Meet the Staff: Carrie Luther

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

carrie-family

 

Over the years, God has brought together a unique blend of staff to Mount Hermon; we’re blessed to have a talented team working side by side. Since you’re our extended family, we’d like you to know the “in- house” family the Lord has brought together. Here is a little insight into Carrie Luther, Director of Human Resources. Carrie joined the Mount Hermon staff in May 2013.

Tell us a little about your family and how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon?

CARRIE: My journey to Mount Hermon started in 1996 when I started my career in human resources.  After 16 years as a HR professional with Granite Construction, a change in leadership ultimately led to a reduction in force and my employment was terminated in February, 2012. It has been an amazing experience and a blessing to watch God orchestrate all the details, including using all the years I spent at Granite, to enable me to come and serve at Mount Hermon.

Give us a sound bite of your ministry philosophy and personal mission within your departmental world.

CARRIE: We are called to demonstrate Christ’s love through our actions.  This applies even when difficult conversations may be required; or in giving feedback, whether it is positive or developmental. The way we treat one another in our day-to-day work speaks volumes about how well we love one another.

What’s new on the horizon for you and your team this year?

CARRIE: I am passionate about the opportunity to deliver a wide variety of training to our employees. We are in the process of improving our recruitment processes by updating our job opportunities website and application process. We’re reviewing our current annual performance review process and forms to ensure that employees are receiving pinpointed expectations and meaningful performance feedback.

How can we pray for you and your team?

CARRIE: We would love your prayers for guidance and discernment as we strive to serve Mount Hermon’s staff and guests with excellence.  We are excited to be participants in Mount Hermon’s role in bringing people one step closer to Jesus.

As you think of them, please take the time to pray for these important departments and these two team members who head them up.


Meet the Staff: Doug Cline

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

doug top

 

Over the years, God has brought together a unique blend of staff to Mount Hermon; we’re blessed to have a talented team working side by side. Since you’re our extended family, we’d like you to know the “in- house” family the Lord has brought together. Here is a little insight into Doug Cline, Conference Center Food Service Manager. Doug joined the Mount Hermon staff in March 2011.

Tell us a little about your family and how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon?

DOUG: Lisa and I have been married for 18 years and have three lively daughters; Marla 14, Rosemary 11, and Lillie 9. We met while working at a camp near my hometown in Virginia.  God called us out of that ministry and I fell in love with restaurant foodservice.  Eight years later we got the itch to go back to camp life.  Since our family has an adventurous soul, we started looking out west.  After prayer and searching, Mount Hermon became the target for our adventure.

Give us a sound bite of your ministry philosophy and personal mission within your departmental world.

DOUG: Food and mealtime are important parts of the day.  Our goal is for guests to leave the dining hall happy, full, and ready to hear what God is teaching them.  We view it as a joy to serve our guests with great tasting local, fresh and healthy meals.

What’s new on the horizon for you and your team this year?

DOUG: We really love where we work and get to live!  Not just Mount Hermon, but Santa Cruz County.  We want to show the community what we do and where we live.  We are planning to get involved with more local growers and welcome local schools for culinary field trips.

How can we pray for you and your team?

DOUG: The food service team is a joyous one that loves to serve our guests.  Pray that we keep the main goal of sharing Christ through our spirit service during the busy growing times here at Mount Hermon.

As you think of them, please take the time to pray for these important departments and these two team members who head them up.


Met, Married, Missionaries!

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Kindling.

Cody & Katie Rogers

 

We see it all the time: young adults who work as interns or summer staff at Mount Hermon who are then launched into a life of ministry. Things are no different for Cody and Katie Rogers!

Cody and Katie met at Mount Hermon as interns in 2011. Several months later, they began dating and the next year they got married (this seems to happen a lot around here). Katie worked in our adventure and recreation department, using her passion for sports to run Mount Hermon’s youth and adult basketball leagues and facilitate activities for Family Camp. Cody spent his internship in our creative services department, designing themes and creating videos for both youth and family camps.

Shortly after their wedding, Cody and Katie felt the call to pursue overseas missions. As a college student at Azusa Pacific, Katie had spent time in South Africa, working with a local missions organization called Walk In The Light. After weeks of prayer and consideration, they decided to return to South Africa to, once again, work with Walk In The Light.

“The timing and money we needed for the trip could not have worked out better. We felt like God had been blessing us so much, but not just for our own comfort and pleasure. We believe that he blesses us so we may be a blessing to others, and the best way to do that is to get out of our comfort zone, out of our security, out of the familiar.”

Cody-and-Katie-3

 

Together they have been using their skills and experience to serve both Walk In The Light and the local population in Haniville. “Haniville contains about 10,000 people living in extreme poverty. 60% of people are HIV positive and 39% are unemployed. While living at Walk In The Light, we helped transport people to clinics & hospitals, delivered food, & played with children.” Cody is also using his graphic design and video skills to build a website for the ministry to help them gain visibility and more donations.

As newlyweds, they are enjoying both the joys and challenges of serving in the mission field in a foreign country. “God is teaching us how to work together, and trust in him. Our first month was a bit different than we had anticipated but as we experienced things, we reminded each other (often) that just because it’s not how we planned it, doesn’t mean it’s not how God planned it. We have had to adjust and adapt, all the while trusting that he is in control. This has brought us closer as husband and wife, and is continuing to build a foundation for good communication and spiritual encouragement.”

Please join us in praying for Cody and Katie as they continue to serve in South Africa through the month of April!

Cody-and-Katie-4 Cody-and-Katie-2

What would you give to have your masculine heart come fully alive?

Posted by & filed under General, Stories of Ministry.

Men's Boot Camp

In order for a man to get his heart back, he’s got to take a journey. One that involves risk, danger, and a point of no return. The Mount Hermon Wild at Heart Boot Camp, is based upon the lifestyle described in the book Wild at Heart, by John Eldridge. A Boot Camp Weekend at Mount Hermon is a quest into the recovery of the masculine soul. It is an honest, no holding back trek into the deep passions and desires of a man’s heart, into the healing of the wounds he’s taken in life, into the realm of fatherhood, sex, marriage and God—life as it was meant to be lived by a man.

We can tell you lots of things about this weekend, but what’s more powerful are some of the testimonies we received after our Boot Camp last fall:

You do not know how life changing this weekend was for me! Thank you! I came to this retreat by God’s grace alone. I grew up in the church. I started attending church regularly during fourth grade was baptized in grade school, not much of a story. I have been to several Men’s Retreats/Conferences and never felt God like I did this weekend. Saturday night wrecked me. Saturday night: The call to confession. I don’t usually get out of my seat to come to the front when called. I always figured I can talk to God at my seat. This time, I got up. I got to share my baggage with Adam (one of the team leaders).

Another God thing, as Adam is my son’s name. I opened up my bag and shared all my wounds and my sin with my son who came with me to the retreat. I spoke the words after 30 or more years of keeping that bag shut from everyone. Opening that bag and unpacking it, bringing it into the light, generated a wave of freedom and feeling the presence of God, really for the first time I can remember. There was FREEDOM! I felt chains release. Tears flowing down my face. I have not cried like that since I was a teen. God was there healing me and beginning to restore me. Please thank the men who spoke at this conference. Their authenticity and ability to share their stories and failures was incredible and helped me to risk opening up about my struggles.

On the way home from the conference, I was able to share everything about my past with my son. I was able to be transparent with him, so he knows who his father is. Tears and emotions were released again during this time. I apologized for the wounds I inflicted on him growing up and he forgave me. Now the hard part: When I got home and told my wife about this weekend I could not stop crying. I had buried my emotions for so long and locked them away, she has never seen emotion like that from me in the 22 years we have been married.

I’m looking for a band of brothers now at my church because I don’t want to go back to where I was. If there is not a group I can join, I will start one. I don’t ever want to go back. I plan on attending the next Men’s Boot Camp, hopefully with my son again. I want to encourage you to keep doing this. It was amazing. I told myself this was going to be a good weekend for my son and I would support him by showing up. God decided it was going to be a weekend to heal my brokenness and draw closer to Him. Thank you!!

Here’s another:

Boot Camp was a GIANT success for myself and the small group I brought there. I am certain that the lives and marriages of these men were changed. In fact, I have already had some communication with 2 of the wives, and they have great praises, (trying to thank me) but it’s not me that can change lives, it’s only Jesus. He did a marvelous work in me by letting me experience homelessness. Many nights I would stay awake and just wonder if there was ANY hope for me. My wife never became that discouraged, her faith kept me alive! But through Boot camp I became aware that there was actually hope. Boot camp put this train back onto the tracks after a serious derailment. It was the tool that God used to free me from my self afflicted despair.

Through you, this experience, I became the man God wanted me to be for so many years. My self denial, posing and accepting the wounds as all my fault, I created my own prison and felt secure within that prison. I can not repay what Christ did for me, nor can I repay what your efforts resulted in. But I can only carry the torch a short distance, and I aspire to be as tough as you. My small group of men is growing. Their wives are beginning to see changes in them, their children also see changes. I, a former homeless man have gained respect and acceptance in this church, simply because I am no longer phoney, I simply tell the truth. My wife has seen such a change in me she is blown away! our relationship is totally different, we fell in love again!

The Son is shining and the flowers begin to bloom. Don’t give up the fight. We are with you all the way!

This weekend experience could be the perfect experience for you or your men’s group. Sign up for Boot Camp at Mount Hermon, today!


What does it mean to FIGHT human trafficking?

Posted by & filed under Human Trafficking.

(This post is by guest blogger Betty Ann Boeving, the founder and executive director of Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Betty Ann will be a presenter at the Mount Hermon FIGHT Human Trafficking Conference, May 2-4. Go here for more information or to register.)

I’m no black belt in karate but I have taken my share of self-defense courses over the years. Today, there’s no outside indication of just how good my defensive skills are. The fact that during my basketball playing days my elbows were known to cause an opponent to need an immediate root canal is just our little secret!

The same is true of you. Even though there may be no outward indication of expertise, you are uniquely designed to FIGHT trafficking. Caring about combatting the fastest growing criminal activity in the world is all you need to be qualified to FIGHT. Each of us can have trained eyes and ears to spot human trafficking in our communities—in nearby restaurants, hotels, massage parlors, fruit vendors, and nail salons.

What do we each need to know in order to be effective in this FIGHT?

First of all, you have to know what to look for…the face of human trafficking in the Bay Area could look like a nanny at the park who has bruising or is always wearing the same clothing or never looks up to meet anyone in the eye. Do you notice a child working at a restaurant during hours he/she should be in school, or a nail salon attendant who can’t tell you exactly where she lives or how long she has worked in that salon?

These are just a few signs of trafficking. You can find more from the Polaris Project here.

To be an effective trafficking fighter in your area, you should have the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (1-888-373-7888) programmed into your phone to report any suspicious activity. Do it now. Or you can call 911 if you see something that needs immediate attention. You can do this anonymously and with no harm to you.

The hotline is also a great resource for any questions you might have about human trafficking. They can help you with your own education or with resources for papers you might be writing or for a presentation you may be giving about human trafficking to your colleagues.

Why prepare for the FIGHT? So you can be equipped with enough information and readiness to respond. Remember, it’s not about just clinching your fists in anger and silently walking away. It’s about living a life with intention; knowing what to look for and having the courage to do the right thing.


The Cost of Just Living

Posted by & filed under Human Trafficking.

(This blog post is by Justin McRoberts, the worship leader for the Mount Hermon FIGHT Human Trafficking Conference, May 2-4. For more information about FIGHT or to register go here.)

by Guest Blogger: Justin McRoberts

A while back, I had the opportunity to hear Nathan George from Trade As One speak at an event. He made a compelling (and overwhelming) case for rethinking consumer habits.  In his estimation, the majority of clothes worn in the room that night were products of an exploitative manufacturing system; a system in which workers often labored for un-livable wages and at times labored for no pay at all.

He told stories of children who would work the rest of their lives to pay a man who loaned their parents money at an interest rate that was impossible for them to pay back.

Shortly after the Trade As One event, I overheard this conversation between two men who had attended:

A. Did you like it?
B. I don’t know if I liked it but it was really powerful. What’d you think?
A.  I thought it was unrealistic.
B. You mean, you don’t think those things happen with kids?
A. No, I guess that part happens… It’s just really frustrating, you know? I mean.. as if I’m supposed to rifle through all my drawers and closets to see which of my clothes was made by slaves. I’d have to change everything.
B. Right. But I think that’s the point. We have to live differently now.

The more I learn about modern day slavery, the more I find my fingerprints all over the crime scene.  The fact that I am either ignorant of or comfortable with the cost of my consumer comforts is what sets the stage for nine-year-old girls to be trafficked for sex; the bottom line being that my way of life is worth whatever it costs someone else.  The line between directly using someone for instant gratification and indirectly using someone so that I can pay less for products is nowhere near as thick as I once thought.

Nathan George’s challenge is to take this connection seriously.  If I want to participate in the redemptive, healing arc of justice, seeing people set free from a life of slavery, it will cost me to do so. I cannot just live my life and then, at times, do justice because I can’t just do justice, I have to live it.  When Sara and Troy Groves heard about the work of IJM to bring rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, they approached founder Gary Haugen and asked “What can we do?”  Gary responded “Become a person of Justice.”

 


Banff Mountain Film Festival

Posted by & filed under Adventures Updates.

Banff Film Festival Poster

Get off the beaten path and explore the edge of believable with some of the best films from Banff Mountain Film Festival, as it brings exhilarating stories to the big screen. Explore exotic locations, stand on the highest peaks and be part of the gripping tales that make this year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.

Locally sponsored by UCSC Colleges, Housing & Educational Services (CHES), Ryan Brandt M.D. & Family,New Leaf Community Markets, the Bicycle Trip, Allterra Solar, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, Santa Cruz Weekly/SantaCruz.com, The Buttery, Seahorse Swim School, Redwood Canopy Tours, Five Branches University, Capitola Veterinary Hospital and Adventure Sports Journal, Friend of Banff – Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce.

For tickets and information visit: http://www.ucscrecreation.com/banff.html


Adventure Man!

Posted by & filed under Adventures, LOG.

adventure-man

 

Interview by Kerry Phibbs

In April 2010 Mount Hermon was truly blessed by the arrival of Nate and Allison Pfefferkorn. Now, just three years later and with our Adventure programs exploding, Nate is an integral part of this ministry. We thought you might enjoy learning a little more about Nate and his passion for Adventure Recreation in Christian camping.

Nate, tell us a little about your family and how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon.

Allison and I had known about Mount Hermon for years. We were living and working in Portland for Team Synergo—a design–build company specific to the challenge course industry. I was contacted about a position Mount Hermon had managing the Redwood Canopy Tour, Team Building program and challenge course facilities.  I loved my work and the people at Team Synergo, but it required lots of travel. With two young daughters at home I felt like I was neglecting my marriage and my parenting responsibilities. Within three months after we decided, we had sold our home, moved, and were settled at Mount Hermon!

Give us a sound bite of your ministry philosophy within the world of adventure recreation.

I have a passion for God’s creation and have seen firsthand the transformative power of combining meaningful activity with being outdoors.  My goal at Mount Hermon is to use creation as the powerful setting in which we create unique and memorable learning experiences. We work with overnight guest groups, Mount Hermon programs, and the general public (day–use guests.) In all cases our philosophy is the same, it is just our language and methodology that differ.  The final end goal of all we do is to draw all our guests one step closer to Jesus.

What’s exciting on the horizon in Adventure world?

Adventure is becoming a key component of the Mount Hermon story.  Guests want to participate in an adventure experience, but most people are limited by time, materials, experience and even physical ability.  Part of the reason our Redwood Canopy Tour is so popular is because it allows guests to have an adventure in a safe environment where all the equipment, training and expertise is provided for them.  This allows the guest to really focus on the experience, their feelings, their friends, and to consider the impact of the adventure on their broader life.  Moving forward, these types of experiences will continue to grow in popularity and impact. We are looking forward to being a leader in how to use and program adventure for Jesus, and in training other programs in how to do this as well.  In the upcoming months and years, look for expanded cycling programs, off–site day adventures of rock–climbing, kayaking and surfing, recreational tree climbing, and more aerial challenge experiences.

Please join us in praying for Nate and the whole Adventure team! Pray that as they grow in numbers they be bound together in purpose and unity, and that each guest that participates in an adventure or recreation program be drawn one step closer to Jesus.


Volunteer at Your Own Risk!

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

volunteer at your own risk

 

Mount Hermon is a special place where God dramatically interacts with people and draws them closer to Himself. Many of you know this, and continually thank the Lord for His grace poured into you through your seasons at Mount Hermon.

Many also express your gratitude to God through vol unteering selflessly as partners who are essential to keeping this ministry humming so effectively. It is impossible to consider operating at such an edifying level without their investment.

One volunteer’s Mount Hermon history spans over 60 years. As a young girl, Nelda Olson roller skated INSIDE the WWII-vintage water tank, then being installed up on Madrone Ave. With her family she enjoyed many conferences and camps, and still stays in the “family cabin” while serving as one of our many outstanding volunteers.

This summer Nelda did a “risky” thing. Though 50 years separate their ages, Nelda joined with the Amata Girls, mentoring, encouraging and modeling for them a spirit-led, Christ-dependent, and humble servant life. Face-painted and unselfconscious, Nelda won their trust and hearts, joyfully and tangibly demonstrating the love of Christ to these young girls. The goal of our Amata Program–the very heart of the Lord for them–is that they know they are indeed “beloved” of God. Nelda said, “These girls are so precious. I am having the time of my life!”

Nelda embodies the intentionality of all of our volunteers, to “find a need and fill it,” making the gospel both heard and seen in every area of Mount Hermon. Now it’s your turn. Take a risk and become a volunteer too!


Thankful for Second Chances

Posted by & filed under General, Stories of Ministry.

Bean Creek. Redwood Camp.

Photo By: Paul Alkhato, Redwood Camp Staff 2013

This is a story about Janice.* She came to Family Camp at Mount Hermon this year and took away a lot more than she expected. She shared what she was taking home at Victory Circle at the end of the week.

“I’m thankful for second chances,” Janice told her new friends. “I’m forty-two years old, so I figure I should have about thirty years to make up for my mistakes. I can’t wait to get home and start making memories for my children.”

What was Janice’s great regret? She had neglected her three children. Oh, they had plenty of food and lovely clothes, but Janice had turned their upbringing over to nannies. We have all heard about the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, but in Joshua 3 we read about another miracle—crossing the flooded Jordan River. The Bible says that when the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant into the river, the water “stood up in a heap.”

Continued from Newsletter

What a sight that must have been! After all the people had crossed over and stepped onto the banks of the Promised Land, God commanded Joshua to have one person from each tribe get a boulder from the river bed, and pile them up on the shore. Those were to be their Stones of Remembrance. Joshua told the people, “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them how the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant.” (Joshua 4: 6-7)

It was those words from Joshua that so moved Janice. She said, “I’ve been too busy doing things elsewhere. I need to minister to my own children. That’s where I’m going to make a lasting influence.” She’s right. “Oh!” Janice added with a smile. “I will be back to see you next year—without regrets!”

*Name has been changed.