Woven around each and every story we hear are the components and people that must be in place for our multiple ministry arenas to operate seamlessly and smoothly for these life-transforming encounters to happen.
Let me share a story from a family that attended Family Camp this summer which provides a great example:
“This summer we attended Family Camp with our disabled daughter Caroline who has Angelman Syndrome. Angelman Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severe intellectual and developmental disability, seizures and jerky movements (especially hand flapping). I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for providing an absolutely amazing week of fellowship, friendship, restoration and love for myself and my family.
“Against all odds, Caroline has learned to walk, although she is not completely steady and cannot do long distances. She doesn’t talk per se, but she does talk to you in her own way; through verbal noises, squeals, laughter or physical touch: patting on the shoulder, pulling hair, pinching… not to be mean…just to elicit a response or your attention. Her seizures are thankfully controlled with daily medication. She has trouble chewing food, so we normally chop up all of her meals or they are a soft, oatmeal consistency. She also puts everything in her mouth, which is why she wears a chewy necklace (in different colors) around her neck at all times. With all of this, we were nervous as to how Caroline would react to so many people in a “Camp” environment and we were nervous as to how everyone at “Camp” would react to her.
“I was deeply struck by how open, loving and welcoming everyone at Mount Hermon was and your Child Care Staff was absolutely incredible! Miss Koala, Mr. Chief, and Ms. Shannon engaged Caroline in a way that was authentic and not forced. Being with Caroline wasn’t just a “job” for them, they were truly just being themselves and having fun with her making sure to include her in all of the activities and crafts. Mr. Chief would always make sure he had music going for her, and he would dance with her. Even though the other kids asked lots of questions, they seemed to warm up to Caroline quickly. The tearjerker for me happened the last day when each of the children made a shepherd that looked like themselves. One of the little boys pointed out that Caroline’s shepherd needed to have her necklace, so they made her one. Miss Koala even made a staff for Caroline covering it with tape to ensure she could safely chew on it.
“Miss Koala, Mr. Chief, and Ms. Shannon were amazing as they tended to Caroline in such a loving way reflecting patience, leadership, and careful communication.
“I wanted to let you know how touched my husband and I were by the incredible show of support from so many strangers and how thankful we are to have a place to attend that reduces so much of the stress felt by parents traveling with children with disabilities. We are forever grateful for the experience Mount Hermon provided for us. Our relationship with God is stronger and our marriage is stronger than ever. Our hearts were filled with God’s Love and we can’t stop sharing our story with all of our family and friends!”
THIS MAKES THE A DIFFERENCE
Caroline and her family experienced something special and unique for them, yet this is something that happens over and over at Family Camp for families who have a child with special needs. We hire counselors who love children then train them to go the extra mile to accommodate, integrate and lavish these kids with the love of Jesus.
Sometimes accommodating and integrating campers with special needs requires Mount Hermon to assign an individual counselor for the duration of Family Camp. Does that require extra resources? Yes. Does that require additional staff? Yes. Does that make a difference? Yes.
The experience you and your family have at Mount Hermon is important to us and we are committed to providing a place where you can engage God right where you are without distraction. We always want to do whatever it takes to make a difference.
That difference in your experience comes through the Mount Hermon Annual Fund. The Annual Fund covers three main things at Mount Hermon: Camperships, Foundational Capital Projects, and “The Difference.” The Difference is that space between having people on staff and having the right people on staff. The Difference is having the ability to accommodate children with special needs while also providing the needed upkeep for aging and historic buildings, and so much more.
Covering that “difference” is only possible because of the faithful financial support to our annual fund by our Mount Hermon Associates. Mount Hermon Associates make that difference possible each and every day with each and every opportunity that the Lord puts before us.
The Difference takes faith and resources. The same faith and resources that keep the moving parts behind the scenes operating as smoothly as possible along with the countless other unplanned ministry speed bumps that pop-up on a regular basis. All of this and more requires two million dollars per year in ministry support. Simply put, “the difference” between ministry revenue and ministry expenses comes to two million dollars each year.
God provides for this two-million-dollar difference through Mount Hermon Associates. When a roof leaks or an unsafe deck is in need of repair, or a septic system fails or camp vehicles need replacement, or dishwashers wear out or … ministry can be compromised. Situations like these can distract campers from what God has in store for them while they’re at Mount Hermon. Associates make the difference by empowering our ministry and mission to remain focused and strong! Our Associates are not only part of our culture; they’re woven into the fabric of our entire mission touching tens of thousands of lives each and every year.
Steve, a Mount Hermon Associate, shared this at Victory Circle:
“I love Mount Hermon. This is where we come every year to get that refreshment over and over again. I want to encourage you to be an Associate. It will give you an entirely different perspective of Mount Hermon. We are up-to-date on everything, and we receive encouraging messages from Kerry and other staff. I encourage you, if you are not an Associate, become one.”
Steve is right. As a Mount Hermon Associate, you are someone who makes the difference in the lives of those who come here, a true partner in ministry, so we do our best to make sure you’re aware and informed of what God is doing throughout Mount Hermon. Whether it’s Camperships, or being able to minister to those with special needs or tending to facility needs with excellence while allowing the mission to remain strong and growing… God has blessed Mount Hermon in unimaginable ways, and we can’t imagine life at Mount Hermon without the faithful, loving support of our Associates. They truly make “the difference.” THANK YOU!
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