Muskoka Bible Foundation

Monthly Builders Update

Muskoka Bible Foundation

April 2021: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

I Love It When A Plan Comes TogetherIf you’re about my age you may well remember the original ‘A-Team’ TV series. I must confess, it was one of my favourites. I learned some great things from this series, in particular from the leadership demonstrated by the character - John ‘Hannibal’ Smith. One of his great idioms was ‘the plan’. He was known for his plans, as chaotic as they may have been. There was always the line near the end of the action that is embedded in the minds of those who watched, with a cigar clenched between his teeth he would say: ‘I love it when a plan comes together!’.

Fast forward to today. The team at MBC, along with the board, has been rigorously defining our mission and the key initiatives that will drive us toward this mission in ever increasing measure.

And this month, in the midst of all this COVID fatigue, our team experienced one of those moments where we could say - ‘we love it when a plan comes together’. By God’s good grace we were able to host two ‘Family Fusion Escape’ weekend retreats in March. These were originally designed to be low structure getaway opportunities for families to connect with one another and enjoy what was primarily a self directed retreat. Shelagh & David Raymer were our team members who planned and hosted the weekend and I had the privilege of leading the Sunday morning family chapels.

As the weekends unfolded we saw that those families in attendance had really needed this time away together. Away from ‘screens’ and celebrating each other in the beautiful Muskoka outdoors.

An interesting observation of these retreats is that well over half, about 60% of the families in attendance were at MBC for their very first time! This alone is great news!

Our mission is to help grow resilient, biblically rooted families. And this mission can seem more complex than it may sound. For example, how do you define ‘family’? Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. What about single adults - how do they fit in. So we are working hard at addressing some of these complexities within our vision framework.

Two specific objectives of our mission were seen fulfilled during these Family Fusion weekends. The first, that of seeing parents get excited and equipped about being the primary disciple makers for their children. As I mentioned previously, I had the great opportunity during these weekend retreats to lead the teaching time in chapel on Sunday morning. Knowing that we would have the full family joining us in chapel - adults, teens and children, we took this time as an opportunity to lead the families in a more interactive teaching experience. Instead of ‘preaching’ at them, I had each family walk through our text (Psalm 77) as a family around their own table. It was an exciting thing to watch a chapel full of families engaged in Bible study around the table - all ages. The families documented their ‘complaints’ (Psalm 77:1-10), then they turned their eyes to God and wrote down descriptions of Who God is (His nature, attributes) (verses 11 - 12) and then they remembered and wrote down what God has done - for humanity, for them as a family and for each one personally. All I can say is ‘WOW’! It was great to see families not just listening to a ‘good preach’ but to engage in study for themselves around the table. One father came to me after and said ‘We can do this at home!’. This was the ‘plan coming together’ before our very eyes. We give thanks to God for this!

Now if that wasn’t enough, in one of our survey responses for the weekend we had one mom share these words - read carefully and be encouraged by this as we are:

“It was way better than we expected, we've been hearing about Family Fusion but were never interested in participating because our family had a huge loss (we lost my husband, my kids' father unexpected a few years ago) I thought for me to bring my kids to Family Fusion would trigger thoughts of them missing their dad more given that other kids were there with their mom and dad. Thankfully other dads were kind enough to include my kids in the soccer games outside the chapel on Saturday and also Shelagh's husband played the huge connect the dot game with my son on Saturday afternoon, that was just really nice and meaningful to my son as he still talks about it. John's teaching on Sunday about focusing on God's goodness, nature, character, remembering what God has done for us in the past and telling our children stories of God's goodness, that the kids will not forget was really excellent. The food was amazing, the staff professional and friendly. God bless you all-see you in the Summer.” (Family Fusion Escape Guest, 2021)

What an encouragement to read the blessing this experience was for this family. And again, God has laid on our hearts the families that for various reasons, may struggle more than others to keep it together, to stay resilient. We are praying that God will help us identify those pain points in the lives of our guests that we can be a special blessing to - and this testimonial shows how God is honouring that request. Again - we love it when a plan comes together.

We praise God for accomplishing His purposes through this ministry. And I thank you for being a part of this plan with us - as guests, prayer warriors and financial investors. Thank You!

Before I close let me just also encourage you to keep an ear open for updates to our Summer@MBC programming for 2021 and also what will be happening at Camp Widjiitiwin. We have some big decisions to make in the next few weeks so your continued prayers are appreciated. We will post updates to our facebook page and website.

If you’d like to partner with us financially you can do so on the MBC APP or online at or call the office at 705.789.0123.

John Friesen
CEO / Muskoka Bible Centre / Muskoka Bible Foundation