Muskoka Bible Foundation

Monthly Builders Update

Muskoka Bible Foundation

March 2021:  But then God… 

2020 is in our rearview mirror.  Most of us are not eager to even glance back there but are focused on hoping for a better 2021. 

However, even as we are looking and planning toward the future, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2020 from an MBC leadership perspective. 

When COVID first hit I remember thinking that we might be in for some bumps - kind of like the temporary turbulence you experience when flying.  As the impact of the pandemic dragged on, hope for getting through this pandemic unscathed became less likely.  Would we be able to stay ‘on mission’ and would we be able to weather this storm from a financial perspective?  This was to be our big 90th Anniversary Year.  A year of celebration and a year when we were going to invite our constituents to help us eliminate the last of our long term debt.   By early June we were experiencing a very different storyline.  I recall an MBC Board meeting where we were reviewing the projection of a cash deficit of $700,000 to $1 million.  Not only did it seem unlikely that we would make any dent to the last of our debt, our projections indicated that we would be adding to it; significantly. 

But then God… 

God showed up in the most amazing ways.  

God showed up through our team - our year round team members, seasonal students and volunteers became passionately united in their commitment to stay ‘on mission’.  They focused not on the limitations the pandemic had created but rather on the opportunities that were available to us in fulfilling our mission of growing resilient, biblically rooted guests.  And minister we did - through a diversity of teaching experiences, including a new ‘Summer@MBC in a Box’ program,  creative food services and safe family recreation activities.  Hundreds of families were encouraged in the summer and this continued into the fall during a full retreat schedule.  We were also able to encourage many pastors through our newly launched ‘pastor respite retreat’ program.

God showed up through you - our guests and supporters.  Many of you called, emailed or even mailed messages of encouragement; reminding us of your prayers and financial support and of the important role MBC has played in the lives of your families.  And you came.  Our accommodations became fully booked for the summer (with some COVID restrictions) and our campground bustled with activity.  And you co-operated.  You worked with us to abide by the safety guidelines and protocols that were designed to ensure the highest level of safety for all.  Sure, some of you were more cooperative than others but our team was encouraged by the overall willingness you demonstrated in working with us to ensure success.

God showed up through our Bible Teachers.  Many of them changed their schedules and flexed with us as we had to keep changing our program structure.  And they brought us the Word of God.  Outdoors, online and in the chapel, God’s Word was faithfully taught and people were impacted.  

And, God showed up through our governing bodies.  Our Public Health officials worked with us to design protocols that would allow us to operate while keeping the safety of our team and guests prioritized.  They were responsive when we had questions and provided input even as they themselves were navigating such uncharted waters.  And the federal government provided financial support.  The wage subsidies were instrumental in helping us ensure we had an adequate team to implement our operating protocols safely.

In summary - what was expected to be a year of disappointment turned out to be a year when God showed up and charted a path for us that was nothing short of miraculous.  He brought us to the end of the year having maximized opportunities for ministry and actually finishing the year with a significant cash flow surplus, allowing us to almost eliminate our long term debt (you’ll hear more about this in subsequent updates).    

At this time I just want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have stood shoulder to shoulder with us in staying ‘on mission’ during a difficult year.  God used your encouragement and generosity to move mountains, for His glory!

May you be encouraged in your own COVID journey as you read the words of Asaph in Psalm 77.  He laments the difficult circumstances he finds himself in but then in verse 11 we see how  he recalls the past and remembers the wonderful deeds of the LORD.  He specifically remembers how God led the nation through the sea - along a path no one knew was there.  That’s kind of how I feel about MBC and 2020.  God showed us a path that ‘no one knew was there’ and the end results were astounding.  Thank you again for being a part of this journey  with us.  May God also encourage you as you reflect on the past and cling to a firm hope in the future - because of your trust in God and in His faithfulness.  May this Psalm be an encouragement to you today.

 

Psalm 77 (NLT)

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.

Oh, that God would listen to me!

2 When I was in deep trouble,

I searched for the Lord.

All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,

but my soul was not comforted.

3 I think of God, and I moan,

overwhelmed with longing for his help.

Interlude

4 You don’t let me sleep.

I am too distressed even to pray!

5 I think of the good old days,

long since ended,

6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.

I search my soul and ponder the difference now.

7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?

Will he never again be kind to me?

8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?

Have his promises permanently failed?

9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he slammed the door on his compassion?

Interlude

10 And I said, “This is my fate;

the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

11 But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;

I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

12 They are constantly in my thoughts.

I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

13 O God, your ways are holy.

Is there any god as mighty as you?

14 You are the God of great wonders!

You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,

the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

Interlude

16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,

its waters looked and trembled!

The sea quaked to its very depths.

17 The clouds poured down rain;

the thunder rumbled in the sky.

Your arrows of lightning flashed.

18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;

the lightning lit up the world!

The earth trembled and shook.

19 Your road led through the sea,

your pathway through the mighty waters—

a pathway no one knew was there!

20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,

with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.