When word reached the club members, they were, as expected, extremely disappointed, and wondered if they would still attend the camporee. “That was the first question from the kids,” said Pastor Christien Hodet.
South Flint Church pastor Christien Hodet and his wife JoAn were on vacation when they received a frantic text message from a church board member. The church trailer had been stolen from the church’s parking lot in Burton, Mich.! In the trailer was $7,000-8,000 worth of camping gear the Timberwolves club needed for the upcoming International Pathfinder Camporee — tents, flashlights, banners, tables, mats, ropes, water containers, kitchen supplies, lanterns, wagon, hammer, shovel, and more.
The Hodets were saddened. The timing was at the very least, inconvenient. Afterall, the event of a lifetime, the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis., was less than three weeks away. They immediately gathered their two boys, Asher, 14, and Jadon, 11, who are also members of the club and they prayed for God's will to be done.
When word reached the other club members, they were, as expected, extremely disappointed, and wondered if they would still attend the camporee. “That was the first question from the kids,” Christien recalled.
Later that Saturday night (July 20), JoAn posted a message on her Facebook page to create awareness about the missing trailer. “I figured it would help to get the word out in the community to be on the lookout. You never know if someone may have spotted it,” JoAn said. Her post was shared more than 700 times by church members, friends and community members. “We knew in our hearts God would provide and that not going [to Oshkosh] was not an option.”
A day or two later, Craig Harris, Pathfinder director for the Michigan Conference, connected the Hodets with two donors who wanted to replace the stolen items. “There are two anonymous donors and they both offered to cover all the supplies and equipment; pretty much [all of] what we have lost,” JoAn said.
The donors went to the store and purchased tents, sleeping bags, storage bins, canopies, mats, coolers, tarps, first-aid kit, kitchen supplies, and much more. A trailer is still needed to transport the club’s gear, but Christien is working on borrowing one.
When the Hodets offered to pay the donors back from the insurance claim, they refused to accept it. “They just said, ‘Whatever you get back from the insurance claim, why don’t you just put back into your club,’” Christien said. "The South Flint Church Family and Pathfinder Club are heartwarmingly thankful for the anonymous donors and many others who have offered to help in various ways."
JoAn said the experience was a testimony for the young people in the church to know “just how quickly God answers prayers.” What was meant to ruin a spiritual retreat, changed to the club witnessing a miracle. Christien added: “It’s just material goods; it’s just material, physical possessions. But it is a picture that in the difficult moments not to despair because God can always work things out.”
Malissa Martin is a Detroit-based freelance writer.