God Giveth the Increase

In 1957, the  Mennonite Youth Society (MYS) decided to hire William Zehr, an American Film Producer to create a documentary depicting the work of the organization.  It was to center primarily on the Mennonite Youth Farm.  The cost of the film was $4500, equivalent to an average yearly wage!  The premiere showing took place at the Canadian Mennonite Conference sessions in Saskatoon in 1958.

The desire was to create a film that would showcase the work of the MYS group.  H.W. Friesen and J.C. Schmidt were to be featured prominently and be the main personalities in the film.  They wanted to have video of local youth groups, the many homes that were operated and the youth camps that were running in the province (Pike Lake, Camp Elim and Youth Farm).

By 1971, the two 16 mm films that (MYS) had received were no longer around.  Walter Franz writes in an 1971 essay (Download it from this page) "The film appeared to be more popular outside the province of Saskatchewan than among MYS supporters.  If a copy could be located today, it would be an interesting and valuable record of a dynamic organization that no longer exists.

Finding God Giveth the Increase

After reading the Walter Franz essay, Mark Wurtz, Director of the Youth Farm Bible Camp tried to find an archived copy of the film.  He called many different Historical Societies to no avail.  Then after a simple web search "William Zehr Mennonite" he found an article linking the film's producer to Bethel College in Kansas where Mennonite Church USA has their archives.  Zehr had donated his collection of work to the archives in 1970.  There was a response by the staff of the Mennonite Library and Archives saying that the 16mm film was definitely in their archives!

The Youth Farm Bible Camp paid for the 16mm film to be digitalized and began the long task of getting the film back into Saskatchewan.  By February, 2014, the film was ready to be shown at the Youth Farm Bible Camp's annual Vereniki and Sausage supper.  The audio of the film could still be improved and synced better to the video, however the picture quality is great considering it is from 1957! 

Here is the 40 minute video - "God Giveth the Increase"

Youth Farm Bible Camp - 57 years later

A lot has changed since when the video was captured 57 years ago.  All of the barns are no longer on the yard.  The Invalid home has become the Mennonite Nursing Home and the retreats and camps that were held on the yard are still happening at the Youth Farm Bible Camp!  As well, instead of having a dairy that helps pay for the ministry, we now have another agricultural based revenue stream - the CORN MAZE!  Many things may have changed over the years, but the mission of the camp remains the same as when it was started in 1941.  A Bible verse that was quoted in the video is as follows:

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (KJV)

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NLT)

This is what we believe at the Youth Farm Bible Camp.  We have over 500 campers that come out for the 9 weeks of Summer Camp.  We are hoping to plant seeds of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We are praying to water and nourish the seeds during the weeks of camp.  We understand that the Holy Spirit does the work and we have to humble ourselves before the Spirit.  We are called to be servants of God!