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Mission 2023: Rock Nest Ranch

When I was in high school (quite a few moons ago now), I took a trip with my youth group to north-central British Columbia, where we served under the umbrella of UIM International. UIM exists to help First Nations / Native American people come to know and follow Jesus. They have missionaries serving in Canada, the US, and in Mexico, specifically with the mission to reach indigenous people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since my sophomore year in high school, I have been significantly involved in this ministry, primarily through a camp called Rock Nest Ranch.

Rock Nest Ranch is located just outside of the small town of Houston, BC, and it serves First Nations families from a handful of reserves (reservations in the US) that are nearby. I’ve spent a significant amount of time there individually, and I’ve taken 10 or so teams to serve at the camp or in the surrounding villages. It’s a ministry that I love very much, among people I love very much, who need the good news very much. The camp is quite unique, in that it is very clearly and explicitly a Bible Camp, and the majority of the kids who come to the camp come from families who don’t know the Lord. In truth, many of the kids come out of broken and painful home and family circumstances. And they respond in amazing ways to the love of Christ!

The last time I was at Rock Nest Ranch was in the summer of 2015, with a group of teenagers and adults from EBC. As a family, we made the decision that this coming summer of 2023, we are going back. We’re bringing all three kids with us, and we will serve in whatever capacities they can use us for a week of summer camp with kids age 9-12. We are really excited to go and serve. And not only that, but we are wanting to invite others to join us on this mission trip. Would you want to come with us for a couple weeks this summer, to serve First Nations kids by sharing the Gospel and sharing your life with them? It’s seriously going to be awesome!

So who’s invited? It’s pretty wide open! I have in my imagination that maybe there would be another whole family or three who would want to participate. And perhaps a mother and daughter who want to go together. Or maybe a retired couple or two. Or some individuals. Or… This really is a unique missions opportunity, in that people of all ages who love Jesus would be able to come and help. I am so excited for my own three kids to get their first taste of missions. I am praying that this will be for them a touchstone experience that impacts their faith as they get closer to their teenage years. What will the kids do? I don’t know yet! Perhaps they’ll help clean dining room tables, perhaps they’ll mop floors, perhaps they’ll even scrub toilets (don’t tell them that yet!). Certainly, they’ll also have opportunities to build relationships with campers and with other staff members. And I feel confident they’ll have a ton of fun. The ways we will participate, specifically, will depend a bit on need, as well as on the strengths and gifting found among our group. We are going to serve in the ways they need, with the gifts God has given us.

Want to be a part of it? If so, I’d love to talk. I will be sharing more about this with the congregation soon, and then the next big step will be an informational meeting, which isn’t scheduled yet, but will happen in early February. And then we will look for commitments by the middle of March. The cost per person is likely between $400-$500. Some of those cost details are still getting sorted out, and some will be based on decisions we will make as a team (like camping vs. hotels for travel). The dates of the trip are Monday, July 10 through Thursday, July 20. The actual camp week happens from the July 13-18, and then there’s time for travel on either side (a little extra travel time built in for traveling with children!). If this gets you interested, excited, or just raises a bunch of questions and you’d like to know more, I’d love to connect and talk more about this opportunity. I’m already looking forward to discovering who God is preparing to be a part of this with us!

Ryan Donovan

PS – Even though I’m not sure what our specific roles will be at camp, here are some of the roles that typically need to be filled: Camp Counselor, Camp Speaking Team (led by Ryan), Chapel Music Team, Work Crew, Special Project Workers, Game Leaders, Kitchen Crew, and more.

Categories: Evergreen Connection