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    Growing up, I read 1,917,523 books (give or take 5) and along the way I met up with all sorts of great characters too numerous to name. At the top of that list is a little house. Or, more specifically, The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton. (Who also wrote Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Katy and the Big Snow, which, in my mind, makes her a shoo in for the Mt. Rushmore of children’s authors alongside Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Ethelyn Parkinson, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. But I digress.)

    The Little House lives on a hillside in the country, surrounded by daisies and apple trees. The sun rises and sets. The moon comes up and goes down. The seasons change around the Little House, and life is good. But horseless carriages are made, and roads are paved by the Little House, and more houses spring up where the fields once were. Then gas stations, and apartment buildings and eventually skyscrapers, elevated trains, subways, and highways surround the Little House. She is abandoned and ignored as people and traffic speed on by. Her paint is peeling, windows are cracked, and shutters are falling off.

    Then one day, instead of speeding by, a person notices the sad Little House and says “That Little House looks just like the Little House my grandmother used to live in when she was a little girl, only that Little House was way out in the country on a hill covered with daisies and apple trees growing around.”

    They found out it was the very same home, jacked it up and put it on wheels and towed it out of the city while traffic stopped for it to pass by. They took it way out into the country and placed her on a new foundation on a hill surrounded by apple trees. They fixed her windows, and gave her a fresh coat of pink paint. “…and all was quiet and peaceful in the country.” (mic drop.)

    I love that book, to the point that I have pages of it framed in my kitchen. I love the rhythms of nature and the change of seasons. But mostly I am a sucker for a story of redemption, transformation and restoration, and I suspect I am not alone. Something within us knows when things are not right, and seeks to fix it. We come to the end of our abilities and discover God has the ultimate plan to fix everything, and He will let us participate in it. That’s my main driver for working at Sandy Cove – a front row seat to redemption and transformation.

    If the Little House of your family has broken windows, peeling paint and shabby shutters, consider towing it out to our hill in the country for a week of Family Camp. We’ve got pink paint for you, and our sunsets and view of the bay are almost as good as daisies and apple trees :)

    And, if you are already a regular at Family Camp, thank you! Every Friday we hear testimonies from families who share how other guests impacted them that week. As we live in community, things slow down instead of speeding up. We see each other, instead of racing on by. We push back against the noise, confusion and loneliness. You help one another replace cracked glass and fasten shutters that were askew, as you minister to one another.

    It’s a beautiful thing, and a story well worth being a part of!   

    Nate Ransil
    Nate Ransil
    Nate joined the Program department at Sandy Cove in 2003, and transitioned to director of that team in 2014. Nate graduated from Houghton College with a double major in Communication and Outdoor Recreation (yes, it is a thing) and got to know his wife Evelyn while co-leading backpacking trips for at-risk youth. Hopefully not as at-risk are their two sons, Caleb and TJ, who have spent all their summers at Sandy Cove, Camp Sandy Cove, and The MARSH! Nate enjoys being outside, being inside, being handy, the beach, snowboarding, roller coasters, training aardvarks, bodybuilding, contributing to quantum theory, and making up fanciful, if not entirely accurate, biographical details.
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