Mishewah as we now know it began 50 years ago, but the roots of our site’s ministry go all the way back to the 1930’s!
In 1934, H.H. and Martha Middleton saw a great need for affordable, faith-based camp programs for local kids. They began their first girls camp in 1935, with six attending. Camp was held at various local farms, cottages and campsites through the first few years, before settling at Camp Lau-Ren near Point Alexander. Over the next two decades, attendance steadily grew to over 100 girls.
The Middleton’s son Franklin was a passionate volunteer, supporter, and prayer warrior for the camp programs. In 1954, Franklin passed away from M.S. at the age of 33. His last testimony was “Accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.” His belongings, savings and insurance would go toward purchasing a property to continue running camp programs. Martha wrote “We spent a lot of time in prayer and waiting on the Lord to guide us as to what to do…so we looked around for a campsite and found a piece of virgin bushland on the edge of Round Lake. Mr. A. Dunn who owned all the north side of the Round Lake showed us the lake front and the lovely sandy shore…looked good to us…so in August 1955 we embarked on the new God guided adventure on the 54 acres, purchasing it with Franklin’s legacy so naming it Franklin Middleton Memorial Camp.”
Kids’ camps at Franklin Middleton Memorial Camp began in 1956 and ran until 1968 with camps for both girls and boys. At various points, other camps that did not yet have their own permanent locations rented the property to hold their camp programs, including Camp Lutherlyn and Round Lake Camp (now Camp Adonai). When H.H. passed away in June 1968, Martha knew that she would not be able to continue running the camp alone, and decided to sell the camp. She wrote in her journal: “It was a very hard thing for me to sell this place but when the time came it seemed that there was just a voice that was saying ‘If you sell it to these people they will carry it on for a soul saving station. If you keep it you won’t be able to manage it because the work is too big.’ So I looked into the future and saw the Lord was going to undertake for it and it will still be work to bring forth fruit to God’s honour and glories as long as it is there.” The camp was run as Camp Kirjatharba by a group from Hebron Fellowship in Kars, ON for a few years, until the Missionary Church purchased it in 1972, and Mishewah came to be.
We were so pleased to have the Middleton’s granddaughter Cathy and her family come down to visit us during the Jubilee Weekend. We are proud to continue the Middleton family’s legacy of changing lives and sharing Jesus with children and families at Camp Mishewah.
H.H. and Martha Middleton by the camp sign.
Cathy (Middleton) Kelly and her family visiting the Mishewah Memory Cabin