Friday, April 13, 2018



Greetings Friends!

Its the second of April and as I glance out my window, it seems clear that winter is going to hang on to us for some time yet. Two stubborn feet of snow still bury the Northwoods and the weather app on my phone is calling for another 5-9 inches tonight. It would be easy, when surveying this wintery landscape, to forget that Spring is approaching quickly, and with it will come many tasks, events, and continued conversations - all opportunities to proclaim the glory of God and to remind ourselves of the good things he has done.

In October we welcomed Eleanor Jo (Nora) into our family. I am still getting used to the idea that she is a girl, but so far she has been fine. She has never yet referred to herself as a "princess" and shows no fear of being seen with me in public. I think we must be on the right track. Five months in and so far, so good.  Charlie and Mason are every bit as noisy and energetic as you would expect a 4 year-old and 3 year-old to be.  The house is never quiet these days and I am sure we will miss that when they are bigger but my goodness...
The trailhead class of 2017/2018 has been great. There will always be difficulties, but for the most part the students have been glad to learn, and one student even made his first-time decision for Christ during the year.  Over the next month or so they will be finishing up classes, enjoying a couple trips together, and processing all they have learned during the year.  The last month of Trailhead is a blessed time, as differences are set aside and the group begins to realize and reflect on what a great year it has been. 

And with the ending of Trailhead comes the beginning of the summer  adventure program, when we will take to the woods, rivers and trails to teach the gospel the way Jesus often did- outside, surrounded by the glory of God in His creation, and amidst the challenges that come from living "under the sky."  We will serve thousands of young people at camp in the next few months, and all of our programs are designed to help each one understand the reality of God and His love. Please pray that they will hear and understand!

Laura and I passed the ten-year mark this year, and we continue to be grateful to our Lord for helping us find each other. She is a blessing to me every day and a prayerful, committed and FUN mom for the kids.  Being a mom has kept her away from too much direct work with students this year, but she still helps with details on the computer from home WAY too early in the morning when she should be sleeping.  She is a blessing. 
We give thanks for all of you,

Dan, Laura, Charlie, Mason & Nora

Annual Trailhead pig classes (this is sausage)
(family photos done by James Stokes Photography)

Friday, October 13, 2017

One month down. Eight months to go. Almost over.


In September we launched our fifth year of the Trailhead Program at   Forest Springs. Students have been absorbed in trips, training and classes. This journey we are on together still has the feel of an experience that is just beginning, but If there is one thing I have learned in the first four years, it’s that things move fast from here on out. Everyone has his or her goals for the year, and there is no time to lose because Trailhead will be over before we know it.  There are many deep questions to wrestle with, many plans to be made, and many struggles to be shared and processed. Time is of the essence. Please pray that each’s student’s unique needs will be shared, discerned and ministered to this year by God’s grace and with his help. 


The big news for Trailhead is a new facility! Forest Springs carried out an extensive remodel of the old house we call “Hillside” and this new space is working nicely for the housing of the Trailhead men and for classroom space, which has been a significant need. Praise God for this exceptional blessing. We never expected or even hoped for something like this.


As always, our class is a diverse collection of young people from around the country. This year we only have two students from Wisconsin! In some ways it is surprising that people come from Nebraska, South Carolina, or Mexico to attend Trailhead, but I have come to trust God’s wisdom in these things.  It’s a great honor to be part of His plan for these twelve young people. He loves them greatly and it’s so interesting to begin to piece together what His purpose seems to be for bringing each of them to Forest Springs.


At the Jacobson home, we have been living for months now in a state of constant readiness. We expect our daughter to be born any day Lord   willing, and because Mason was so early, we have been in that frame of mind for awhile.  The actual due date (Oct 26th) is fast approaching now so it really should be soon. Please pray for God’s good timing in this.   


Charlie and Mason are good little men. They are growing fast in body and mind. Charlie is a “Cubbie” this year at church, and is doing a great job learning his verses. Mason is a joy, with an exceptionally developed sense of humor for his age. He gets this from his dad I think because it’s a bit twisted at times.


Laura is ready for our little girl to come. I am glad my daughter will have Laura for a mom. She will be entering the world a blessed little girl.


Thanks you all for your prayers, thoughts, encouragement and support!

Dan, Laura, Charlie & Mason



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer 2017

Trip Staff 2017!
It’s hard to explain adventure trip ministry to people.  While many of our friends and family believe in camp ministry, they often seem to scratch their heads at the whole wilderness idea.  When we first decided to join this ministry, I was asked by a friend “What does canoeing down a river have to do with the gospel?” Let me give you a couple of thoughts:
Setting: We hear in psalm 19, Romans 1, Job and elsewhere that God shows His nature and power in his creation. He expects us to see this and He expects it to change us. A wilderness adventure puts you in the front row.
Community: We really don’t know each other very well! Our communication is rarely face to face, and the face we project is often a false one. The stresses of wilderness life strip away the pretensions and break down the walls. Many youth leaders know that a week-long wilderness trip can create relationships in a youth group that would take years to generate otherwise.
Journey: There are so many biblical metaphors about life being a journey. Wilderness journeys expose us to the same fears, questions and challenges that will confront us as we walk with Christ in our journey of life. There are so many parallels that can be recognized and processed together around the campfire. This is true learning and reflecting on these things brings growth.
Dependence on God: Last week’s junior high boys fishing trip didn’t go as planned. The boys headed out for the week with high hopes and excitement. After five days of storms, heat and “so-so” fishing, they were ready to be done.  Weary and sun-burned, the boys and their trip leaders returned to camp with a bit of frustration. How encouraging then, to see four of those boys make first time decisions to follow Christ on the trips last evening as they reflected on the Bible teaching from the week.  Praise the Lord that His plans are better than ours!
The Jacobsons are doing great, and are pleased to announce that (Lord willing) Charlie and Mason will be getting a sister in October. With thankful hearts, after a good and celebratory finish with the last class in May, we are also eagerly        anticipating a new Trailhead class this fall. Praise the Lord for the past 4 years of the program. Please pray for our 2017 students as they prepare to come for a life-changing year.
We are thankful for all of you.
Dan, Laura, Charlie & Mason

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Once again, the “New Year’s” letter from the Jacobsons makes it out in the early Spring!  I wish I could claim that this was a strategic move to avoid the holiday mail rush, but in reality it just didn’t get done. Next year we will plan a Halloween letter and maybe it will arrive on time.

The Trailhead Program is in its fourth year, and as I reflect on the last year of ministry, I realize that there is little that is brand new. We didn’t welcome a new child this year, or kick off a new ministry initiative but that isn’t to say good things aren’t happening.  I have this old song in my head as I write:


Hello old friends

There’s really nothing new to say.

The old, old story bears repeating

And the same old truth grows dearer every day

Cause I’ve found something worth believing

And that’s a joy that nothing can take away.


Trailhead continues to provide opportunities to help young people understand that our faith is “worth believing.”  In addition to the standard scheduling, teaching and mentoring, I was even able to spend a week at Montana Wilderness School of the Bible in January teaching on the subject of “worldview and apologetics.” Developing and teaching this class was a great journey for me.  My life has been a string of difficult (sometimes scary) questions. It is tremendous to look back and see how many of them have been answered in the person of Christ.  I have no idea if the students were blessed by the class, but I was definitely blessed by the preparations.


So we meet again, after all these many years

Did we sow the seeds we're reaping?
Now that the harvest calls us here
It seems that love blooms out of season
And much joy can blossom from many tears


Laura is learning and growing as she pours out into things at home and camp. She continues to hold everything together in our house (other than the timing of me writing this letter) and Charlie and Mason are healthy young future-men. It isn’t uncommon at the dinner table for our boys to choose their food based on what will “make me strong.”  They are beginning to enjoy each other’s friendship. Both are happy and proud to be learners.  “Why?” is Mason’s favorite question and is his standard response to pretty much any statement. Charlie is learning his letters and will be writing his name soon. Please pray for us as we raise them.  It will take more than   venison and vegetables to produce the strength they will need in their lives.


So old friends you must forget what you had to forgive
And let love be stronger than the feelings
That rage and run beneath the bridge.
Knowing morning follows evening
Makes each new day come as a gift!   Rich Mullins


We are thankful for all of you.

May your Spring bring joy and hope with its reminders of life and growth.

Dan, Laura, Charlie & Mason


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Off & Running in 2016!


Trailhead 2016-17 :

Daniel, Andrew, Sharisse (RA), Garreth, Rebekah, Micah, Moria, Joe, Rafaella, Jake, Cynthia, Pedro, Maddy, Doug (RA)


Another summer has come and gone, and once again the Adventure Program staff did a great job serving our guests well.  From the Flambeau River right here in Northern Wisconsin to the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, God’s creation was explored and his glory proclaimed.  We are grateful to our staff for their many long days of service.  We asked much of them, and they gave their very best. Praise God for the impact His word can have when reflecting together around a campfire under the sky.


Labor Day brought a new class for the nine-month Trailhead Program. We are excited to share a year with these students as they wrestle with some of the biggest questions they will ever have to answer: Who is God? Can I trust the Bible? Can I even understand it? What makes me valuable? How should I decide a career path? What church will I attend when I am on my own? What will I do with my money?


The answers to these questions will dictate nearly everything in life from here forward for these students. That is why we are so excited to begin the work of exploring together the Truth laid out in God’s word.


We begin this week with Dr. Dan Hayden’s course Did God Write the Bible? And from there we will apply the Bible’s answers to each component of life throughout the year. Please pray for hearts ready to receive God’s word and cling to the hope found in Christ.


Charlie and Mason are doing great. They are really at a fun stage—full of chatter and movement and learning. Please pray for God to draw them to himself, and for their relationship to grow into a true friendship.


Laura blesses all parts of my life, secretly and quietly holding things together administratively for my ministry at camp and the family at home. I am grateful to God for her partnership. Pray for rest and stamina, as she tries to keep up with these little boys.


We are grateful for the full and rewarding path God has us walking.


In His life,
Dan, Laura, Charlie & Mason


Trailhead Canoe Trip — Sept 2016


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Forest Springs Adventure Ministries Staff 2016!

This summer we will be growing, teaching, praying, kayaking, climbing, canoeing, packing and preparing food, leading alongside youth pastors, counseling, managing the details of many trips, handling the care of the camp gear and vehicles, caring for hundreds of campers, caring for each other… Thank you for your love, prayers and support!

Dan, Laura, Charlie & Mason  Jacobson—Adv. Min. Director and wife (Full-time Staff)
· Wisdom in parenting and for our boys’ growth (spiritually, physically, socially, etc.)
· For quality time with family amidst a busy season.
Tim, Andra, Ben & Kaylee Petersen— Adv.  Ministries Associate and family (Full-time staff)
· Prayer for managing the many details of ministry and family life.  Grace for each other when we make mistakes or things just don’t go as planned.
· Safety for our groups
· Continual spiritual growth and encouragement
Réanna Baumgarten— Adventure Ministries  Coordinator (Full-time Staff)
· To manage the trip details well.  Building relationships with trip staff and campers– speak God’s truth into their lives.  For own time in God’s word.
Michael S. Nimesheim Jr.—Specialist/ Speaker (Nanzdietschweiler, Germany)
· Pray that I would be focused on using the words that I speak to the kids while on the trip to be God honoring and would be encouraging to everyone to live Godly lives.
Steve Hooper– Trip Leader  (Arvada, Colorado)
· Energy as the Summer continues
· Patience when details don’t work out (I get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan)
· Effectiveness as I surrender to be used for God’s Glory
Moriah Kuehl– Trip Leader (Medina, Minnesota)
· Pray for energy & strength each day so that I can give all that I have in every moment to connect with kids, connect with Jesus, and love people WELL.  Also pray that my heart would be steadfast and one with Jesus no matter the circumstance.
Ciara Scheithauer– Trip Food Packer  (Ogema, Wisconsin/ University of Northwestern, St. Paul Minnesota)
· Continued growth in my relationship with the Lord.  Time management with my job and also my time with the Lord, to make my quiet time a priority.
Doug Henley– Trip Specialist (Willow Grove, Pennsylvania)
· Pray that through relationships with campers that we can share Christ clearly.  Pray for safety in the different activities we do.
Hansine Willoughby– Trip Leader  ( Spokane, Washington/ Moody Bible Institute)
· Pray that I don’t lose the desire to invest in the camp community.
· Pray against loneliness.
· Pray for endurance and reliance on God’s provision in all things.
Jesse Tschanz
· Pray that I would be conformed to the image of Christ.  
· Pray for patience and grace in dealing with campers.
· Pray that I wouldn’t waste the opportunities the Lord gives me this summer.
Cory Schalk,- Trip Leader (Duvall, Washington)
· Pray that  I wouldn’t be distracted by various things going on at home and that my heart would be completely here so that I can minister well and serve  our campers well.  Pray for peace, joy and contentment for me - that would be awesome!