I’d just finished having my quiet time this morning and was about to blog a short reflection when I received the news that a dear friend, a woman I’ve known for 31 years, moved to heaven last evening. Writing about her today seems an appropriate way to honor this woman who influenced my life over the past three decades.
Margaret Bayne leaves an amazing legacy. She and her husband, Alf, founded Pacific Coast Children’s Mission, more commonly known as Camp Homewood. This was no easy task, but God called and He equipped, and Margaret met the challenge head-on.
Alf was a boat-lover when he met his future bride, a land-lubber living on the Saskatchewan prairies. He’d already answered God’s call to minister to children and families living on British Columbia’s coastline. When he asked Margaret to join him, she said yes.
The Bayne’s first home was a little wooden boat they dubbed the Goforth. For several years they chugged up and down the coast rain or shine, sharing the Gospel with families inaccessible by road—loggers and lighthouse keepers mostly. Then the Lord provided property on Gowlland Harbour (Quadra Island), and Camp Homewood was born.
I met Margaret in 1981 when I volunteered at Camp Homewood as a 23-year-old. She walked about the property with determination in her stride. Her blue eyes sparkled, and she spoke frequently and passionately about Jesus and the need to hide God’s word in our hearts.
Margaret’s passion for Jesus never waned. I saw it displayed consistently during the years our family lived at Camp Homewood (1996-2007) and it spurred me to pursue God as fervently as she did. I also admired Margaret’s intentionality in caring for people.
Family camps happened three times each summer and once between Christmas and New Year’s. Margaret embraced those weeks as opportunities to encourage women guests by hosting tea parties at her home. In the summer, she held them under a tree canopy in her yard.
Unforgettable, those tea parties were. Margaret spread the table with favorite china teacups. She asked questions about the women and their lives, and she simply loved them. She also loved the college-age women who interned at the camp, encouraging them to whole-hearted commitment to Jesus. And she loved me and my family. On the August day we loaded our moving van in 2007, for instance, this 90-something wee dynamo cooked a huge pot of soup and delivered it to our door so I wouldn’t have to prepare a meal for those who were helping us pack.
Married about 65 years, Margaret and Alf never had biological children but their spiritual family number in the thousands. I marvel at how God blessed the obedience of this woman who said yes to God’s call on her life despite it being far beyond her comfort zone, and how her obedience impacted men, women, and children for eternity. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.
Margaret will be greatly missed by Alf and by all who knew her. Our loss; heaven’s gain.