We are Jenna and Dylan Brauner, and we currently live at Camp Cedarwood with our son Eli. What a wonderful winter it has been so far to be living in the woods! I (Jenna) served my first summer at Camp Cedarwood in 2010, and Dylan in 2013. We served a few summers before taking a break, and then returning in 2017. We moved out to Cedarwood in December of 2018, and have been living here since.
Camp Cedarwood is located in Manitoba, about 1.5 hours from Winnipeg near the town of Lac Du Bonnet, and is a ministry of Youth For Christ Winnipeg. During the summer, Cedarwood runs as a summer camp for teenagers, in which we focus on sharing the Gospel with youth, many of whom have never heard it before. During the rest of the year we run as a rental facility for schools, churches and families. While this time does not involve the same direct hands-on approach we see in the summer, we pray we can be the light of Christ to all that enter our facility. We also have a discipleship program called The Branch that runs during the year, in which we focus on teaching young adults core elements of the Christian Faith. Currently, Jenna is serving as interim-director of Camp Cedarwood, and Dylan is serving on the maintenance team.
We have spent many summers serving on leadership during our youth programming, seeing our staff grow in their knowledge of Christ and seeing them lead campers to Christ. We are so thankful for the work that God has done over the years through the summer staff that He has called to Cedarwood. Using the gifts God has given us to spend our summers driving boats, running the camp store, and hanging out outside, all while building relationships and sharing the Gospel with youth is a pretty fun way to spend the summer!
2020 was a hard year for us at Cedarwood. Since March, we have essentially been closed to the public. As with everyone else, COVID-19 and the lockdowns that have come with it were a shock and quite unexpected. We went from having upwards of 3 groups a week use our facility, and preparing for a summer of ministry, to being totally shut down with no answer of when we may reopen. We have taken this time to complete projects and renovations at the facility that normally cannot happen when it is occupied, and have also used it to rethink the way that we operate and do ministry. As we continue to see that COVID will be around for a while, and has changed our world for the time being, we have been praying about how we could continue to do ministry. It was hard for many of us as we saw summer 2020 come and go with no youth in our dorms, and we grieved the loss of what we had always known summer to be. However, we are trusting that God is using this for His good, and that He has a plan for us in all of this.
We are grateful that God has continued to provide for us, which has allowed us to keep a core group of staff working throughout the pandemic. We have also been able to continue The Branch, and currently have 5 students as part of the program who are growing in their faith and learning more about the truth of the Gospel. We are now slowly reopening our facility to allow for private rentals of our cabins. We also look forward to opening up for individuals to come for personal retreats, giving a space for believers to find rest and a place to focus on God. We pray that God will give us opportunities to share His Good News through these new and creative ways of operation.
In this time of weariness and exhaustion, we pray for strength from God to continue doing the work to which He has call us. 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”
To donate, please follow this link https://yfcwinnipeg.com/donate/missionary-staff-support/ or call YFC at 204.669.4205