All posts in “Agape Updates”

Spring 2019 Update

What do you think of when you hear: Agape Valley

Bill and Carol Duncan
(Bill is the Treasurer on the Board of Directors)

When my wife, Carol, and I think about Agape Valley, we think about summer camp. We ponder on what children will come, many for the first time and we pray that each and every one of them is going to enjoy camp. We think about the camp volunteers who do such an important work with the campers helping them create memories forever.

Everything on the camp schedule is activity oriented, nothing is a chore and the campers learn without even realizing it. There is something for everyone: crafts and cooking for the artistic minds, nature for the sciences, sports for the athletes. Each leader is different in the gift that God has given to them to build up and relate to the campers. We are God’s hands, He strengthens us to do His work. The way that we treat people and lead people is a testimony to Christ in us. Not only do the campers learn, but the leaders from one another also.

See these kids, they come in for just one week. Year, after year, after year, and it affects their life. They build on what they learned the year before and they probably don’t even realize yet how it is changing their life, the impact it has on their decisions. Many of them do not get this teaching anywhere else, and we pray that it acts as a ripple effect, spreading wider and farther. The Gospel spreads that way today. You don’t have to change the world single handedly. It is enough to just be part of the wave and touch those around you, who in turn touch others, until they have felt the movement. Don’t ever feel like your part is not significant or important.
Acts 6:7
Then the word of God spread, the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

I become emotional thinking that many children who come have never heard the Good News of Christ dying for them. When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t have been more thankful for the man who came into my classroom at school and shared the Gospel. God used him to affect my life and it totally changed me. It will change their life. We can plant a seed. We encourage them.

Agape is filling a need and God is using this ministry. Camp develops the campers. Camp develops the leaders. It changes our lives, it changes our future. We need this in our community. Relationships are created in this ministry, but the most important relationship someone can ever decide to have is with our Lord and Saviour. Please pray with us for each camper that comes to camp this summer to have a seed planted and come to know Christ as they personal Saviour.

Click here for a printable PDF of the full newsletter.

Winter 2017 Update

Only God Can

President’s Report

Tim Hartwick

In the spring of 2015 I wrote an article in the update titled “Expansion: Part 1”. I referenced Nehemiah’s vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and how his vision unfolded as he put his faith and trust in the Lord. I compared Nehemiah’s vision to that of Agape Valley’s in the sense that God is in control and His Will be done. Here we are, two years later, and Agape has a new building and increased camper numbers. Praise the Lord!!

It was one year ago that construction started and we were able to open in March this year for pancakes even though construction was 1/2 completed (thanks to the Town of Pelham Building Department for working with us). Construction continued in April and we were able to open for camp July and August (again thanks to the Town’s Building Dept). I mention all this because we are still at work on the building trying to complete the outside nishes in order to get a nal building inspection from the Town to complete the project. I had a visit from Bob Rose just yesterday (Bob was the original founder of this 140 acre property giving it’s name Agape Valley). As he walked around admiring the changes his comment was this – “Don’t you nd it interesting that even though you have not yet completed the project there has been no time lost functioning as a camp or opening up to the public for pancakes. Only God could do that!” He’s so right. God has provided everything we needed to get to where we are now just as he provided for Nehemiah. Here’s what Nehemiah saw when they completed the wall: “And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it,

and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” Nehemiah 6:16

God owns it all. He is 100% in control. His Will

be done. Take time to try and comprehend this. It draws you closer to Him.

So with winter almost upon us we are trying to complete the exterior of the building to make it weather tight and then try and set a goal of completing the interior nishes. is will require nances and volunteer support to complete but we look to the Lord for help. By March 2018 we hope to see the building completed and the nal building inspection passed. In the Lord’s will!

Click here to read the full Winter 2017 Update (PDF)

Spring 2017 Update

President’s Report

Tim Hartwick

As I write this article it’s pouring down rain, the soccer eld is drenched in water and the workers are trying to to make headway on the continued pavilion expansion while they are ankle deep in mud. e old roof over the open pavilion has been removed and we await sunny sky’s and a crane to arrive to start erecting the new trusses. It hasn’t been a great start to phase 2 of the expansion as we try and keep the already completed portion of the building from ooding and water damage (with very little success I might add). With only two months to go before camp starts it will be a real challenge to get the building completed and nished in order to start camp especially with these weather delays. Not only does the building need to be completed for occupancy the playing elds around the camp building need to be levelled and grass planted for the children to play on.

But life is full of challenges especially when it comes to the Lord’s work. at’s why we just need to trust that God is always in control. He has already directed the minds of campers to register for camp and camp is 80% full (that’s including the new 20 campers per week that the new building will allow). Am I worried, concerned about completing on time? e answer is YES! Not only is there a building to nish but a camp program to organize and set up. We need your prayers for strength and guidance. We need your skills and time to reach this coming July 1st deadline. e theme for this years camp program wraps around Canada’s 150th birthday with the key scripture verse coming from Psalms 150:2 “Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!”

It was because of His mighty act that we were able to be open during March for maple syrup days. It will be his excellent greatness that will be up and running for summer camp of 2017! Don’t just watch it happen – get involved and be a part of God’s plan out here at Agape Valley!

Click here to read the full Spring 2017 Update (PDF)

Fall 2015 Update

Nehemiah had a vision; rebuild the the walls of Jerusalem. He had a genuine concern for his people and the welfare of Jerusalem which prompted him to act. It wasn’t without spending time in prayer petitioning to God his desire to act on such a vision. God heard his prayers and saw his faithfulness and therefore interceded to allow Nehemiah’s vision to be fulfilled.

Although Nehemiah had the Lord’s power and promise he still had to approach the worldly powers at be to get permission to rebuild the walls. It is here that we see how in control our God is. Even though the King in charge at this time was Persian with no regard to Jewish people or their faith God directed this king to allow Nehemiah to pursue his vision.

What a parallelism as we, Agape Valley, move forward with our vision of seeing the pavilion increase in size and our number of children increased to 70 a day (how can you not have a vision and get excited for this expansion when just this last summer camp we saw 17 children come to Christ!). Every square foot of building and the 20 children we asked for was approved at the Niagara Escarpment Commission meeting in August despite the fact that the staff report recommended an increase in children to be 0.

Praise the Lord!!

God is in control and His work will always be accomplished. He is just looking and waiting for faithful men and women like Nehemiah to be willing to carry it out and see it through. Thank you all for the continue prayers for the camp. The expansion has begun but we are still in the very early stages of seeing it completed. We still need to design the final building layout and acquire a development permit from the Niagara Escarpment to proceed. We will then need to have detailed drawings from the architect to transform the existing pavilion to the new layout and get a building permit. In the meantime camp and activities continue in the same manner as usual. The pavilion is in desperate need of a roof to hold us off till the expansion takes place and we will be restricted to 50 children a day until the building expansion and new septic system is in place. So we continue on. There’s lots of work ahead of us still.

Nehemiah may have had the vision to rebuild the walls but he didn’t do it alone. He went to the people and exhorted them and they together did the work of the Lord.

Nehemiah 2:18 “And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the kings words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build”.  Then they set their hands to do this good work.”

Click here to read the full Agape Update (PDF)

Spring 2015 Update

Many years have gone by now since we have purchased the “Hartwick Cottage” in Minden and since that time we have often wondered about it’s pier foundation that it sits on. We would look under the cottage to examine the condition of these piers only to marvel as to why it is still standing. The piers would be be leaning, crooked, and in some cases cracked with pieces of block missing. All because they are built and anchored in sand. As a result we have taken on the challenge to raise the cottage and put in a proper foundation. When the dig was complete we found that bedrock was only inches away from the base of the old piers and had they been properly attached to the bedrock the cottage would have been solid in its foundation. Doing this work brought to mind many scripture references that are not only practical in the engineering of building, but very metaphoric when applying to spiritual contexts. I remember singing in Sunday school about building on the sand vs. the solid rock (Luke 6:48-49). I’ve always said things look great when they’re brand new but how it’s built will be the real test over time.

I thank the Lord for the solid foundation that Agape Valley Bible Camp has been founded on. Isaiah 28:16 says “Therefore thus saith the Lord God,Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone,a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation:he that believeth shall not make haste.” That foundation being the work and sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary. With this sure foundation one can be absolutely confident that the teachings they have received from Agape Valley will give them the faith and trust that they need to be able to spend eternity in Heaven.

The sad note however are the ones that come to camp, hear the truth of the one and only foundation to build their faith on and refuse to believe. They leave camp believing in some other religion or method to get themselves to heaven not realizing they were inches away from truth.

Please pray as camp starts gearing up for summer and eyes will be opened to the God-engineered plan of salvation.

Click here to read the full Spring 2015 Update (PDF)

Fall 2014 Update

Lest We Forget 

On November 11th Canadians took time to remember where “freedom” came from. I had the privilege of watching the Remembrance Ceremony in Ottawa on CBC at 11:00 am. It reminded me of how great of a country we do live in and how great our Heavenly Father is. He provided this land for us through the many countless lives that had to die to protect it. It’s this sacrifice of lives that has given us this freedom. Freedom to live without fear, freedom to worship God, freedom to tell others of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls. Freedom to be able to build a Children’s day camp and preach the Gospel to them. Many men and women died to give us these freedoms. Most of us reading this article have no idea what war is like and I thank the Lord for that. We have the freedom to remember our Savior every week at the “Remembrance Service” for the sacrifice of His life for our sins. I’m so thankful that we have one day in the year to remind us to remember those that sacrificed their lives so we could be free to live out our lives in Canada. Each time we see a Canadian Flag flying proud in the wind those solemn words should come to mind “Lest we forget”. Numbers 15:40-41 “ So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”

Click here to view the full Fall update (PDF)

Winter Update

White As Snow

It’s been many years since we have seen a winter like this in the Niagara Region. As I talk to different people I get mixed reactions to the snow, but one thing that does stand out is for once it’s nice to see everything such a clean white. I’ve been working in the sugar bush out at the camp and the beauty of the forest with the snow covered hills and valleys is breathtaking. The sound of the crisp crunching snow under your feet gives a good grip to climb up and down the steep banks to prepare the sap lines for the up and coming thaw. Snow may be a deterrent in many ways but at Agape Valley it is a blessing.

A good accumulation of snow on the frozen ground helps protect the roots of the maple trees from thawing too quickly, allowing the sap season to be “on schedule and normal”. It provides a natural scenic picture that portrays the perfect sugar bush setting. And who doesn’t like maple syrup on snow? Taffy delight! I’m easily reminded as I watch the sunlight glisten off the snow surface of the scripture verse in Psalm 51:7, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Our God is so awesome! He gives us so much beauty in creation. He gives us such a great hope in Christ. The blood of Christ makes us whiter than snow. Our sin, our dirty, stained-riddled sin is covered and forgiven forever. Spring is just around the corner and the snow will soon fade to slush and mud but thanks be to God that the provision and beauty of His salvation will last forever.

Please click here to read the full newsletter (PDF)