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December 31, 2000: Saturday Night at The River

November 26, 2000: College athletes minstry emphasizes Holy Spirit

November 19, 2000: Bad weather doesn't dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit's Convoy of Hope

November 12, 2000: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church

October 29, 2000: Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ

September 17, 2000: Loving the unloved

September 10, 2000: Changing lives in a big way

August 13, 2000: Church planting fuels growth

July 30, 2000: Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans

July 16, 2000: Running the good race

July 9, 2000: Hispanic church thrives in border town

June 25, 2000: The hand of God

June 18, 2000: HonorBound: Raising an army of godly men

June 11, 2000: Illinois Christian radio stations deliver message of Christ to thousands

May 14, 2000: A/G foster families minister to children

April 30, 2000: Prison revival reaches beyond the fence

April 23, 2000: Harvest Sunday draws hundreds for water baptism

April 16, 2000: Chain reaction

April 9, 2000: One pastor's burden: reaching the 'white slums'

March 26, 2000: Cowboy church rounds up believers

March 19, 2000: Motorsports ministry: Winning souls at the track

March 12, 2000: A dream blooms in the desert

February 20, 2000: Romanian church prospers for 20 years

February 13, 2000: Ministry at a strategic academic crossroads

January 23, 2000: God's Navy

Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ

In the smithy a glowing piece of iron is pulled from the firepot, placed on an anvil, then struck several times. The deafening strike of hammers pierces the air as rifle racks, tools and lantern hangers emerge from rods of steel.

"Strike while the iron is hot," David Craun, the blacksmith, encourages one of the men. "If the steel cools, it’ll break."

Richard Mariott (left), Royal Rangers national commander, and Fred Deaver, Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship president, gather with nearly 1,000 others for the 2000 National Rendezvous sponsored by FCF, an auxiliary of Royal Rangers.

The air is fresh and laced with the aroma of campfires along traders row where tanned buckskins, Kentucky long rifles, knives and colorful beads are swapped for money and other goods. In a nearby glen, a group of teen-age boys practices hawk-throwing — a combination of choreographed moves where tomahawks and knives are thrown at a stationary target. On the firing range a proud father looks on as his 12-year-old son fires a long rifle.

Nearly 1,000 boys and men from across the United States have gathered here at Camp Eagle Rock in southwest Missouri for the 2000 National Rendezvous sponsored by the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship, an auxiliary of Royal Rangers. Though adventure, sleeping outdoors, and learning new skills like building a fire with flint and steel are all part of the average day, building relationships with others and God is the primary goal.

"We re-enact many of the activities and skills our forefathers did," Fred Deaver, FCF president, says. "But more important, this is a time for many of these boys and men to get away, re-evaluate their lives and find where they stand before Christ."

Frontiersmen agree.

"I have seen God move powerfully in the evening services," Matt Brown, 17, says after lunch. "Some people have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Others have accepted Christ as their Savior."

"While being here I’ve seen how some of these dads work with their sons," says Jeremy Schaffer, 18. "That has been real encouraging for me. Royal Rangers has taught me a lot of character qualities."

Tepees and canvas lodges provide shelter. Comforts like phones, computers and electricity are shunned, and clothing styles are unique to the 18th and early 19th century. Each day begins at 6 a.m., with the firing of a 12-pound Napoleon cannon. After breakfast and morning devotions the frontiersmen compete and trade and learn new skills and crafts until the evening service.

"This is a wonderful avenue for talking with boys about Christ," Gerald Haines, a gunsmith on traders row, says. "It gives men a chance to share the gospel."

The first FCF Rendezvous was held in 1972 — about 100 boys and men attended. The authentic outfits and the plethora of activities and goods prevalent today, says James Kious as he cools off in the shade, were few and far between in the ’70s.

"It started with two black powder guns and a few outfits, but now everyone has really got into it," he says of the rendezvous that is held every four years. "But the evening services are the most important thing about the rendezvous. I’ve got closer to the Lord on account of them."

Though FCF and the rendezvous have grown, says Deaver, the mission to reach boys for Christ and keep men connected with the church remains the same.

"It’s like an umbilical cord that has kept many close to their church and Christ," he says. "This year we prayed young men would see visions and old men would dream dreams — that has happened here this week."

— Kirk Noonan

 

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