Posts Categorized: Stories of Ministry

Worldwide Ministry

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

Amy Dickson is the Ranch Manager at Kidder Creek. Not only is she passionate about horses, but loves to snowboard and is actively invloved as a leader in her Junior High Youth group at her church. Last spring, Amy and Andy Warken hosted a group of Chinese Camp Directors at Kidder Creek. During their time, Amy and Andy led them in a “typical” Kidder Creek Ranch Camp experience which included an outback trail ride to Campbell Lake. No experience at Kidder Creek is ever “typical.” Amy’s story is proof.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read an email in December requesting to come to Beijing China in just a couple of weeks! Every January, I usually do a mission trip to Africa, but for some reason God told me not to go this year—now I know why.

The group of Chinese Camp Directors who visited us last fall asked if I was able to speak for five days to various audiences about camping! I had the privilege to share how Kidder Creek provides high quality programming through safety and awesome staff.

My favorite day was speaking to horse riding instructors about teaching riding lessons for a higher purpose. Although they aren’t yet Believers, I was able to speak truth into their lives through horsemanship. They also invited me to ride a couple of their horses!

A small crowd gathered to watch the American cowgirl ride a jumping horse. Thank you the Lord, the horse was bilingual. He listened to my cues and gave me a great ride.

Hopefully this trip has opened the door to Chinese children joining in future Kidder Creek programs and ultimately meeting Jesus.

Learn More about Group Adventures at Kidder Creek

For My Father’s Glory: Life & Service

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

What is Echo? Echo is a two-week program at Mount Hermon where students, grades 10 through Super Senior, learn and experience what it means to live the resounding life of abiding in Jesus Christ through prayer and obedience. Also, within the program, students work with the accommodations department. While working in accommodations, students learn what it means to humble themselves through service.

This year was my second year attending Echo but my 14th consecutive year coming to Mount Hermon. Out of all the years I have attended family camp, I strongly believe that Echo helped me grow one step closer to Jesus.

However, my first year at Echo was different compared to my second year growth wise. In my first year, I came in with a negative mentality about Christ. I grew up in the church but at that point in my life, I did not make my faith my own. In fact, I was far from believing in Christ. For the first two years of high school, I wanted to “do life” on my own terms and be the leader of my own life. Doing life on my own resulted in developing depression, becoming suicidal, trying to find acceptance and love through guys and becoming a chronic liar. I was self-conscious about what I looked like not only on the outside but the inside as well.

These things of my past are what drove my desire to not attend Echo. My parents, however, strongly encouraged me to go. During my two weeks; I learned that it’s more important to focus on God than on the past.  I also learned that “[Jesus Christ] is the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:1–2). Because our Father loves each of us so much, He prunes our imperfections away. When something in our lives is distancing us away from our Father, He cuts it off saying, “I love you my child; this part of you is no more.”

Natalie Loo Photo

Learning these things my first year at camp was beneficial. I came back home with a new perspective on life and God. However, this last year was particularly hard because I did not know how to continue my relationship with Christ at home. We did learn some tools that could help us, yes, but, the material did not fully sink in until my second year of doing Echo. For my second year of Echo, I knew that I had a relationship with Christ. However, it was my parent’s faith and not my own. Echo, this year taught me what is means to trust, love, and be patient with God and how God will love us despite all of the sins we have committed.

While in Echo, working in accommodations has helped with my relationship with Christ. I learned that it’s not about serving yourself but about serving our Heavenly Father in everything that we do.

It even says in Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” I remember one day in accommodations during my second year of Echo there was this cute family we encountered. They had a friend that was in surgery that same week they were at family camp. After my team was done with our accommodations shift for the day, we took the time to pray over that family and over the families at family camp. We were obeying God’s command of prayer for one another in brotherly love. Praying for the families wasn’t to boost anyone’s self-pride, it was about serving the people at Mount Hermon in our Father’s Holy Name.

Coming out of Echo a second time, I know that my faith in Jesus Christ is real and I want to keep pursuing Him for the rest of my life. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I am praying and hoping that He will reveal his plans for me soon. Echo has helped me realize with school, taekwondo, or any extracurricular activity I participate in is for my Father’s glory.

Learn More About Echo!

Velocity Bike Parks / Felton Meadow Project Draft EIR Publishing Soon!

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

This week we’re celebrating a huge milestone–
and reaching out to you for help.

Over the past 14 months we’ve been working with the County of Santa Cruz planning department and environmental consultants to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Felton Meadow project, which includes Velocity Bike Park. The EIR is a long and detailed process that looks at all aspects of our proposed plan – the level of detail required to complete the EIR ensures that the project meets and in many cases exceeds required development criteria.The Santa Cruz Planning Department will soon be publishing what is called the Draft EIR for public comment. While it is called a “draft” it is the complete document which is finalized after the public comment period. The official public comment period is scheduled to last for 60 days and is your opportunity to submit letters of support.

What we need from you

This is your opportunity to support Velocity Bike Park – by writing a letter to the Santa Cruz Planning Department. It is critical that the planners and County Supervisors see that the support for this project is deep and wide.

Sign the Petition

What happens next

Once the 45 day public comment period closes we are required to respond to all the comments – which is part of the EIR process. Depending on the volume and complexity of the comments we receive this could take a few months. Once all comments have been responded to we’ll be added to the list of projects waiting for a hearing before the Planning Commission – who will vote and have the final say on the project. We’ll need your help at this point by coming to the official hearing where you’ll again have the opportunity to support the project with your presence. The timeline will look something like this:

Public Comment
60 days

Comment Response
30-90 days

Waiting for a hearing
30 days

Public Hearing
August or September

Please help us now by writing your letter of support, and thank you for your support up to this point. It’s been a long road but we’re almost there!

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.

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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pavilion-basketball

 

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!
pavilion-interior-campers2

Lisa Olson: A New Journey

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

In spring of 2006 Mount Hermon welcomed a new staff member, Lisa Olson. Little did I realize how my life would be impacted as a result of knowing Lisa. I didn’t know she would become one of my dearest friends and be a catalyst in helping advance my faith and spiritual growth into a new place.

I’m not the only one impacted by Lisa. In fact, you may be one of them. Her vast knowledge of the world of Christian camping along with her decades of experience has changed the face of Mount Hermon programming and marketing in many ways—great ways.

aim-lisa

Lisa’s is uniquely wired. She can’t help herself from thinking of the most powerful ways to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’ love. Lisa is constantly evaluating how Mount Hermon can be relevant and in tune with our culture—how do we reach the world with the truth of God’s word? She is definitely not “camp as usual,” and Mount Hermon is a better place because of it.

We have been blessed to have had Lisa at the helm of programming and marketing for over a decade, but sadly, we’ve had to say “Happy Trails” to her. She is now headed into a new adventure in Christian camping in Texas.

Carolina Creek Christian Camp is blessed to have Lisa as their new Executive Director. Carolina Creek was founded in 2002 and is situated on 440 acres of waterfront property, 90 miles northwest of Houston. There are three camps on the property, serving all ages. With over two miles of water frontage, water sports are very popular at camp. They are enjoying their fifteenth summer of ministry this year.

Lisa loaded up and headed out on Sunday, June 19, and she arrived right in the throes of summer camp. For those of us who know Lisa, she stepped right into her element. There is no doubt that Lisa will bless the campers and impact the ministry under her new watch, the very way she blessed and impacted us at Mount Hermon.

lisa-photo

As Lisa began her transitions, true to her nature she did an exceptional job setting up and preparing her team for her departure, for the summer, and for their futures as strong contributors to Mount Hermon. Members of the Program Team are primed and ready to uphold and develop Mount Hermon’s outstanding program to impact campers with the reality of Jesus’s love and encouraging all to take one step closer to being more like Jesus. Jeremy Bentley, who joined our staff in July as the new Vice President of Program, now leads this amazing group of talented professionals into the future.

Although Lisa is dearly missed here, we know without a doubt the Lord is and will use her in a powerful way at Carolina Creek. Her fingerprints are all over Mount Hermon and she has been a significant contributor to our passion for “lives transformed” over the past decade. Thank you Lisa. We send you with love!

Please pray for Lisa and her family as they adjust to this era in their lives and specifically for Lisa as she leads this camp and acclimates to very new surroundings!

If you’d like to know more about Carolina Creek Christian Camp, go to carolinacreek.org

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

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

ShannonPhibbs

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