Hello, friends! My name is Deborah Bontrager. I am a native of Florida, but have lived in New York for almost 30 years. Although raised in a Christian home where the truth of God and His ways were taught, I did not surrender my life to the Lord until I came to a point of desperation at 33 years old. I am one of those who has been “saved through childbearing” as it says in I Timothy 2:15. I did not desire to have any children and my husband wanted 10 of them! Thankfully, the Lord knew that I needed children (six to be exact) to come to the end of myself. In His mercy, He heard my cry while I was drowning in depression and hopelessness and lifted me up to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him with a new heart and a new life. My husband, Ken, and I have lived and worked at Camp Deerpark in Cuddebackville, NY for over 20 years which serves children and churches from New York City. Our children are Malachi (25), Gideon (23), Hadassah (22), Elijah (20), Hannah (18), and Nehemiah (15). They are my precious treasures to whom I owe so much.
Over the past several years I have also been blessed to home school my children, lead discipleship groups for women, teach in a home school co-op, and serve our brothers and sisters from New York City who come to Camp Deerpark throughout the year. It has been an honor to meet so many people of all ages, nationalities, and walks of life.
We all must bear the cross in our lives, as our Lord carried His for us. Perhaps we are not always given the choice as to which one we are willing to bear; but God, in His great mercy, knows what will bring about the greatest transformative work in our hearts, and I think that is what He is after. I would never have chosen my cross. I could not choose it. But I thank God with all my heart for using heartbreak and loss to teach me just how kind, loving, and gracious He is to all who reach out to Him from the darkest, lowest places. My daughter, Hadassah, died when she was 18 years old. In her short life, the Lord took her on a high adventure that was fraught with peril and uncertainty; but as He promises, He swooped down at just the right time to rescue a dear heart who cried out to Him for mercy. His love, indeed, never fails.
Finally, I have had one great passion for a very long time. I woke up one morning and said to the Lord, “I have the three most precious things that everyone in the world desires. I feel loved, I have peace, and I am full of joy. I wish that everyone could have these three things that You have given me.” Out of that realization, a desire to help bring other women into the transforming power and love of Jesus has grown in me as the years have gone by. I believe this new ministry called one voice is the culmination of many prayers and tears that God would allow me to be a part of something big for His glory. He has invited me to come with Him to see what He is going to do for us. It is why I live. For His glory.