Hindsight is 20/20

It seems that the best time for our family to move and make a major life transition was during a pandemic. During the whole two years we raised financial support we never could have anticipated that the time we would reach 100% and be able to move to Camp Barakel would be during a worldwide virus outbreak. But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back over the last six months there are so many reasons why this unexpected timing really was best for our family.

*We were able to all be home together, in the home we were preparing to leave, for a piece of time that we otherwise would not have had. So much family time!

*We had way more time at home, free from schedules or activities, in which to prepare for a move. We had grossly underestimated the amount of work we really had left in order to get ready to move!

*It allowed us to list and sell our house during a totally different market, when we were free from the typical professional photo shoots and staging of the home. We even were blessed with a lesser real estate commission since the work a realtor could do was so limited.

*We were given flexibility as to which week and day was best to move rather than being locked in between finished commitments downstate and the beginning of summer camp up north.

*It “sheltered us” a bit from what may have been a rather overwhelming time of saying goodbye to all of our activities, people, and normal routines that had been part of our lives for so long. All of our “lasts” were during all of the cancellations of the stay-at-home order. Sad in a way, but quite possibly a gentler end to these things for the particular personalities in our family.

*We had a ‘softer start’ up in the Northwoods with plenty of time to get unpacked, settled, and to finish the time-consuming work of downsizing.

*It gave us even more family time, still with all 5 of us, to begin to have this new place feel like home. And to combat homesickness together. We are a close family, so this is not just a small blessing for us. It really has made all the difference!

God knows our needs so much better than we know our own.

A send-off prayer and tearful goodbye before leaving our home on June 16
Most of our unloading crew when we arrived at Barakel

Golf carts are fun!

One small piece of staff life we have had some fun with is our golf cart! Small joys, right? The golf cart that has been assigned to our family is technically a two person cart, with a section of the back that can hold two golf bags. Except that we don’t have any golf bags to transport, but rather have 3 girls! So what does this translate to? Three people squeeze on the seat, and two girls stand on the back, with the straps for the golf bags secured around their legs to help hold them in! This also seems to encourage the “back-riders” to let go, wave their arms in the air, and play music on their phones to accompany our drives. So if you are visiting camp and hear what sounds surprisingly like MarioKart music, that would be the Bennetts on their golf cart!

Looking ahead…

It is the end of this very different summer at Camp Barakel, and we are heading into a very different fall. There are no weekend retreats as there normally would be here, so our family will continue to adjust to camp life in yet another very quiet season. And we will continue to trust that is exactly the best timing for our family, just as we have seen in the past six months. But we will definitely look forward to when guests return to the property as campers, and we can be in the group to welcome them back!

In the meantime, we keep on. Jim continues to work in the office, heading up a variety of projects including laying fiber in camp (internet!), a new retaining wall by the office, and helping with our ACA accreditation. I (Rachel) am excited to be mostly unpacked and organized in the house, and so am finally now giving some thought to what our needs are for our homeschool year. Better late than never! Thankfully I have learned with homeschooling to lay aside my perfectionism and that everything always works out ok in the end. Grace was able to settle into our new home with us, as well as participate in the summer staff work crews in camp. Now she has joyously headed back to Hillsdale College for her junior year and is thrilled to be back on campus. It is a wonderfully grounded place and we have been very impressed with how they are handling the unique challenges of this pandemic. Mary Emma is in 11th grade this year, and is growing a lot through this life transition away from the only home she remembers. One surprise blessing for her was the ballet studio that we found up here for her to be a part of! Sure it’s an hour away, but so is everything! And it is run by two fantastic teachers who can help her move ahead in her much-loved passion. Lydia is in 8th grade and has been a testimony of God’s goodness through this whole long process. She was the one we expected to struggle the most, but she has sailed through joyfully and rather easily. Praise be to God—He is the only one who could have brought about such a change!

Things we are thanking the Lord for:

· The faithful giving of our supporters.

· Jim’s part-time employment with his previous employer during a month or so of our transition. That was very helpful as our support gradually began to come in.

· Our home here at camp. It has been good to begin to make this house our home. Hard at times, but good. And even fun in a way to creatively use this space that God has provided for our family to live.

Contact us:

Our mailing address:
Jim and Rachel Bennett
PO Box 159
Fairview, MI 48621

email: bennetts@barakel.camp

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