From Sheena Johnson–
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” ~Psalms 27:13-14 (although verses 1-12 are pretty good and worth reading too)
In many ways it’s hard to write to you right now asking you to pray for Menno Haven when there is so much going on in our world right now that needs our prayers. After the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in particular, grief, hurt, fear, and anger are running rampant through our country at large, in our towns big and small, within our friend groups, and in our families. To our friends who are people of color, we want to let you know that you are in our prayers, we love you, and we are grieving with you. We are also praying for all of our friends and communities as we relate to each other in these days of heightened emotions as well as for our local and federal leaders – for wisdom and understanding during this tumultuous time. Would you join us in these prayers?
Thank you for your prayers for Menno Haven this last month. May has been filled with uncertainty and certainty. Uncertainty with what’s next in terms of the Stay at Home Order, what will the new regulations/expectations be for hosting groups, and will people like the new programs/activities we have planned? But that uncertainty is also paired with a certainty that no matter what happens, God is faithful and God is in control and God is good. Thanks be to God.
May also started with a certainty of us knowing how to plan for summer camp season now that we knew that we would be doing something different from the regular residential summer camp for 2020.
Ashley jumped into finalizing plans for the Haven at Home monthly activities and the Haven at Home boxes. Orders closed on June 2 and we have 106 boxes ordered for campers and churches in Illinois and around the US. We are so excited to be able to continue to meet and serve campers, families, and churches where they are at in this time of COVID-19.
In May we also started a t-shirt fundraiser for these Haven at Home boxes and as of June 2, we have sold over 100 shirts! The Virtual 5K is another activity and fundraiser planned and opened in May. It takes the place of the typical 5k/2k that is held on Rally Day. You can still sign up for that here: www.mennohaven.com/virtual-5k. We hope resources like these as well as activities to connect with the larger Menno Haven community can help keep people engaged in the Menno Haven ministry as recipients and donors.
Last month we wrapped up a large part of the patio project….finishing the concrete work and the ground work. Grass seed is planted and we’re waiting for it to grow. In June we plan to paint the concrete wall that was under ground, pressure wash picnic tables and benches and gravel the driveway up to the patio. We now have a great patio with outdoor seating by the dining hall. Interesting timing. Do you think God knew back in March when we were deciding to do this patio project how important outdoor seating for eating establishments would become this summer in light of COVID-19? ….we think so.
On the guest group side, May was a sad month. We were unable to host any groups through the end of May. During this month all of our June guest groups canceled for 2020 and rescheduled for 2021 as well as numerous groups in later in the summer due to financial or travel concerns both related to COVID-19 . We are thankful that most have not asked for a refund of their deposit, but this still means our summer income is significantly impacted. Please keep us in your prayers about this.
We are still working with the local and state health departments to find out what Phase 3 looks for Menno Haven and for having guest groups, family units, youth groups, etc on site as early as sometime in June. We will keep you updated when we know more. We can’t wait until guests can return and we can host them/you. We miss our guests!!
Three summer staff arrived at the end of May. We are so excited to have Shelby Fredrick, Tanner Liestman, and Tyler Campbell here through the month of June, maybe longer if we are able to host guests in July and August. These staff are currently helping to put together the activities, videos, and resources in the Haven at Home Boxes as well as help with various program, office, and maintenance related tasks.
Answers to prayers:
* The year-round staff and their families have continued to stay healthy during this time.
* The patio renovation has continued to run smoothly and is nearing completion.
* The Haven at Home Box and the Live virtual events on Facebook and Instagram have been well received.
* The t-shirt sale went well – we sold over 100 shirts!
* Christopher and Allyssa’s house has passed inspections and they will be closing on the sale of their house in mid June!! We rejoice with them!
* We are planning some virtual events for our Menno Haven community through Facebook and Instagram: Virtual Campfires on June 8 & 25 at 8:30 pm, Virtual Worship on June 14 & 28 at 6:30 pm, Virtual Hikes on June 4 at 8:30 pm (yes, its an evening hike tonight!) as well as on June 10 at 2:30 pm and June 23 at 8:30 am. You can find a calendar with those activities and more at www.mennohaven.com/haven-at-home as well as on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
* A small youth group is coming to volunteer in mid-June for several days.
* The 2020 Virtual 5K is running June 21-July 17th. People can run/walk wherever or whenever you want (including participants can call and schedule a time to complete it at Menno Haven).
* Our next currently scheduled guest group is July 10th.
Please join us in prayer for:
* people of color who are in the Menno Haven family, your family, your friends and neighbors, and strangers within your communities
* our nation as a whole as we acknowledge the injustices that exist and work to dismantle racism
* wisdom for our local and federal leaders
Also continue to keep Menno Haven in your prayers for:
* campers, parents, summer staff and year-round staff who are grieving about not having summer camp this summer
* health for the year-round staff and their families and summer staff
* wisdom and creativity for the Menno Haven Year Round Ministry Team as we find ways to serve our constituents while maintaining the guidelines set by the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health.
* the patio renovation to finish well
* closing on Christopher and Allyssa’s house to go smoothly
* Menno Haven finances
* the Menno Haven staff to be a unified team.
* the Menno Haven staff to have the wisdom, energy and rest needed to do the tasks set before them
* the facilities, vehicles, and equipment to stay in good repair
* those who leave this property to feel the call to go forth and be the hands and feet of Jesus, spreading his love to the people they meet
Here is a document with the ways you can pray for Menno Haven listed on the Rally Into Prayer sign up homepage. I’ve also included the names of the Year Round Ministry Team, Board Members and Summer Staff so you can name these people in your prayers if you’d like.
Thank you for praying. You are an invaluable part of the work and the ministry that happens at Menno Haven. Many thanks!
In His Service,