy welcome center. This summer we’ll undergo a change we’ve been looking forward to literally since the day I arrived on staff. We’re expanding summer camp from 4 to 6 weeks! In the midst of this exciting growth, we’re also embarking on a new change that I believe reflects God’s plans for MRO, even thought it requires some difficult steps.
While most people know us through our summer camp, MRO has also served over 60 churches in the last several years by providing them a place for retreats and group getaways. These church families, like so many of us, have enjoyed staring across the lake at Boundary Bald and taking stock of life, relationships, and what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
More recently, we’ve attempted to extend this ministry into the winter months. We’ve had a few churches enjoy everything this place can be in winter – a snowy playground, a retreat center quietly insulated with freshly fallen flakes. It’s been a spectacular time to enjoy God’s creation in this different season. Unfortunately, with the beauty of winter comes other realities. The drive to MRO is difficult for our winter guests. 3 miles of road is a serious undertaking to plow during Maine’s snowy season. All of this, along with the growing cost of heat has led us to make the difficult decision to focus our efforts as a ministry specifically on the summer season.
As of this December, we’ll be closing our road and winterizing our buildings. We’ll then reopen in the spring for another season of summer camp and conferencing ministry.
We will miss every aspect of our winter ministry – even the drifting snowstorms that reminded us of our smallness next to our Creator God. We also look forward though. We look forward to the rich relationships and enriched lives that have made our summer ministry so special.
We’re a young camp. We’ve got a bright future. Sometimes the twists and turns on the journey are unexpected, but MRO is going someplace special. We know this because of the special places this ministry has already been. We know it because of the special people that invest themselves in camp year after year. As I write this I know I am writing to graduates of the WILD program, leading groups of believers in colleges across the country. I know I’m writing to former staff members, now well into careers as pastors, doctors, teachers, and even camp ministry professionals. I also know I’m writing to retreat guests, for whom this has been a place of renewal and inspiration over the years. God has used this place to redirect lives, centering them around him as they press on toward His plans, His destinations. That will continue for the foreseeable future. What we can’t foresee is what’s around the next bend in the road. It’s been a thrilling journey, and I thank so many of you for joining us as we travel it together.