Utility Update

On November 1, just an hour before our fall board meeting, we received the approved Planning Module from the PA DEP. Although we thought that was the final document that we needed to install all the utilities, we now need a Water Quality Management permit before was can start on the Forced Main line to the Muddy Run Sewer Authority’s manhole. With this permit, however, we are now approved to bring electric and water onto the property. In addition, we can install all the gravity portion of the sewer system. It appears that the final permit for the remainder of the installation should come fairly quickly. Although the Water Quality Management Permit does require an engineer’s stamp, it is a relatively short and straight forward application.

As the board reviewed five different bids to bring utilities on the property, it became quickly apparent that there are two reasons that we cannot completely install all the utilities. The first challenge of obtaining the Water Quality Permit seems fairly straight-forward, in comparison to all the other permits. The second issue is finances. Although we have about $150,000 of available money to start the project, we need an additional $150,000 to complete the project. Recently, we visited a camp in another state, and they challenged us to move forward believing God. They had several thrilling stories of how God provided for their needs in spectacular ways. As the board prayed and reviewed the bids, we had to balance faith in our great God with good business practice. On Thursday, November 14, we signed a contract with an excavator to do the first phase of the project. This excavator was recommended by a good friend of the camp. He seems very thorough, and the board spent some time chatting with the excavator via speaker phone. We have in hand almost the entire amount for phase 1. Although it will cost extra money if the excavator leaves and needs to return to the property for phase 2, we in good conscience before God felt we could not sign a contract for a project that we did not have the current ability to pay. Both the board and the excavator would love if we could have the finances to finish the project before the excavator leaves. We are praying about this issue and putting the results into the hands of a Faithful God. Would you pray with us?

In addition to the needed finances, we also have need for volunteers. The bid does not include several portions of the project. It does not include the reseeding of the areas where they are installing pipe. Because most of digging of phase 1 (1280 ft.) is on other people’s property, we want to be very careful to leave the properties in equal or better condition than when we started. In addition, the final hookup of the water and sewer is not made to each of the cabins. We are looking for volunteers to help with the digging and installing of these lines. Although we do have a backhoe, there are several other pieces of equipment (mini-excavator & Skid-loader) that would be helpful for this project. Would you prayerfully consider how you could be a part of God’s Work at Servant’s Heart?

Brightness in the Midst of Few Clouds

It has been a long time since, I blogged on our website. There has certainly been much happening and the summer has been very busy. Just yesterday, I put on my “To Do List” to add a blog to our website. Later in the day, I received an email asking about the utility situation and stating that they had been checking our blog for updates.

Before I address the utility situation, let me tell you about our great God. Recently, I was reviewing the answered prayers in my prayer journal and I was overwhelmed at God’s goodness. We had an outstanding summer, with many specific answers to prayer.

One of those specific answers to prayer is in regard to our lake. For a long time, I had been praying that we could get a “No Hazard” classification for our lake. Being of little faith, I finally took that off my prayer list because it seemed impossible. In fact, we were very concerned that the DEP could have ruled our lake as a “High Hazard” lake. After our downstream neighbor signed a restricted covenant on his dwelling/storage shed, the DEP ruled our lake as a “No Hazard” lake. That is a huge blessing and a great answer to prayer.

We thought we were on the final easy permit to install utilities on the property. In fact, we are totally approved to install water and electricity, but we have a few hoops before we get our final sewage permit. Because the excavation is in the same area, it is not practical to install the water and electricity until we have the sewage approval.

When we submitted the final approval for the sewage, we received a requirement that the Pa Historical and Museum Commission would make a determination if we would be required to do an archeological survey to search for Indian relics. We submitted the paperwork asking for a variance on the survey. The time limit for them to give us an answer has expired and I still have not heard. I called the PHMC, but I still do not have an answer. Before resubmitting the final permit for the utilities, we need this document from the PHMC. Finally today when I called the PHMC, they told me the document went in the mail yesterday. Apparently the document states that they are requesting an archeological survey. In our situation, however, they do not have the authority to require us to do the survey. After we submit the document to the DEP, the DEP will make the final determination concerning the survey. The representative at the PHMC thought it was likely that the DEP would not require us to do the survey.

Although the lack of this permit is a bit of a dark cloud, we are encouraged in the Lord. The sun and dark clouds in the picture show God’s beautiful handiwork. God continues to paint a beautiful picture here at Servant’s Heart. Thank you for your continued interest in SHCM.