Bike to camp

1,600 km cycle trip aims to connect churches with Evergreen

biking4evergreen

Andrew Baerg

Biking 1,600 kilometres seems like a perfect summer adventure to some and a rotten use of two weeks’ holiday to others. For Andrew Baerg, it’s a unique opportunity to share something close to his heart – the ministry of Camp Evergreen – with churches all over Alberta.

The Calgarian has been training for months. Days before taking off on his 1,600-kilometre trip, everything is ready to go. His bicycle has been freshly tuned, his bags packed, his route committed to memory, and his “Mennonite-your-way” overnight stops arranged.

Baerg and his wife Lisa and three sons have strong ties to Camp Evergreen. “Towards the end of my Grade 12 year, I was baptized and asked Lendrum MB Church to send me to work at Camp Evergreen for the summer,” says Baerg.

The rest is history. Baerg met Lisa at the 480-acre year-round camp southeast of Sundre, Alberta. Their boys have invited friends from school to summer camp, excited to share the good news of Jesus and the fun of camp. The family spent a year working in ministry full-time at Evergreen, and as the boys grow older, they have been participating in leadership training programs offered there. Baerg served as board chair for eight years, and even as interim director for a brief period.

Camp Evergreen began as a vision held by a group of Mennonite Brethren churches in 1963, as an extension of their mission to disciple their youth and share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it. These churches built the camp, staffed the camp and sent their children there to meet the Lord and learn of his power.

The first year-round director Walt Loewen invited school and community groups to camp during the year. More than 50 years later, Camp Evergreen is filled to the rafters with summer campers, guest groups, staff and animals for most of the year. It’s time to expand, and the process has begun.

Camp EvergreenCamp Evergreen’s Reaching Higher fundraising program has been in place since 2012, gathering support and finances for expansion. Ten new cabins were finished just in time for the summer season of 2014. Two new staff homes are nearing completion, and plans are ready for a new lodge.

On behalf of Reaching Higher, Baerg will visit 18 MB church communities – many of whom were part of the original 1963 commitment to summer camp ministry – on his two wheels this summer.

His message?

  • “Evergreen needs to reach more young people” – children who have never heard the gospel and youth who need godly mentors and examples of service.
  • “Evergreen needs to re-engage churches in the ministry at camp.”
  • “Evergreen needs many people supporting and praying for the ministry.”

Baerg’s 13-day trip will loop from Calgary to Pincher Creek to Medicine Hat to Linden to Edmonton and back again. He aims to reconnect Alberta churches to the ministry of summer camp, particularly Camp Evergreen, where thousands will encounter God each year through the loving kindness of camp staff, the beauty of the Foothills and the teaching of the Bible at summer camp and retreats.

If all goes according to plan, Baerg will end his journey at Evergreen, just in time for the final fireside chapel of the summer. There, he’ll hear first-hand testimonies of students who are breathing, walking examples of God’s work at Camp Evergreen.

Learn more at biking4evergreen.ca.

[Sarah Viejou is a long-time seasonal staff member at Camp Evergeen and enjoys bike rides of much shorter distances.

Read more about Camp Evergreen:

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