The water was calm and the blue sky luminous as my brother Lyle and I were sitting facing each other in the 16’ boat that day in the middle of May. As friends, it was good to be together, sharing in the camaraderie of fishing. Activities such as fishing, hunting and ranching together had been put on hold over the last year since Lyle had been attending college in Montana and I remained on the Lonetree Ranch. As brothers, we were able to get into a deep discussion about the future. OK… perhaps even a disagreement. Lyle was to present his desire and calling to work in a Christian youth camp in Idaho. He was scheduled to preach twice in our home church. He was to raise money to enable his time of ministry and experience. It was no secret that Lyle dreamed of starting some sort of camping ministry in western South Dakota. I had no problem with his dreams and was supportive of his goals; however, I believed that he should be self funding. I had a real problem with the fund raising end of his plan. I told Lyle that day that he (we) should fund his efforts. Then he said to me, “Many people cannot do what I am going to do; however, they can be a part of the effort through their financial support and prayer.” It slowly began to make sense to me. We discussed the plans further around the dining room table later that day. Together we as a family said we would back Lyle’s actions in camping ministry. Not only did I grasp the need for a team effort but also I came to the conclusion that there was potential for a new camping ministry in our region. The year was 1979.
Lyle along with my brother Lee died a few days later. In the midst of overwhelming events and emotions, I experienced again the coming together of a team. Lyle’s dream was coming to reality. God was leading the family from a support role to an active role in camping. And the camping ministry was not “somewhere in western South Dakota”… it was on our ranch. We experienced early on the importance of building a team. Some of those members were on the frontline, as were the members of our family, but some were behind the scenes as financial donors and prayer warriors. I had to take what Lyle shared with me. This ministry was being brought together under God’s directive as many people “doing what they can do”.
We are now going into our fortieth year of camp. The same scenario still plays out today. Rainbow Bible is made up of many people doing what they can do. And when people act according to God’s directive, amazing things take place. I could write much more and I will in future letters and Rainbow Reflectors, but in closing I want to share with you the passage of Scripture that we studied with the young people in Legacy III Bible Study this past Wednesday evening.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.