Saturday, May 23, 2009


Well, it was quite exciting around here this afternoon. The boys and I were all down for a nap, and I woke up to the fire alarm going off at the fire barn, which was followed by the noise of the fire trucks. "Strange," I thought, still groggy. I tried to remember what day it was and if that was nothing to worry about or not.

Once I had my wits about me, I called Noah and found out that indeed there was a fire, down in the woods by the lake on West Side. Praise God someone spotted it early, all the trucks started, all the guys were able to get there, and there wasn't much damage done. God protected us again from fire, which when you live and work smack dab in the middle of the woods, is a huge thing.

There are at least three other stories about fires here at camp that I can think of. The first one, was when the original Girl's Dorm burned to the ground in October of 1955. The next spring, Uncle Johnnie's house, the one right next to ours, caught fire. Because the fire departments are so far away, Barakel became a sub-station of the Fairview department. That meant they were able to bid on some fire vehicles. And that was the start of the fire equipment around here.

The other story about God's protection from fire is quite amazing...let me see if I can find it in the Barakel book here...

Alright, I found the chapter...

Ok, here is the condensed version. In August of 1976, the week after camp was done for the summer, a fire broke out in Huron National Forest, which our property boarders. The fire jumped several fire line, and was closing in on our property. Because it was the week after camp was over, most of the staff families were on vacation.

Uncle Johnnie (I keep talking about him, he was the founder of Barakel) went out with his son Tim, and they realized there was nothing they could do. Oh, precautions were made, things like hosing down buildings, but again, the whole thing of living in the woods posses a problem. They knelt down and prayed,
"This has been yours for a long time, Lord, and we want it to stay that way. We pray that somehow, someway you'll save it. You've brought this camp into being. It's yours."*

And as they got up from praying, there was a guy with a bulldozer pulling a seven foot fire plow, saying "Where do you want me to go?" He dug a fire line right down the property line. Then all sorts of people showed up from town to help fight the fire. They did this for 4 days, and the flames never crossed the line. If you were to look at a satellite photo of this area, you can see where the fire came up to the property line by the tree growth. Even now, our forest looks very different than National.

Johnnie says in the book, "I believe God said,' so far, and no father on the west line.' I believe that He said, 'On the north line, so far and no farther.'"**

When I read this again tonight, the verses that came to mind were, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (Matt.8:27)

Johnnie goes on to say,
"Often man PROPOSES a thing he's going to do. But in the end, it's God who DISPOSES Of the circumstances of the whole works. We make certain proposals; we have certain priorities.
I like to apply that concept to the fire. We ere making sandwiches to fee the firemen, others were squirting water on the roof and I was out helping where I could. I'd call, 'Ge the roofs wet, get the ground around the buildings as wet as you can,' and at the same time we were saying, "dear Lord, hold it."

Was that a lack of faith, would you say, or was it common sense? We didn't know where the fire was going to go.

Man proposes-we took precautions-but it is really God who moves in and disposes. It is God who decides just how far the fire will go.
In the end it was God, I believe, who was our sufficiency. We made certain proposals about it in our mind-spraying the roofs, wetting the areas, getting the fire truck and backhoe ready, and all that stuff.

But in the end, all that proposing didn't get the job done. It's God who finally makes the disposition of the whole matter. We had no control over two major factors: If those hundreds of people hadn't come pouring out of the woods at just the right moment, and if that man on the bulldozer hadn't' appeared on the scene when he did, I'm not sure camp could have been saved. I'm persuaded God did it."***

Such good stuff to meditate on this warm Saturday evening.
*Holman Johnson, Barakel: God's Miracle (1989) 150.
**Johnson, 152.
*** Johnson, 152.
If you are interested in knowing a bit more about the background of camp, here and here are some tidbits.


  1. WOW I am glad you guys are ok. What an excellent post. :)

  2. glad everything is a-okay...that's scary stuff... i still get chills when i see the satellite photo of the property...


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