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Family program volunteers pose for a picture with mountains behind them at Camp PalisadesFamily program volunteers pose for a picture with mountains behind them at Camp Palisades

Jodell Payseno was curious about the goings-on at Camp Palisades. As a high-end remodeler and builder in Jackson, Wyoming, he tends to notice construction projects.

What he found when he stopped by the camp was a group of MDS volunteers busily rehabbing camp structures, clearing trails, and making the camp look better than Payseno could remember. The MDS Family Project, currently operating at the camp this summer, is hosting families who work and play together to breathe new life into the camp.

Payseno, who attends New Hope Fellowship Church not far from the camp, had an idea. I get access to a lot of leftover building materials all the time,he said. I decided to get in touch with the Mennonite camp, and be a part of it.

He was delighted to see the camp becoming a place where people could go for spiritual retreats. I contacted MDS and it blossomed from there,he said. I have wood, doors, sinks, tile, and just all kinds of electrical and plumbing—and they can have whatever they need.

“We’re just trying to walk with Jesus and when we find an opportunity to do it with others, we want to do that.”

— Jodell Payseno, remodeler and builder in Jackson, Wyomin

Not a Mennonite, and never having heard of MDS, what made him reach out? I pretty much got on board because its about Jesus,he said. What better cause can you have but our Lord and Savior?

Hes already talking about having a mens retreat at Camp Palisades. We just fell in the love with the place right away,he said. Were just trying to walk with Jesus and when we find an opportunity to do it with others, we want to do that.

Paysenos church is also newly working with the First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen, Idaho, which operates the camp as one of its ministries. Both credit MDS for bringing them together—and for giving the next generation of children and families a chance to see Jesus in a new light at the camp.

We are trying to motivate people to enjoy what God provided, not just what they spend money on—to plant a seed and light a little fire than everybody can see,said Payseno. Were not looking for glory—that goes to God.

Written by Susan Kim, MDS Writer 

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