Summer & Fall 2023 Letter

Cedar Lake Camp & Retreat Center

Greetings camp family! It’s been over a month since summer camp ended so we’ve had time to reflect on all that happened. Overall, as always, it was a good summer. We had over 700 kids who heard the good news of salvation and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. We used to dream of having 700 campers and now it seems to be the norm.

To borrow a phrase from one missionary’s biography,

“Our days were strangely mingled with victories and challenges.”

Challenging times seem to be ever-present when we work for the Lord. Jesus never promised it would be easy. He did, however, promise to be with us. *Cue the Footprints in the Sand poster* In my flesh, I wish God would simply remove all obstacles and challenges. But that would leave little opportunity for Him to prove Himself victorious and faithful, the provider of all things, and sovereign over all our lives. It’s quite a conundrum for us. In Scripture, the Israelites and plenty of individuals found themselves in difficult times. Yet, when they full relied on the Lord, He proved Himself to truly be the all-powerful, all-loving God He says He is.

One challenge this summer was being reminded of the mental and emotional issues our young people deal with on a daily basis. It’s no secret that being an adolescent or teenager is difficult. Add to that the all-out attack on truth and decency in our culture and it’s a recipe for chaos. Some youth resolve to experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Some cut themselves. Some even go to lengths to change their physical appearance and “change” their gender. It’s very sad to watch.

But praise God, there is HOPE! And it’s called the GOSPEL!!! We have an enemy in the devil but Jesus is the author of truth. He said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Later, John says of Jesus, “Greater is He who is in you [believers] than He who is in this world.” We have victory through Christ. No matter what the issue, Jesus provides a light that guides us back to God. The gospel is our only hope for eternal life AND everyday life. Through Christ, we are more than conquerors.

A number of children placed their faith and trust in Christ this summer. One of my favorite stories is about *Madison. After campfire on Tuesday night, she stayed behind to speak with me. Normally, this only happens on Wednesdays when I give an opportunity for the children to respond to the gospel. Madison said, “I love God but I’ve never repented of my sins.” It had occurred to her that she had an affection for the Lord but had never dealt with her sin. She was absolutely right. We are sinners in need of a Savior. Christ dealt with our sin on the cross. Through faith, this sin-debt we owe God can be paid in full.

After explaining all this to Madison, I concluded by saying, “All we need to do is confess our sin and tell God we desire His forgiveness.” She decided right then to ask Jesus Christ into her life. It was a very sweet moment. Madison is now a true child of God.

Despite all the challenges a summer can present, these stories make it all worthwhile. Camp is good for kids on so many levels. Thank you to all who sent your own kids or grandkids to camp. Thank you to all who contributed towards our scholarship fund for kids who can’t afford it. And thank you to all who prayed and did anything else behind the scenes. Your prayers are being heard and your dollars well spent on changing lives for the kingdom of God. Keep up the good work!

Auction Night 2023

Please join us for our annual fundraiser dinner and auction the night of October 26th at 6 pm. Once again, we will be hosted by the River Community Church located at 1200 Miracle Rd in Cookeville.  (Or if you’re not from Cookeville: the church with the giant cross on the interstate!)

Be prepared to hear stories about what God is doing at Cedar Lake Camp! Some are funny, some are super-serious but either way you’ll stay caught up on all that’s happening through this wonderful ministry. An opportunity will be extended to contribute towards the construction of our new gymnasium. We broke ground earlier this year and continue working to this day, one step at a time. We would greatly appreciate your support. If you wish to join us that night, please give us a heads-up via email at


If you follow our social media pages, you’ll know the gym is coming along! We first broke ground on March 30 and by the end of the summer, most of the shell had been completed. Next came doors and currently, plumbing is being laid inside. Once this phase is complete, we can finish pouring the concrete floor. Total plumbing cost is $13,000 while the concrete slab is $68,000. Please pray for each phase of construction and consider joining us in this massive endeavor to provide a large indoor meeting area for our campers and retreat guests.

Fall Camp

Fall Camp is just a few weeks away and I always get excited for it.  In many ways Fall Camp is the same as summer, we are outside most of the time, playing games, doing activities and having a blast; we eat lunch, do snack shack, and have Bible class.  However, there is a different atmosphere at Fall Camp, it’s much smaller, we don’t have campfire, or worship in the since of music.   So we are able to do some different things. We do different activities, pumpkin carving, unique crafts and different games.  I also have a different approach to Bible class.  Camp’s mission doesn’t change but the implementation does.  Because of the unique atmosphere my approach to Bible class is to focus on Biblical foundations, on building a foundation for newbies and strengthening those who already believe.  This year I will be teaching on truth. We will be talking through some big questions that many children and even adults think about, such as: How can I know that God is real when I can’t see him? Or how do we know the Bible is true? So I’m super excited for God to use Fall Camp as we continue to teach the truth to children and train up the next generation of Christian leaders.

  • Jared Marsh, Associate Director


Rwanda 2023

Our staff are gearing up for another missions expedition this winter. This time, destination: AFRICA! We are partnering with local missionary Laura Yockey and Love Alive, International to do a camp for children in Rwanda. First, we will spend a few days near the capital city of Kigali then trek a few hours into the mountains where few missionaries visit. Please pray for our team of 15 individuals as they prepare financially, practically, and spiritually. If you would like to contribute towards the cause, shoot us an email or simple donate online at and designate Rwanda.

Bear Claw

Progress is being made on our newest cabin, Bear Claw. Overlooking the water, this addition is arguably the most “campy” of all our cabins with split log siding and a full-length porch complete with railings made from peeled cedar logs. Interior rooms have been framed and electrical wiring is nearing completion. We anticipate the “rough-in” inspection to occur over the next two weeks. With approval, we can move on to the next phase of construction- insulation and sheetrock.

Quick Stats

  • Total campers this summer: 719
  • Staff this summer: 80 (biggest staff EVER!)
  • Water lines broken this summer: 2
  • Cost for one 50lb bucket of chlorine granules: $140
  • Dead batteries: at least two
  • No-bake cookies: about 1000
  • Wasps and other flying insects: lots
  • Combined age of full-time staff: 150
  • Broken arms: one
  • Cost of food this year: $42,000
  • Campfire talks: 20
  • Clogged toilets: you don’t want to know
  • Repairs and maintenance cost year-to-date: $37,000
  • New roofs: 3
  • Swimming pool leaks: yes
  • Stomach bugs: let’s not talk about that
  • Cost to hire seasonal staff: $58,550
  • Homesick campers: a few each week
  • Baptisms: averaging a few each week
  • Staff who cry themselves to sleep: at least two each week