The last two years have been an adventure at the Youth Farm Bible Camp. The summer camp program was on hold for 2020 and at low numbers last year. However, we were able to see other programs grow and impact the constituency we serve. During times of crisis and chaos, we have opportunities to take risks and use our creative juices.
During the pandemic, our riding-lesson program that we offer through Valley Equestrian Centre (www.valleyequestriancentre.com) grew significantly. You can socially distance from one another when riding horses! We had more than 200 people in the weekly program and have four instructors leading the year-round facility.
In 2021, we started two new programs: a wilderness canoeing program led by our staff member Ang Harder, and an internship program. We are already seeing lots of interest in AHA! Adventures (www.ahaadventures.com) and have some of this summer’s trips sold out.
Our four interns are currently in Nicaragua for a five-week cultural engagement and educational experience with Daniel Wiebe, a Youth Farm staff member, who spends eight months each year in the second-poorest country of the western hemisphere: Nicaragua. The internship experience gives young adults an orientation to ministry at Youth Farm, cross cultural experience, classes and reading assignments, and much more. (www.yfbc.ca/3einternship)
We have also seen our corn maze continue to grow and impact the thousands of families that come each fall (www.youthfarmcornmaze.com). We have a full-sized, museum-quality Tabernacle of Moses at our site, which many corn-maze participants were able to tour (www.mosestabernacle.com).
This next year the corn maze will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of David Toews signing the credit agreement with CPR to bring 21,000 Russian Mennonites to Canada, many of whom stopped at Rosthern. We are visioning having an Anabaptist/Mennonite historical interpretive centre onsite in the future.
The last few years has showed parachurch ministries that we need to be diverse in how we impact our world. We need to grow in the holistic ways we share Jesus with our community. We need to grow our compassionate ministries to care for those who have less power and wealth. We need to develop relationships with people who have diverse backgrounds and different opinions.
Jesus calls us toward unity in John 17. May our church institutions grow in that mission.