Posts Categorized: General

The Transformed Lives of Three Marine Wives

Posted by & filed under General, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

Military Camperships have become one of the most heartfelt parts of our campership program. Giving the gift of a week at family camp for a military family is a joy we can’t measure. Families arrive in a variety of shapes and sizes usually excited, having different needs and hopes of their week at camp. This summer we had a unique, first-time “family” arrive.

Three young Marine wives whose husbands are all deployed heard about the campership opportunity at church then called to see if the three of them might come as a “family” to Family Camp. We were thrilled to extend the invitation!

Haley, Jaclyn, and Laura had no idea what family camp would look like for them or how Mount Hermon would transform their lives, but God certainly did.

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JACLYN
“Our experience at Mount Hermon was truly incredible. As military spouses with deployed husbands, we weren’t sure what the week would hold, but through the sessions, encouragement, and support of both staff and other campers, the week really did strengthen our family, even though they couldn’t be physically present. As unconventional as it may have been for us, it was family camp in the truest sense. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had, everything we learned, and the lifelong friends we made. I can’t imagine life without Mount Hermon!”


LAURA
“I was so blessed to be able to come to family camp on a military campership. Something that many people don’t know about military life is that the homecoming joy and excitement is often a short-lived calm before an ugly storm season. There are living arrangements, family dynamics, financial situations, and life experiences that have all been flipped upside down, then adapted to, and must now be flipped back over.

The week before family camp, I was considering backing out to try and make sense of it all and begin batting down the hatches. My week at Mount Hermon was a life changer—more a heart/soul changer that has allowed me to live a changed life. I can now see life from God’s perspective. I am able to find true God intended joy in the chaos.

I am able to breathe peacefully in hope for the future rather than fear. I really hope I someday get a chance to thank the person who made it possible.”


HALEY

“The main impression God left on me during my stay at Mount Hermon was how significantly God wants us to experience joy and to delight in His creation of the earth daily. No matter how long a military spouse has to endure their significant other’s absence, whether that be a weekend training, month-long field exercise, or 6 to 12-month deployment, they are more than likely going to feel a separation that is deeper than they want to acknowledge. The spouse can have all the goals and aspirations that she wants to strive for while her man is away in order to mask the loneliness, but it ends up being impossible to ignore.

Every family and staff member that Laura, Jacyln, and I met not only made all three of us feel at home again by filling that hole our husbands have left, but they honestly expressed the love of God and the compassion of Christ in a way I have not been blessed by in a long time. Mount Hermon reminded me how God wants us to live in right relationship with Him, His children, and the world. He has renewed my sense of purpose and spirit using the compassionate staff at Mount Hermon and the beautiful land they take care of. It was a true joy to be reminded of the life God wants us to live again and be able to have some fun at camp!”


Three women who were touched and transformed by a beautiful God ordained place, by loving Christ filled people, and by the mighty power of the Trinity.

For those of you who have had a part in sending a military “family” to Mount Hermon, thank you! Laura, Jaclyn, and Haley are just one example of many lives that have been changed because of you generously gave to send them to camp.

Jeremy Bentley: Our new VP of Programs!

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Staff News.

It is my joy to introduce Jeremy Bentley, our new VP of Programs. Jeremy is no stranger to Mount Hermon. He attended Mount Hermon as a camper, served as the Associate Director of Adult Ministries, and is married to Sara Williams, the daughter of Roger and Rachel Williams (Roger served as our President/CEO from 1993-2014).

Jeremy came to know Jesus as a young boy, and at the age of 16 felt a call from God to the ministry. In the summer of 1997 he became a counselor at Redwood Camp where prayer and the Scriptures became truly important to him.

mark-bentley-family Jeremy is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served in key staff roles in various ministries, including as Director of Live Events for the Don Moen Company, Assistant Director of Promotions with Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas Child, and Generations Pastor at Mission Hills Church.

Jeremy is an experienced leader, team-oriented, a strategic thinker, learner, listener, and highly relational. He believes that he has been called by the Lord to create settings, environments, and opportunities for people to encounter God.

“Mount Hermon has always been one of the most special places in the world to me and my family. From growing up coming as a camper, working on summer staff, meeting my spouse here and even getting married in the auditorium, many of our family’s most significant events have revolved around Mount Hermon.  And now, having the opportunity to come back and invest in a ministry I deeply believe in, as well as to raise my family here, it truly is a dream come true! Our prayer is that the Lord would use our family at Mount Hermon to continue to see “Lives Transformed” for many years to come.”  

Please join us in welcoming Jeremy back to Mount Hermon!

A Dream Comes to Fruition: Redwood Pavilion

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Building Projects, General, Stories of Ministry.

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On July 30th, over 300 Redwood campers from past and present, staff, friends, and family all gathered under the Samuelson Pavilion to dedicate it to God’s glory and service. The Samuelson Pavilion has been a project of dreams for years, and this last summer came to fruition.

Dick Dosker, former Redwood Camp Director (1956-1989) captured the significance of the Pavilion during the dedication by saying, “Thank you all for the service in which you have given to this particular place of real estate which is hallowed ground. This new piece of equipment will help us move into the future of year-round ministry.

“I love having the pavilion,” said current Redwood Camper D.J. Renwick. “When it’s foggy, or it’s raining or really sunny, we can play under here and it’s really nice.”

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The Samuelson Pavilion sits nestled on the end of the meadow where redwoods provide the backdrop, the sound of the Ferndale Falls heard, the cabins seen, and relief from sun and rain felt. It provides a space for basketball, foosball, dodgeball and more. It also provides a great place to gather and meet with an open air feel.

In many ways—Play is the gateway to a child’s heart,” said current Redwood Camp Director, Chafer Cox. “We close the week with our Luminaria. Campers spread out all over the field and under the pavilion, and this is where many kids accept Christ for the first time and discover God’s unconditional love for them as they look back over the week and make some incredible decisions and take part in life-changing conversations. Last night, one cabin of seven girls all accepted Christ right here under the pavilion.”

We are so grateful for the Samuelson family and for the hundreds of others who helped make this project possible!
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Mount Hermon Annual Fund & The Difference

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Giving, Kindling.

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Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.
C.S. Lewis.

No truer words than these describe Mount Hermon and the impact Mount Hermon Associates have had over the last twenty-plus years.

God has grown Mount Hermon’s reach in amazing ways. When I arrived in 1998, we ministered to less than 50,000 people per year; today it exceeds 70,000.  Our year-round staff of 123 in 1998 has grown to 295 today.  In 1995 we launched our Outdoor Science School, which now ministers to over 4,000 children each year, and includes a strategic ministry partnership in mainland China.  In 2003 and 2004 the Lord gave us Whisper Canyon and Kidder Creek Camps.

In 2006 our McAfee Fieldhouse opened, which changed everything in terms of year-round ministry options.  In a similar way, our reach and program options grew exponentially in 2008 when the Redwood Canopy Tour and Sequoia Adventure Course opened.  We had sixty cabins in 1996 and today the Lord has blessed us with eighty cabins.

In 2012 we purchased the Felton Meadow.  As we wait on God’s timing regarding the development of this new property, we’re creating unique new programs for this zone that will minister to tens of thousands more in the years to come!

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In 1998 our young Associates program had 98 members.  Today (as of 2015) Mount Hermon Associates number over 900—PTL!  Our Associates are not only part of our culture they’re woven into the fabric of our lives.  God has blessed this ministry in unimaginable ways and we can’t imagine life without you, our faithful, loving and supportive Associates—THANK YOU!

Yet, through it all, the Associates program has remained the same while everything else dramatically changed: staff growth, facility growth, program growth and the constantly increasing expenses to operate this ministry with excellence.  Twenty years ago, a dozen eggs could be purchased for around a dollar; today it’s not unusual to pay four.  Today a gallon of milk pushes five dollars, while twenty years ago it cost around three.  This one really impacts us:  the minimum wage was four dollars and change twenty years ago; today its ten dollars per hour, and soon it will increase to fifteen, which will have enormous financial impact.

So after much prayer and processing, along with input from many of you encouraging us to reconsider the financial threshold for Associates, we are announcing an update.  With the approval or our Board of Directors, the financial threshold for NEW Associates will now be $1,000 per year.  We want to provide plenty of lead time, so this change will not take effect until January 2017.

Praise The Lord that today over half of our Associates are already giving $1,000 or more each year.  We’re also aware that many others give quite sacrificially to reach the $500 level.  Please know that we are deeply grateful for every dollar given!  Nothing is changing for you unless you want it to.  Only NEW Associates will be tied to the $1,000/year giving threshold. Associates as of December 31, 2016 will remain at the current $500 per year.

Each and every Associate is a blessing!  We literally could not operate Mount Hermon without you—Thank You!  As we all move towards the future reaching even more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, we want you to be crystal clear regarding this change.  Please don’t hesitate to contact Kerry Phibbs or me if you have any questions.

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

Posted by & filed under General, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

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As life-long Christians, we knew the answer to the ultimate eternal question: “What happens after death?” But we didn’t know about the temporal, financial, and family trauma questions when it came to our adult daughter with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening and rare genetic disease of the lungs and digestive systems.

Shannon had been in and out of hospitals for years, usually for 30 days at a time, and although treatments were successful, we knew sudden death was possible. At 36 years of age, she was on a list for a lung transplant. We were in Southern California when friends called who had arranged a MediVac flight for Shannon’s transport again to Stanford University Hospital. This time, however, we had 36 hours’ notice that her conditions appeared irreversible.

A friend asked if Shannon had a will, and knowing of none, we had a power of attorney prepared, but too late. Shannon was unable to sign the document, and she died without a valid will or power of attorney.

After the funeral, we discovered that with no co-signers, her bank accounts were frozen, and she had nobody involved with her financial savings or other assets. Armed with a sufficient number of death certificates, and with a significant amount of worry and effort, we finally were able to close the estate and have the assets transferred to us.

Learning of Shannon’s lack of preparation was a painful lesson for us, as well. We should have been prepared with safeguards for our own estate. It led us to establish our own trust document that identifies our assets, names the trustees and successor trustees, designates the distribution of assets upon death, and provides for updating as time and life changes occur. This has given us a great peace of mind that upon our decease, our estate will go where we want it to go, rather than leaving it to the hands of a lengthy state probate system.

This is valuable to us as senior citizens, but we are concerned for the younger generation coming along, who need to protect issues of what would happen to their children, should they be suddenly orphaned, as well as the distribution of financial assets. It’s alarming that over 55% of Americans do not have a proper will or trust agreement. They are relatively easy to set up, and they assure that your wishes will be followed. We heartily recommend it as an obvious exercise of Christian stewardship.
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We’re grateful Mount Hermon has encouraged proper planning, and can refer anyone to a qualified attorney who can help with the process.

Shannon has now been gone for 20 years. The hard lessons learned from her untimely death have been God’s gracious gift to us.

Paul and Jo Ann Phibbs are long-time friends and supporters of Mount Hermon. They live in Oklahoma, and are also the parents of Kerry Phibbs, Mount Hermon’s Associate Director of Advancement.

The Claussens—Volunteering is a Family Affair

Posted by & filed under General, Kindling, Stories of Ministry, Volunteer.

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Volunteers—what would we do without them? At Mount Hermon our volunteers make an extraordinary difference in the day-to-day, season-to-season rhythm of life here. The gift from a financial viewpoint is beyond measure. Their service creates not only financial blessing, but the manpower needed to complete so many jobs at Mount Hermon.

One of the unexpected benefits of serving is when the servers experience abundant blessing in return—that is priceless. They know they are making a difference, but most importantly they are modeling the qualities of Jesus—our Savior.Such is the case with the Claussen family. Mark and Angel, along with four of their kids, Katie (17), Ruthie (14), John (11), Lorelei (7)

I asked Angel to share some of their story with me.

What started the Mount Hermon story for the Claussen family?

When Mark was 12 years old he came to Redwood Camp at Mount Hermon for the first time. He had attended another camp the previous year which had not been a good experience. His mother convinced him that he only had to go to Redwood Camp one time, and if he did not like it, he never had to go to another Christian camp again. Well, his counselor was Ken Harrower, and Mark can tell you something from every day that week. He loved it!

Now our kids have grown up attending Mount Hermon Family camps. We look forward to it all year long.

So what took you to Kidder Creek?

Our oldest son Markey, went to Kidder Creek horse camp in 1990. Katie and Ruthie started going in 2009 and they all loved it! When we came to see the “Showdeo,” we met a family that was volunteering at Kidder and so the idea began to grow.

In 2014, Mark retired and we all could spend a large part of the summer together at Kidder Creek, serving as a family.

What do you do when you are at camp?

We help wherever we are needed, mostly with the horse camp. Maintenance, repairs, cleaning, kitchen help, rounding up horses, helping the wranglers, helping Amy with the horses, and trail rides, teaching horse science when needed, making kids feel welcome, lifeguarding—a little bit of everything.

Often we help the kids from Camp Hope (a camp for children who come from domestic violence). Even Lorelei, our youngest, was able to just be with them and help them feel safe and loved.

What’s been the impact on your family?

We love the relationships we have formed with the year-round and summer staffs. What a blessing for us!

We came to Kidder Creek to help, support, and bless the campers and staff, but in reality we are the ones that have been blessed by the wonderful people we have met and served.

Kidder Creek is a place to meet Jesus and where He shows what He is capable of….

We asked the kids what they like most about Kidder Creek and they said, “But Mom, it is our second home! God is sooo present there and we love all the people!”

The Claussens are a special part of our Mount Hermon Volunteer Partners, along with many others. If you’d like to share the gift of service, please contact Don Broesamle at don.broesamle@mounthermon.org.

Reporting Back Dishwasher Appeal

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Giving, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

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If you’ve ever eaten in the dining hall, you know it is a special place at Mount Hermon. Not only a place where we enjoy delicious meals, but also rich conversation, experience heart felt laughter, create wonderful memories and just share life.

At Mount Hermon we take the act of service and guest care seriously, so we thank you for being part of a very important mission—replacing a well-used, well-worn dishwasher!

Last spring many of you watched a video in which JR implored you, “Please help us, help Mike not have to wash dishes.” Well, we asked and you responded—in fact, over 200 generous friends stepped up to make this very significant project a reality.

dishwasher-guy-1200x800The response to helping us meet our goal for the dishwasher was remarkable. Truthfully, we were just amazed at how many of you responded with such generosity. As a result of the abundant provision given, we are well on our way to meeting the goal of the $189,000 needed to complete the entire project.

We trust the Lord’s provision for the remaining funds so we can begin the project early this fall. If all goes well, we will have the entire project completed prior to the holidays.

So remember, each time you eat off of a clean plate, drink out of a sparkling glass or stir your beverage with a shiny spoon, you’ll know you had a hand in making that happen!

Thanks a million, or at least $189,000!

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Doc: The Man on Fire

Posted by & filed under Alumni, General, Kindling, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

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If you have attended Family Camp in the last two years, you no doubt remember being thrilled (and a little nervous) at the sight of a Day Camp counselor breathing fire during the Sunday opener. Well, meet Andrew “Doc” Lee: counselor extraordinaire, fire-breather, and campfire illusionist!

Like so many of our Summer Staff, Doc began attending Mount Hermon as a child, a second-grader, with his family. Since 2002 he hasn’t missed a summer, and now he is on Summer Staff for the third year in a row! Since his first time at camp, Doc knew his primary goal in life: become a Day Camp Counselor! Throughout his teen years he volunteered at church and in the community, working with kids and gaining valuable experience that would prepare him to one-day work at Day Camp.

As is not uncommon for our Summer Staff, Mount Hermon has been an integral part of Doc’s spiritual journey. Attending camp as a kid and as a teen had a huge impact on him in his formative years. Even now as a Summer Staff, he is both aware of and excited about how God continues to work in him and through him at camp. Doc studies psychology at Biloa University, and each year looks forward to finishing school and returning to camp!

We are so grateful for Doc and his years of service at Mount Hermon. Summer Staff make camp happen!

Are you one of our Staff Alumni who have served on Summer Staff? Let us know! Contact Andrew at andrew.summers@mounthermon.org

 

Transforming Summer Staff

Posted by & filed under General, Kidder Creek, Stories of Ministry.

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This summer, Kidder Creek will hire nearly sixty young adults to live and serve at the camp all summer long.

For the staff, the summer is just as transformational as it is for the campers.

God uses their relationships, hard work, dedication and perseverance to deepen their faith and help them grow closer to Jesus. If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you’ve likely come away from your time of service feeling like you were the beneficiary. The same is true of summer staff at camp. All summer long, our dedicated staff continue to give their best even when they are worn out and God is faithful to use each moment to  transform lives in powerful ways as only He can do.

Serving on summer staff is a thrilling experience and one that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Kidder Creek is still looking to hire a handful of remaining positions for the 2016 summer.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the life transformational work of summer camp, please invite them to visit whyiworkatcamp.com. The power of camp is available to camper and staff alike.

Come join us this summer!    

We Planned For the Future, But…

Posted by & filed under General, Giving, LOG, Stories of Ministry.

LisaOlsonFamily1000In The LOG we always like good Redwood Society stories – about people so touched by God at Mount Hermon that they’ve chosen to extend their legacy here with an estate gift. It is humbling to discover how some bequests arrive at an “appointed” time and in the exact amount needed for a crucial ministry opportunity. God delights in making this happen.

My own journey with my will and estate offers a word of warning. My husband, Mark, and I created a simple will when our first daughter was born. (Young parents, be sure you do that! Select a guardian yourself, not a court-assigned judge.) We also purchased ‘income replacement’ life insurance policies, with face values of ten times our salaries. By investing the proceeds at current interest rates the survivor could replace the income of the one who’d died. We were advised that would sufficiently sustain our lifestyle.

Then as many young couples do, we filed it, and never thought about it again … until. Twelve years later Mark was diagnosed with acute leukemia that took his life after a fierce nine-month battle. When serious illness is diagnosed, it is too late to revise your plan; you have to live – and sometimes die – with it.

Mark and I were both sobered to realize that, now as a ministry leader, his income had more than doubled in those twelve years. Also, we’d underestimated our income when we purchased our life insurance, as more than a third of our compensation was in tax-free housing, utilities and perks. Our premiums were low, but so would be the proceeds.

Plus, our family had grown! We now had four children, ages 6, 8, 10 and 12, one with autism, one with epilepsy. I worked part-time to help with speech therapy and medical expenses, and was consumed with being a mom.

There was nothing we could change, so we focused on fighting the cancer. It weighed heavily on Mark that I would immediately need to work full-time, since our meager life insurance proceeds would not begin to cover his income portion.

And that’s what I did. Within two weeks of Mark’s home-going I was working full-time so we could keep our medical benefits, and I cut our budget to fit within my salary alone. God has faithfully enabled me to provide for my kids, and the insurance was enough for a down payment on a house. In that way, Mark was able to provide that first home for us, for which I have been extremely grateful.

Even with few assets, our will still had a charitable clause: if our entire family suffered a catastrophic event, our estate would pass a substantial portion to our ministry as secondary beneficiaries of our life insurance policies. That would have represented a significant gift, marking our legacy there for generations to come.

Though we had an ‘estate plan’ – a will and life insurance – we did not review it annually as our family grew and needs changed. If you are without an estate plan that covers current needs, please address that today. Many free online tools can help you prepare a simple plan. Then revisit it annually! And don’t forget to include Mount Hermon in your will or as a beneficiary to an insurance policy, HSA or retirement plan, leaving a legacy for those who will follow you here in the redwoods.