by Carl Diener
I have been pondering the coming “Harvest Reign” Conference that is being hosted by Pastor Charity Gustke and New Heart Ministries, just outside of Syracuse, New York. The reason for my contemplation about this conference has a lot to do with its geographical location as well as its theme. It all has sparked a very critical and passionate memory in me that I would love to share with you.
Twenty years ago, I was working for the Corps of Engineers. For several of the preceding years, my supervisors had been assigning me to do work at Fort Drum, New York.
One summer day while working on a sizable project that the Corps were doing at Fort Drum, an engineering technician colleague and I had finished our work early. So, we decided to jump in the pickup and explore the area a little. My friend was driving and he said, “I want to show you a place I discovered some months ago.”
He drove us to the end of a road that had a large sign saying, “DANGER RESTRICTED AREA UNEXPLODED ORDINANCE OFF LIMITS TO ALL PERSONNEL”.
My fellow engineering technician got out of the truck, stepped under the gate with that big sign on it and proceeded to walk down the remains of an old dirt road.
I asked him what he thought was doing. He replied, “Its safe. I have gone this way before.”
So, I followed at a distance – trying to be very careful to step in his footsteps… Um… for very obvious reasons.
This Vast area of land, in upstate New York, known as Fort Drum, was once called “Pine Camp.” It had been a small army training camp from the end of the War of 1812.
However, in the early nineteenth century it began to be expanded and by 1941 the end result was 75,000 acres of land had been purchased, in total.
Over time, 525 local families were displaced. Five entire villages were eliminated, while others were reduced from one-third to one-half their size. Three thousand buildings, including 24 schools, 6 churches and a post office were totally abandoned.
Very little remains of any of the buildings. In fact, all that now remains are old cellar holes, cemeteries and the overgrown roadways. Probably ninety percent of the land is unused except for occasional army field training of troops and equipment. The area we had just entered had targeting ranges for mortar fire and bombing runs.
On this day, we must have walked for about a half-mile down the old unused road, overgrown with huge maple oak and beach trees. Suddenly, the road opened into a small meadow on the banks of the beautiful Indian River. There, still intact, was an old stone arched bridge and the remains of a stone sawmill dam.
The scene was so beautiful it would have made a perfect summer calendar photo. If only I had possessed a camera! It was surely one of those “Kodak moments.”
The river rushed pure and clean under the old stone bridge and around the remains of the mill works dam. I couldn’t help think about how good the trout fishing might be here. I doubt a single human being had stood on this spot for 70 years. It was one of those “Divine moments” I will never forget.
Despite the restricted area sign we had just violated by walking down this road, I knew I was supposed to be here and see this remarkable place. I could feel God’s presence and He was truly, real and tangible.
“Well now, that sounds beautiful, Carl,” you might say, and, “However, can you get to the point I am a busy man.”
Ok, well, I am getting to it but my heart just likes to hang out there in that happy place that this memory provides me.
Please allow me to share just a little more of the history of the place and the feeling I have about it and I believe you’ll get the picture of what I’m trying to describe to you.
One of the villages that no longer exists on this land was called LeRay Town. It was one of the towns where Charles Finney preached. In fact, a schoolhouse in LeRay Town was one of the first places where he actually preached at the start of the great revival when the power of God fell so mightily. The still existing town of Evens Mills, which is north of Fort Drum, was one of the famous places where the revival broke out and is written of in the history books that you perhaps have read.
This whole land area of the Fort Drum Reserve is like a time capsule. It has laid at rest for all these years. After all these years, since I was there at that beautiful place, I now believe the feeling that I had on that land was the residual of the “Spirit of Revival.”
The US Army had its reasons for taking over this vast area of New York State. I think God had his reasons as well. It is none other than the “Finger of God.” A memorial to what took place there over 150 years ago where the land burned with a supernatural visitation of the Holy Spirit. A revival where an entire population was saved and stayed saved. I believe the place was taken over, villages emptied, so that this land would not be defiled by future generations who did not know God. No nightclubs would be built here, no bars. The land has remained as it is.
I tell you, God remembers and He wants upstate New York back in His own grasp. I believe that He intends on taking it
all back. We are now in the vanguard of a move of God that will take this land for the Glory of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
I will keep praying. My hope is that you will also. I am especially excited about what will happen even now in this month of October 2011.
Though the numbers of us may be few, yet, the miracles are so real; giving sign that there is a lever so long it reaches from ages past. Use the lever and you can move mountains from the path ahead. Things are going to change. God is on the move again. He will have upstate New York for His very own possession. A true Harvest Reign of our King Jesus Christ!
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