Jeremiah 17:8 - "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.
Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...
Monday, July 16, 2012
Guest Post - Haven of Rest Ministry
It's great to be back! We had a wonderful and exciting week at Children's Camp, with several salvations, including two in our own cabin. I will be sharing more insights from the week and passing on some of Pastor Quinn's wisdom, but today I wanted to share a guest post with you that was written by my friend Shannon. It captures her voice so incredibly, that I can actually hear her voice as I'm reading it :).
Story of Our Church (so far)
Midwest/Edgerton Area Map From Google Earth
understand our church it is necessary to know a little bit about our community.
Midwest and Edgerton are two small towns next to each other in the middle of
Wyoming. The total population of both towns together is around 500 people. The
nearest city to us is Casper, which is about 45 miles away. There is nothing
but open prairie between here and there with a few people scattered around. In
order to go shopping or to the doctor or whatever, everyone has to go to
In our community we have a preschool to 12th grade school with
less than 200 kids, a gas station with convenience store, a small hotel, two
places for food and three bars. We used to have a small grocery store but it closed
down in May 2011. The only real employment we have available is the oil field.
Because of our isolation and lack of businesses for employment, there is much
poverty in this town. The poverty leads to rampant drug and alcohol use as well
as broken families. Those who do work either have to commute or work long hours
to make ends meet. This leaves many children with little or no supervision due to
parents being gone at work or as a result of apathy or depression caused by
poverty. Neither the average oilfield
worker nor the poverty stricken are very open to the Word of God.
story begins in the early 2000’s. At that time there were three churches in
this town. The Catholic Church had a circuit priest that would come through
every month or so, but followed no regular schedule. Both the Baptist and the
Methodist Churches were primarily older people who were content to sit in
church and had no real interest in getting involved in the community. Many of
the families that make up the church we have now tried to make do with that
Baptist Church, but we were not satisfied. Some of us even tried to go to
churches in Casper, but the time and money to drive almost 100 miles every
Sunday made that almost impossible to keep up.
slowly, things began to change. It all started with a home Bible study put on
by a couple who had just moved into the area. They were not comfortable in either
of the local churches, so they asked the pastor of Boyd Avenue Baptist Church
in Casper to come up here to do a weekly Bible study. So in the fall of 2001 the Boyd Ave. team
made first contact with our community. They immediately recognized the problems
we were facing and started a plan of action to do something about it. This went
on for another four years. During this time they started taking our kids to the
summer camp on the mountain and having Vacation Bible Schools in the park. Finally, in 2005, they proposed to come to
Midwest every week to hold a church service. Several families immediately
embraced this idea so they worked out the details.
November of 2005 we had our first church service in the town hall in Midwest.
We had our meetings at 3:00 in the afternoon on Sundays so that the pastor had
time to come up from Casper; we have kept to that time since then. From there,
things started rolling at an amazing pace (and they still are). In May of 2006
they hired for us our own pastor. Gary Cargill, along with his wife and three
kids, moved to Wyoming from Oklahoma and we became our own church. At this time
our mother church in Casper stepped back and let us walk on our own. They never
left us completely. They have continued to offer guidance and financial assistance
and keep involved and updated on what we were doing; but they let us make our
own decisions and operate our church in the way that we are comfortable.
Our New Church Building
Operating out of the town hall soon
became an issue. We had to work around other events scheduled in the building
and many people from the town thought it was wrong for a church to have regular
use of a public building (even though we were paying rent). So we all (our
church body as well as the church in Casper) started looking for a piece of
land to build a church on. Again, this became difficult because nobody wanted a
church built next to their house.
someone came up with the idea to approach the Catholic Church on the use of
their building since it was very rarely used. By November of 2006 we were
holding our meetings in the Catholic Church building with a plan in motion to
purchase the building. This transaction went smoothly, mostly because the few
Catholics left in town had no objection to it since they were used to having to
go to Casper for church anyway. So, in May of 2007, the Catholic Church was
deconsecrated and it officially became ours. This gave us the freedom to
schedule Bible studies, potlucks Christmas and Easter special programs and
Wednesdays we had four different Bible classes: little kids up to 3rd
grade, middle kids up to 6th grade, teens and adults. We had four
steady families in the church at that time and about 15 kids, Pastor Gary
taught the adults, his wife Cyndi taught the middle kids, and we still had
people come up from town to teach the teens; but nobody was available to teach
the little kids class full time so the rest of us took turns each week teaching
that class. That is when we all really started working together as a team to
get things done, and it has grown from there. None of us felt prepared or
capable but we did it anyway and we all grew and were blessed because if it.
meantime, there was no one left at the old Baptist Church and the building sat empty
for quite some time. After a while, the last remaining members of the old Baptist
church made the decision to donate the church building, along with the
parsonage, to the Boyd Avenue church. In June of 2008 we took possession of the
property and immediately knew that God had plans for its use.
The Haven of Rest and Parsonage
Both buildings were in need of many
repairs, so we started by fixing up the parsonage so that the pastor and his
family would have a nice big house to live in without rent. Then we started
making repairs on the church itself. We knew that this was meant to be a
community center for the people of this town, a place where they would feel
safe and welcome but without feeling the discomfort of going into an actual
church. We had many ideas of how we should go about it. (We still have many
plans for the future that have yet to be realized).
much prayer we all agreed that the first thing we needed to do was make a food and
clothes bank to deal with the most pressing problems in our area. It took a lot
of time and work and planning to make the building usable for this purpose but
by October we were able to start distributing clothes. That summer and the next
(and every summer since) missionaries from different churches around the
country came and helped us do all the repairs that were needed and the
prep-work to qualify as a food bank. We all worked together to do what was
needed to get it ready. This is the time the kids started working as well, even
the littlest ones did what they could to help out, and we have been working
side by side with our children ever since. We don’t really think about it much
but we get comments all the time, from community members as well as visiting
missionaries, how amazing it is that the kids are willing do just as much work
as the rest of us; but we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without those extra
hands or if we had to set someone aside to watch kids. After a lot of work and
dedication, prayer and praise, and willing help from new friends we opened our
doors for our first food bank in July of 2009.
started off once a month but soon realized that was not enough, and so we started
doing it twice a month. It was, and still is, a great success. On average we
plan on having about 50 families each distribution night. That may not sound
like very much at first, but look at the statistics. We have about 500 people
in our community. Considering three people in the average family, that’s 150
people we feed twice a month- more than 25% of the population of our community!
Think about 25% of any other community showing up regularly to a church
sponsored event; the Hand of God is doing mighty works in this area.
just give them boxes of food: we always provide a hot meal, have a short prayer
or devotional time before we start, and always have people available to listen
to those in need. We have a few new regulars at our church because of this
program, which is good, but what is really amazing is the fact that we have several
volunteers, who show up and help every time the doors are open, that never go
to any church at all.
of 2011 our Pastor and his family were called away to a different mission field
in Kansas. We were all very sad to see them go, and we weren’t sure how we
would continue on. We found that with the support of our mother church and our
dedication to what we had started, we were able to continue. The church in town
sends someone out to preach for us every Sunday, but for the most part we have
been able to continue Gods work on our own. We are still searching for a new
pastor, and we eagerly await the day that God sends the one he has chosen for
us. In the meantime we have found that working together and focusing on His
will makes anything possible. We have all grown closer to each other and closer
to God through this time of transition.
newest venture, on which we have spent many years in prayer and preparation,
just started at the beginning of this summer. On Friday afternoons we have
started a kid’s activity night. We have pool tables, board games, video games,
puzzles, prizes and more. We go and pick up the kids who need a ride and take
them home afterwards. We provide them with a hot meal, cold drinks and other
snacks, all at no charge. The most important thing, though, is that we all play
with the kids - we don’t just stand back and watch. The main purpose for this, besides giving
them a safe place to play, is to get to know them, give them the chance to get
to know us and show them that someone really does care about them.
That is a
summary of where we are and how we got here, but this is certainly not the end
of the story. God willing, it’s just the beginning……….