A Tribute to Ken Blank, a Family Camp Attender and Pastoral Supporter of Northland Camp for over 40 years

Northland lost a great friend when Ken Blank (1938-2017) recently left this Earth to Heaven. It was our privilege to know him and his family. Here is a family tribute.

Jeff Kahl, Executive Director Northland Camp & Conference Center

My Dad

My Dad’s work on earth is over. If you knew my Dad, you knew he worked. He worked as a boy and a young man on the family farm in southern Wisconsin. He studied agriculture at UW Madison. My Dad was in emotional pain as a student at UW Madison. He had thoughts of ending his life. He talked about a time he was walking near the UW campus and a large bus went by. He wished it would hit him. It would all be over. His pain would be gone.

My Dad had a roommate who read his Bible. My dad started to read his Bible. It was at this time an older sister sent him a book. After reading the book, he realized that he was a sinner. He also realized that without Christ, God would punish him for his sin. In the closet of his dormitory room, my Dad got down on his knees, repented of his sin, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

His life was changed. He married my mother and attended a Gospel preaching church. He soon realized that God wanted him to preach the Gospel. My Dad, Mom, and a couple kids moved to Minnesota until he graduated from Bible College. After Bible College, he moved back to Wisconsin.

My Dad started a church in Green Bay. He told people about Jesus and invited people to church. He started a Christian school, and the congregation purchased a building. After a few years, the building sold. My Dad worked untold hours on the planning and construction of the little brown church.

My Dad worked as a pastor, teacher, and often as the janitor. He did this because he had chosen to serve God. My Dad’s desire was that everyone in his congregation learn and live God’s Word. After a number of years of growth at the little brown church, my Dad went through a time of depression. The church struggled. My Dad took it upon himself to make something happen to try to ignite the church again. As a result, he made some misguided decisions.

My Dad retired as the pastor a few years ago. He told me several times that he never cared if he had a legacy. He just wanted to follow God and do whatever God wanted him to do. Some may say that his legacy is the little brown church.

However, I say his legacy is his decision to place his faith in Jesus Christ. The church he attended as a child failed to teach the necessity of personal repentance of sin. It also failed to teach the necessity of placing one’s faith in Christ’s death on the cross to cover the sin debt that everyone has with a holy God. When my Dad understood the message of repentance and faith, he chose Christ.

Everyone has sinned. God commands everyone to repent of sin, to accept Christ’s death on the cross as payment for one’s sin debt, and to place one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life.” Eternal salvation only comes to those who repent of sin and place their faith in Jesus.

My Dad did this many years ago. It changed his life. He spent the majority of his life working for God, not for himself. I truly believe that when he arrived in heaven, God said to him, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” I can handle my Dad’s departure. I will miss him. I would love to see him at church again and be Grandpa to my kids. The thought of not being able to speak with him again saddens my soul. However, I know he is with God. What about you? Do you know my Dad’s Savior? Do you know the God my Dad loved? Do you know the God my Dad served? If not, choose Jesus today.

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January, 2017

RE: An Urgent Appeal to Northland Friends

Dear Partners:

Northland has launched the “Partners Pressing Forward Initiative” where we are asking our committed, friendly, and appreciative alumni, campers, and friends to help take care of a $220,000 debt that continues to put untimely pressure on our recovery and rebuilding efforts. This obligation is a carry-over amount from the former ministry leadership.

Over the last 12 months, our current board of directors, along with generous friends, have helped bring it down from $497,000 to the current amount listed. We praise the Lord for faithful partners who have already stepped up to reduce the total amount so quickly and significantly. But we have a little more work to do.

With the daily operational expenses under control and the future increase in camper enrollment, we believe there is a growing confidence that Northland can be stabilized. With campers returning to Northland Camp; churches providing monthly gifts again to support the gospel ministry; international students making plans to attend camp and school at the Northland International Academy; and the reopening of Northland Leadership Institute for ministry-minded and gap year students, the board of directors is confident Northland can move forward.

There are many Northland friends all around the world. They have been impacted somewhere on Northland’s campus, by some person on campus, during some special time of the year. Northland is not dying but surviving. All it needs is a little more help from the friends who love it most and love the ministry a lot more. Northland will be a place where the Word of God is preached, the love of God is felt, the name of God is exalted, and where people esteem others better than themselves.

If you, your family, your church, or your business can help with a special gift at this time, you can help Northland do something many didn’t think possible—to survive another day to serve the Lord by providing a great camp experience, a great education, and a great vision for the future to multitudes more who have never yet been to the campus even once.

Can you help? Would you pray about it? The “Partners Pressing Forward Initiative” brochure can be viewed here. Partners Pressing Forward

For God’s glory alone,

Jeff Kahl

Camp Director

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