On Wilderness Retreat Center Letterhead
October 9, 2004
Mr. Darin Martinelli, Executive Director
The Martinelli Family Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Greetings! [The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections AND/OR relationships.] yada yada yada
In fact, Robert, Bill Vickers, Sr. spent time at Wilderness Retreat Center many times over the years, and even found his wife (your mother) in our congregation. Your father also served on our National Advisory Board for 10 years, giving counsel and generous support for various projects. I remember him as a very gentle giant of a man–and will always remember him with fondness, admiration, and a great deal of respect.
Even now, I continue to breathe a prayer every time I think of you all. Your family has meant a lot to my family over the past two decades. Perhaps that is why God has strongly impressed me to write you at such a critical time. . . As you know, it is written in Isaiah 32:18, "And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."
Since the September 11th attack on our country, our security has been shaken tremendously. Even the innocence of my children and many others has been stolen. Our security has been violated. Even the foundation of our faith has been shaken. Where does one find hope in a terror-filled world? In today’s fast-paced, stress-filled world, there are few places where Christians can "escape" from the pressures of their everyday life and learn to receive and minister faith, peace, and inner healing for themselves–much less, to those in need. There are few "peaceable habitations," "sure dwellings," and "quiet resting places."
Wilderness Retreat Center has been that place for 34 years.
More than 50 years ago, my father Bill Vickers, Sr. a humble, young Mennonite missionary, followed the call of God to drive his family from northern Oregon to Missouri. Never in his wildest dreams could he have envisioned what was in store. He only knew that God had told him to go. . . and he wanted to faithful and obedient to that call.
Today, because of his obedience, a global ministry thrives with hundreds of churches and mission outreaches in 38 countries and throughout the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people have been trained and sent out from Vickers Evangelism’s International headquarters located at Wilderness Retreat Center in Lee’s Summitt. Countless children in Third World countries have been fed, clothed, and educated. . . a second generation of national leaders direct our missions in Haiti, Honduras, Philippines, and other impoverished countries. Churches throughout America and Canada are led by pastors and leaders trained at Wilderness Retreat Center’s Institute of Ministry. Tens of thousands of individuals have found a spiritual respite here.
In the uncertain times in which we live, it is essential that we fulfill the Great Commission to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel." That is what Vickers Evangelism has been doing, at home and abroad. God has positioned us to be in areas of crisis–from poverty in Haiti, to devastating hurricane aftermath in Honduras and, recently, to ministry at Ground Zero right here in our own country. We also have spent much time in the Middle East, where real peace will come only when peoples’ hearts are changed.
Wilderness Retreat Center has the facility, the curriculum, and a complete Christian staff trained not only in the technical aspects of their jobs, but in how to deal with peoples’ spiritual needs. We will remain faithful and obedient and are strategically positioned to continue impacting the world–our greatest limitation is financial.
The lion’s share of our financial support comes from our faithful partners, many of whom have stood with us for years. But occasionally we have a hurdle that requires extra help: This is one of those times. Our 99-unit housing facility, Retreat Manor, desperately needs a new roof. Over the past year or two, it has progressed beyond the point of repair. This 3-story residential facility is already booked for our winter conference season and Institute of Ministry class commencing in January. We depend on it to house our pastors, missionaries, guest speakers and teachers, guests, and students who attend our programs. During the most recent 18 months, we have lost an average of 25% of the rooms due to water leaks, water damage, or unbearable mildew and other intolerable smells.
We MUST put a new roof on this building immediately! A new roof and some minor tertiary repair will immediately restore 100% of this building and ensure housing for Wilderness Retreat Center in the coming conference season meaning available increased housing for as many as 15,000 additional people within a year. It will mean increased service to The Kingdom AND The King–not only for this winter but into the next generation. You can help make and sustain these plans to reality. Would you please review the attached proposal and choose to fund the much needed roof as soon as possible? The funding of this project will free us up to focus on what God has called us to do–win souls to Christ and train believers for service.
Since the September 11th tragedy, we have seen an increase in those searching for spiritual answers, and are implementing plans for future growth. We have introduced a new School of Leaders. We are anticipating double the enrollment in our Institute of Ministry and weekly conferences this Winter, 2003. We have reorganized to cut out non-essentials and have become more focused on our priorities: to help people discover and become empowered to utilize their God-given gifts and callings.
I am eager to discuss this proposal with you. If you have any questions or concerns or if there is a need for additional materials to be filled out to facilitate this process, or if I can meet and discuss this proposal with you, please call me at (660) 747-6390, or directly on my cell phone at (660) 111-2222. Thank you for considering this request.
The harvest is ripe and the laborers are busy reaping and asking for help. Now is the time to invest in and leverage resources into empowering evangelization and mobilization of Kingdom Resources o be maximized. People need help. We will help them. Wilderness Retreat Center needs help to help them. Thank you very much for your consideration. I am excited about establishing a partnership with you that will bear much fruit for the Kingdom! May God continue to bless the fruit of your labors as you purpose to put Him first in all things.
Rev. Billy Vickers, President and Pastor
Wilderness Retreat Center/Vickers Evangelism, Inc.
Wilderness Retreat Center
Wilderness Retreat Center Mission and Vision Statement:
Wilderness Retreat Center exists to reach, teach, train, and send believers into the world in direct fulfillment of the Great Commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." A great commitment to The Great Commandment and The Great Commission will build the Body of Christ (and fulfill our calling).
Our emphasis is on ministry by the Spirit of God, encouraging discovery and activation of God-given gifts and callings in the life of every believer, and empowering the Body of Christ to be faithful and obedient. Our vision is that all people would find peace with God and that Wilderness Retreat Center would be used to facilitate that by being a safe place for all to experience God’s love.
Our request is for you to partner with us to re-roof our 99-unit housing facility, Retreat Manor which is used as a support function for those involved in our ministry programs. The flat roof has deteriorated significantly over its’ quarter-century life, is leaking badly and must be replaced immediately.
Target Market and Geographic Area Served:
Since it was built in 1978, more than 300,000 visitors have stayed in the Retreat Center from 60 countries around the world and EVERY state in the Union. Interdenominational and trans-cultural Christian groups from all over the United States and throughout the world, representing men, women and children from diverse backgrounds. In addition to housing our own Institute of Ministry students, the facility is utilized by many groups for their retreats, seminars and church conferences. Currently, the deterioration of the roof is causing many to be turned away from our retreat center.
Wilderness Retreat Center is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit missions organization established in Lee’s Summit, Missouri in 1959 as Vickers Evangelism, Inc. and is governed by a six-member Board of Directors and 5 advisors (See Page 6). Also, see attached 501(c)(3) I.R.S. Determination Letter.
Mr. Billy Vickers, Founder and Chairman (660) 747-6390, voice
Wilderness Retreat Center (660) 111-2222, cell
P.O. Box 1225 E-mail: Billyvickers@wrc.com
Warrensburg, MO 64093 Website: www.wrc.com
Financial Request and Purpose:
The ongoing needs of an organization like ours are substantial. However, our immediate need is for a new roof over our 99-unit housing facility at our International ministry headquarters. We are asking you for a grant to cover the cost of $348,500 to replace this roof (See Page 4). TOTAL REQUESTED: $ 348,500 (or any portion thereof)
Evaluation and Assessment:
We are committed to integrity and accountability and will do whatever is necessary to ensure the accountability requirements of our donors. Feedback from our peers and those who take part in our programs is welcomed and sought after, and we are willing to provide any documentation requested and explore alternative methods of evaluation if necessary.
Wilderness Retreat Center
Over the past 24 years, Retreat Manor, our 99-unit, 3-story housing facility has filled a vital function, providing accommodations for those who attend the programs at Wilderness Retreat Center. In 2003 alone, more than 15,000 guests resided there while they participated in Bible training and restoration of body, soul, and spirit.
Thousands of children and youth are housed there during summer camps and numerous church groups of diverse ethnic, racial and denominational backgrounds utilize the facility during their retreats and conferences. This year, 2002, we will have hosted 161 groups representing some 20,000 people. Approximately 20 % are from minority groups of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
We have done our best over the years to maintain this facility with limited financial resources. However, recently the flat roof has deteriorated to the point where it is not suitable for repair. In this tropical part of the country, we receive much rainfall, and the leaky roof has been causing damage to our rooms, promoting mildew and dampness-related problems. We have been advised that the building must be re-roofed.
The need is immediate. To date, we already have bookings for 55 groups in 2005, with many more expected. At least 12 rooms are not usable due to leakage from the roof. This problem is rapidly worsening.
We must re-roof this facility to prevent further damage. In addition to providing housing for our schools and programs, Retreat Manor has been designated by the Red Cross as an approved shelter for our community in event of flooding or other type of disaster. Our staff also has been trained to handle such emergencies. Replacing the roof will secure the integrity of this integral building and enable us to continue providing residential housing 24/7 for those seeking spiritual renewal and training in an atmosphere of God’s presence.
The Next Step and Budget:
Professional roofers have evaluated our problem and determined that a pitched roof, as opposed to the present flat roof, will eliminate the leaking from pools of water that accumulate on the roof. Our next step is to proceed with constructing the new proposed pitched roof to be placed over the flat, deteriorating roof. We would like to proceed as soon as possible, in anticipation of our winter conference season when the facility will be in greater demand.
A bid obtained from a top-quality professional roofer has placed the cost of re-roofing the housing facility at $303,500. This is for a Butler Pre-engineered structural slope built-up roof system which will raise the roof 3 feet to 4 feet above the existing flat deck. A 20-year Weathertight Gold Warranty is included.
We respectfully request a grant of $348,500, which will allow us to cover all costs of replacing this roof. The added funds will help us restore the damaged rooms at a cost of $1,600 each and cover costs not included with the roof bid, such as carpentry, plumbing and painting. With a new roof, this facility should easily serve the next generation of attendees and free us up to focus on the business of reaching souls for Christ rather than a fund-raising campaign to fix the roof on this vital facility.
Our objective and vision for the future is to increase our fruitfulness, seeing more souls saved and equipping workmen for the Harvest. Our local church has implemented a new church model with cell groups and emphasis on leadership training through a new Leaders School of Ministry. Through systematic discipleship training, believers will grow to discover their God-given gifts and callings. Teams are sent out on short-term trips to our overseas mission fields in Haiti, Honduras, Philippines, Israel, Ukraine and many other countries.
We are committed to careful stewardship of ministry funds for maximum ministry fruitfulness and total debt retirement. As God provides the funds, we have plans for a new gymnasium for youth, an assisted living center for retirees and expanded cafeteria.
The Organization History:
Vickers Evangelism, Inc., was founded in 1959. The religious, non-profit organization was established to accommodate his religious and humanitarian endeavors in the impoverished country of Haiti, where he built churches, schools and orphanages. Bill Vickers, a young Mennonite pastor, joined in 1963, following a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit on his congregation in northern Oregon.
Since then, Vickers Evangelism has extended its outreach into 38 nations and established Retreat centers in several other regions of the country. Vickers continues to serve as Chairman of the Board, while his son, Billy Vickers, is president and senior pastor of Wilderness Retreat Center Church. Wilderness Retreat Center in Missouri, headquarters of the ministry, was established in 1968. Retreat Manor, the 99-unit housing facility at Wilderness Retreat Center, was built in 1978 and is used as a support function for those involved in the ministry programs. Over the past 50 years of worldwide ministry, multitudes of people have been fed, clothed, housed, educated and spiritually fed through the outreaches of Vickers Evangelism. Countless souls have been won to Christ and hurting people healed, thanks to those who have faithfully supported this ministry.
The international ministry headquarters is focused on training and raising up Christian leaders. More than 3,000 students have been graduated from Wilderness Retreat Center’s Institute of Ministry Training School and sent out to churches and missions throughout the world. At the Warrensburg conference center, located approximately 40 miles east of Lee’s Summit, we provide a facility and staff for other church groups to train leaders and conduct children’s and youth camps. In 2004, we housed over 9,000 young people during summer camps. Wilderness Retreat Center Family Church reaches out to the local community, seeking to strengthen families and meet the practical and spiritual needs of people of all ages and walks of life.
Our schedule is on-going and in full implementation year-round. We have a large vision of growth for the future and are committed to fulfilling the call God has given to this ministry. Our sole hurdle is financial at this point.