A Lasting, Global Impact

Posted by & filed under General, Guest Groups, Stories of Ministry.

The relationships that build between organizations and Mount Hermon go beyond their event at Mount Hermon. The partnerships that develop are deep and extend over years.

Chinese Families for Christ has been coming for the last nine years bringing over 600 people each time. Their goal is to invite non-Christians to a camp that focuses on marriages and family relationships within the context of what it means to love how Jesus loves.

For the last ten years, California State Youth Conference brings over 450 African American youth from all over the state of California to train to be leaders within their churches.

The Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS) has held their family camp at Mount Hermon for the last 68 years.

Shiloh Baptist Church from Sacramento has been holding their women’s retreat at Mount Hermon for the last 45 years.

Groups of all kinds come to Mount Hermon and then go back into their communities, their cities, and even their countries refreshed, renewed and restored. Over the last several years, Mount Hermon has been partnering with the division leadership of World Vision. World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization who is assisting over 70 million people each year in its quest to end poverty, fight hunger, and transform lives.  Tracy Steuve shared at an Associates In Ministry event this year about the impact Mount Hermon has globally.

“What better place to focus on your spiritual life than in this beautiful venue? Just look at those trees, they’re hundreds of years old. Some of my people come here, and they’re broken because they work in really difficult places. They work in places like Congo, and Sudan, and Somalia, and Indonesia where they suffered from the tsunami years ago. They work in very challenging environments, and they come broken, but they come here and then walk away restored. That is really important and special to me.

“I was recently in South Africa, and one of the women told me, ‘I remember Mount Hermon, when can I go back? My soul was filled in that place! When are we going to have some of our other programs there?’

“I want to encourage you that what you are supporting here is touching the lives of people who come here as guest groups; they are part of a global outreach you have. You might not even know the fact that we have people from India, Mongolia, Latin America, the U.S., Kenya, Sudan, and Myanmar. These people come here, and they take Mount Hermon in their hearts. They remember not just the training they received, but the essence of this place and the fact that God is moving here. So I thank you for that. You’re supporting something that touches lives around the world in ways that I can’t fully explain.”


Using Summer to Serve

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

Lives Transformed is not just limited to guests and campers who come to these sacred grounds. Staff, particularly summer staff, experience ten weeks of their lives being transformed from biblical teaching, serving long and selfless hours and being in a community unlike any other. We’ve heard countless stories that serving at Mount Hermon for a summer helps set faith journeys in stone and sets a life-long trajectory of relentlessly pursuing Jesus.

Is it a sacrifice to give ten weeks of a coveted college summer? You bet. Worth it? Victoria Whitcomb, a counselor at Ponderosa Lodge this summer thought so.

Victoria was a familiar face to the staff at Ponderosa Lodge. As a long time camper and Super Senior, she was in love with camp and had a deep desire to one day work at Mount Hermon.

As a student at Southern Methodist University in Texas, she knew that taking a summer to serve at Mount Hermon would require a financial sacrifice. However, that did not deter her from making a childhood dream come true.

“Last summer God was calling me to serve at the place that had been so influential for my faith. Responding to that call required some planning, but I am so glad God provided a way for me to counsel at Ponderosa.”

In the summer of 2016, Victoria took a corporate job for one purpose: make enough money to cover her financial responsibilities so that she could serve in the summer of 2017 at Mount Hermon.

 

“This summer I walked away with a more tangible experience of what it’s like to serve. As a counselor, you are constantly serving. Reliance on God is essential, and when you realize that He is the one doing all the work, it is so freeing. Using my summer to serve and lead campers one step closer to Jesus made this past summer the best summer of my life!”

This summer had been a long-time coming for her; that she had been preparing and anticipating serving in this place one day, and took steps far in advance to be available for it.

So Victoria, was it all worth it? “Absolutely. It was an unforgettable experience that I will truly cherish forever.”

Summer Staff 2018 Positions


dining hall

Attendee Learns from Informal Conversations

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

“I sensed that God was telling me to write a book. I thought it was a crazy idea. I didn’t have anything to say, or so I thought. In retrospect, I realized that I wrote the book before I knew anything about the craft of writing. I wondered why God didn’t tell me to learn how to write before he told me to write a book. Surely that would have been more logical,” Susan Barnes, 2017 conference attendee, says about her work in progress.

She continues, “However, one day when I was rewriting, I realized that if I was to write that book now, I wouldn’t have been able to write some things, with the same intensity as I felt back then because God has brought so much healing into my life.”

Susan flew from Australia to attend the conference. When asked if this was her first trip to the United States, she said that in 1994 she and her husband visited friends, who had accepted a call to a church in Texas. Then in 2010, they attended the Doing Church as a Team Conference in Hawaii.

“For the last six years, there has been a Christian Writers’ Conference. For several years I was the coordinator. It’s run by Omega Writers and is a two-day conference held annually in October. There were about 100 delegates at this year’s conference. So, as you can gather, it isn’t a big conference and doesn’t have the depth and breadth of information that is available at a U.S. conference.”

In addition to those two trips, Susan attended the Glorietta Christian Writers’ Conference in New Mexico. “Australia is a big country with a small population (24 million). We only have eight major cities and some of those aren’t very major when you compare them to U.S. cities. Therefore, we cannot support a large publishing industry. Plus, Australia doesn’t have a strong Christian heritage. Rarely can you buy a Christian book anywhere apart from a Christian bookshop or online.

It was at Glorietta that Susan heard about the Mount Hermon Writers Conference. “It stayed in my mind because people kept telling me Mount Hermon was the best Christian Writers’ Conference in the US. It struck me as odd, why were they here if Mount Hermon was better?

“However, it planted the seed in my mind that I wanted to come. I had to wait eleven years. I had the opportunity this year when I unexpectedly inherited some money.”

Susan’s goal in coming to Mount Hermon was to find a publisher for her book. She has been writing devotions for twenty-five years. She tells us that she’s always enjoyed writing but didn’t have good grades for her essays in school. In 1988, her husband, Ross, was diagnosed with cancer and she needed a distraction. She began to take writing seriously and completed a couple of writing courses at the local community center.

A few years later, after his recovery, Ross went into pastoral ministry. One of the job requirements at their first church was to write a devotion for the church’s weekly newsletter. Ross told the leadership Susan was a better writer; he gave the job to her. She’s been writing devotions ever since.

“After some time, I sensed that God was telling me to write a book. As I said earlier, I thought it was a crazy idea. I didn’t have anything to say, or so I thought. I became aware that God wanted me to turn my devotions into a book, but not as a compilation,” Susan says.

She goes on, “I tend to write about particular themes in my devotions, such as God’s grace and his love. I felt God wanted me to write about these themes, using the ideas from my devotions. I wasn’t that excited.

“I told God, it was a crazy idea and how would I ever get it published anyway? Nevertheless, the idea wouldn’t go away. I wasn’t employed at the time and since I didn’t have much else to do, I wrote a book.”

Even though Susan has been to the United States before, she did have one fear about coming again. She tells, “One of my big fears about traveling to the conference was that I get lost easily. I tend to confuse my left and right. I’m the sort of person who can get lost in a shopping complex. For this reason, I planned to fly direct to the conference and back. However, my family persuaded me if I was going that far I should spend a few days sightseeing. So I flew to San Francisco five days prior to the conference.

“I managed to navigate my way around San Francisco fairly well until one day I caught the cable car to Lombard Street. Afterwards, my intention was to make my way back to the main shopping area. However, first I had to decide which direction I needed to go and then which side of the street to stand on to catch the cable car. In Australia, we drive on the left-hand side of the road. I crossed the intersection three times and ended up almost back where I started before I was confident I was in the right place!”

When asked about the highlight of her trip, Susan says, “The highlight of the conference and the trip was the opportunity to talk to publishers and editors informally over meals and at workshops. From these discussions, I learned a lot about what I need to do to get my work published.”

Get to know Susan at her website https://www.susanbarneswriter.com/

Do you want to have the opportunity to talk to publishers and editors informally over meals and around the conference grounds? Come to Mount Hermon Writers Conference. Register here.

And, don’t forget about the First-Timers Contest. Ten winners will receive a full scholarship. Deadline December 30, 2017.


Kidder Creek Year End Update

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

Kidder Creek programs are some of the most diverse programs in the camping world.

Campers have the opportunity to ride horseback in the wilderness, go whitewater rafting, climb the side of a mountain, and even go mountain biking! This year, we saw solid growth in the number of campers and guest groups at Kidder Creek. Being in the midst of God’s beautiful creation sets the stage for powerful conversations about how the same God that created all of this majesty took, even more, care and concern in creating each person.

387 Camp Hope Campers | 37 Kidder Creek Programmed Events530 Guest Group Campers2,193 Campers198 Campers Made a Faith Commitment

“Natasha got a lot more clarity on the gospel and what it means to be a Christian (even though she is in a church youth group.) When I got her from the bus, she was so excited! She had made so many friends and had such a good time. It truly does begin to reflect the body of Christ where there are no divisions of race and class. For someone with her background and home situation, camp is a confidence builder for her. It gives her experiences she would otherwise never have.”

1,240 Fall Festival Attendees | $5,043 Camperships Raised

“I had so, so, so much fun and got to try things I’ve never done before.  Every person I met at camp has made an impact on my thoughts, my personal life, my relationship with Jesus, and also the person I want to be. It’s definitely the best camp experience I have had so far and I’m going to miss the people just as much as the place.”

Learn More About Kidder Creek’s Year


Something New at the Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has been a premiere conference for years. One of the reasons is the organizers constantly look for ways to meet the needs of the attendees. The 2018 conference is no different. The upcoming conference will introduce new Major Morning Tracks courses to help all writers.

Major Morning Tracks provide instructions and an opportunity to apply what is learned during the morning sessions. There’s an added bonus of working with an instructor and a published mentor. Here’s what’s new.

Career Growth Course

Whether you want to begin a career as a writer, blogger, editor, writing coach, or consultant, or take the next step toward that goal, you need to create a business strategy. This track is for you. Lead by Susy Flory and Laura Christianson.

Professional Writers Retreat Course

This session is designed for multi-published authors who understand the field of book publishing and realize the value of continued learning, encouragement, spiritual refreshment, and connecting with other professional writers. Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young lead this track. (See this page for criteria.)

Weekend Teen Course

Scheduled to run from Friday evening through Sunday, this track is for teens who are starting out or have been at it a while. The sessions will cover fiction basics like point of view, showing vs. telling, and plot structure. There will be brainstorming sessions to create plots, characters, and story worlds. This track is led by Jill Williamson, Shannon Dittemore, and Paul Regnier.

Of course, non-fiction, fiction, the spiritual life of a writer, editing, and memoir courses will be back.

In addition to the Major Morning Tracks, attendees can also choose Morning Mentoring Clinics or use the morning hours for a personal writing retreat.

Register today for the Mount Hermon Writers Conference.

The First-timers Contest is still open.


First-Timers Contest Open

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Susan K. Stewart

I pulled my suitcase from the carousel, turned, and looked for the sign to direct me to the shuttle. I may have looked like any other traveler. Or maybe I didn’t. I’m sure what I felt inside showed on my face. “I’m almost there!” A forty-five-minute drive is all that was left.

As others chatted in the van, I watched as the city started to give way to the lush hills. Soon the van left the freeway to start a curvy two-lane road up the California coastal mountains. Trees became the predominant scenery. I began to recognize landmarks along the way. As the van topped the summit, I was awed to see the restaurant we used to stop at when I was a child traveling the same route to Santa Cruz.

Finally, the turn to the conference center. Not far now. I made it. I finally made it.

Attending writers’ conferences is an annual event, sometimes twice a year, a local conference and a regional one. But THE conference for me was always Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. I stepped off the van, looked around. I’m here! My brain shouted.

Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference had long been a dream. Let’s face it, though. It is a pricey conference. I knew when God’s time was right, he would provide what was needed for me to attend. And he did. (Why are we often surprised when God does great things for us?)

If like me, you have prayed for the opportunity to attend this premiere conference, then the Mount Hermon First-Timers Contest may be it.

Ten winners will receive a full scholarship, including economy lodging and meals. The contest is open to unpublished and published writers who have never attended. There is no fee to enter. The deadline is December 30, 2017.

The entry can be an article, blog post, fiction or non-fiction book manuscript, or poetry. The piece does not need to be overtly Christian but must have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Complete entry submission details are at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference website, click here.

God wants to do great things for us. For many writers, a major conference, such as Mount Hermon may be that great thing. Prayerful consider entering the First-Timers Contest and you too can enjoy the excitement of that trip up the mountain.

Susan StewartWhen she’s not tending chickens, peacocks, and donkeys, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? plus the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.


Christy Awards Gala Upcoming

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Upon hearing the news that her short novel Restoring Christmas is a 2017 Christy award finalist, Cynthia Ruchti raised her face to the sky, clasped her hands to her heart, and said, “I can explain hard work. I can explain that God gives the gift of storytelling. But I cannot…ever…explain the outrageous favor of God.”

Restoring Christmas is Cynthia’s second Christy finalist. Last year her novel As Waters Gone By was also a finalist.

Established in 1999, the Christy Awards have come to represent the best aspirations and accomplishments of authors who write from a perspective of faith. The award was named in honor of Catherine Marshall’s novel, Christy, published in 1967.

Christy has sold more than ten million copies since its first publication, earning the rank of national best seller in August 1968, a rare feat for a Christian novel.

Independent publisher Joanne Bischof was walking on her treadmill when she received the news that her novel, The Lady and The Lionheart, is a Christy finalist this year. She says “[I was] trying to shut it down and get off all at the same time as the news was being relayed to me so it took me a few moments for my brain to engage with what was happening!” Two previous books of Joanne’s were also finalists.

When asked about the Christy Awards and nomination, Cynthia Ruchti said, “It’s been an honor to have books recognized by industry awards. From the first one, I have placed my Bible over the physical award and prayed, ‘Jesus, help me always see this through Your Word.’ I have a Christy finalist medal from last year for As Waters Gone By. This year’s honor is at least as humbling. Maybe even more so. The legacy of the Christy Award program has had me applauding for other authors and publishers for years. I’m still applauding, including for the quality judges who invest their time and diligence in finding meaning in the pages.”

Both authors say it’s the story that matters. Joanne advises, “Write the best book you can.” Cynthia tell us, “A great story is not a writer’s solo effort. It is communication among the author, the characters, the reader, and the God of story, the Author of our faith.”

Joanne offers this advice to independently published authors: “Study the craft, read good fiction, and develop a writing style that is true to your heart and one that readers can engage with. Hone your marketing skills, put careful thought into a strong cover and polished product, learn who your audience is, and connect with them on a true and authentic level. Beyond that, I suggest trusting the process and embracing the unique role that books, and authors, serve in the Christian fiction market.”

Both authors remind us that it’s the grace and provision of God that allows them to write these award-nominated novels. “No matter where you land (and believe me, I have been rock bottom before with many, many rejections),” Joanne commented, “hold on to the hope that God doesn’t make mistakes, and the refining process is only going to equip you to be a better storyteller and a more tenderhearted author for your readers.”

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) acquired the Christy Awards in 2016. The program gives awards in nine categories plus naming one novel “Book of the Year.” Members of ECPA see value in this prestigious Christian fiction recognition program. The ECPA board and Christy Award advisory board have an aggressive plan to bring out the best of Christian fiction.

The award announcements will be made at The Art of Writing Conference  and Christy Award Celebration Gala on November 8 in Nashville. Registration for both events is open until November 8. Register for either event separately, or both for just $99.


Seven Months and Counting

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Only seven months. That’s right. Only seven months until 2018 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. We’re busy getting ready for you.

The main conference will be March 23 through 27, 2018 with the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic, March 21 to 23.

Liz Curtis HiggsLiz Curtis Higgs is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Liz is the author of thirty-six books with 4.6 million copies in print, including her nonfiction best sellers, Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl’s Still Got It, and The Women of Easter, and her Scottish historical novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. She has spoken for Women of Faith, Women of Joy, Extraordinary Women, and 1,700 other women’s conferences in all fifty United States and fifteen foreign countries, including South Africa, Thailand, and Indonesia. Her messages are biblical, encouraging, down-to-earth, and profoundly funny. She has one goal: to help Christians embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon.

In addition to workshops, night owl sessions, and editor and agent appointments, the Morning Mentoring Clinics and Manuscript Review will be available again.

Registration is now open. It only takes a small deposit to reserve your spot.

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We look forward to welcoming in 2018 to the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference.

Register Today