Gone Rogue

When a person makes a decision for Christ, he or she also makes a decision to turn away from the world, to Go Rogue.

I wanna talk about a different point of view, the point of me. I was a half-in, half-out Christian living in Godly moments and then slipping back into my worldly and fleshy behaviors. I had gone rogue on God, not rogue with Him. I was “lukewarm” and constantly felt torn between who I wanted to be and who the Lord wanted me to be.

This summer, Jesus pried my sin-filled eyes open, helping me see my sinful nature and just how much I needed to change. He helped me see the need to stay away from temptations and use His tools to remove stumbling blocks from my path. I realized what it meant to go fully, totally, completely rogue for the One who made me. I want to show Jesus that I want His will for my life and that I love Him. That I didn’t/don’t want a worldly lifestyle, I want Him. I find it difficult to leave a whole life behind, especially when the enemy is always dragging me down, making me believe I need certain things when they have no use. This causes me to lose focus and every one of my priorities shifts. Reading my Bible slides down to the bottom, praying feels like a chore, speaking becomes less and less edifying, and eventually I don’t even know what it means to be a Christian. Slipping so many times makes it easy to give up.

That’s the thing though, I gave up. God didn’t. I was sure that God was done with me, tired of my habitual sin and one apology after another… He wasn’t. Now don’t get me wrong He was for sure tired of the sin, but not me. He had/has a plan for me, He gave me a job at this camp called Whisper Mountain. He surrounded me with these Godly people who did not judge me for having sin. Instead, they encouraged me to confess it, to no longer allow it to hold power over me. To not let it hold me back. They texted me daily and told me to read my Bible. I felt comfortable asking for prayer about whatever I was going through, and they reciprocated. God used these people to teach me how to Go Rogue for God not from God. They taught me how to live out my faith, to study the Word, and to pray without ceasing. For all these things I am eternally grateful to God and them. 

Having said all this, my question to you is simple, yet hard to swallow. Have you gone rouge from the world, or have you gone rouge from God? I made the wrong decision, but praise the Lord, I was able to run back to Him. 


Author | Koda Moody
Photography | Cassi & (Staff Group Picture by) Koda Moody

Camper Cabins | Phase 1 Continues

This post was written in June of 2021 but was forgotten 🤦🏼‍♀️ …Let’s begin here anyways!

The work continued through the spring!

Did you know we have been preparing our land to build more camper cabins? Sometimes we think everyone knows, but this kind of information can sometimes slip through the cracks, especially for those who may not be on social media much!

We never like turning away larger groups who are wanting to give their teens the Whisper Mountain experience. We do camp a bit different than a lot of other camps. We major on intentional connections and knowing people’s names. We are careful to have purpose to the fun and build up groups as a unit. We help teens escape their noise, to practice quiet each day and offer them the chance to encounter the whisper of God.

Our vision is to never exceed 125 campers at a time because we believe the quality of what we are trying to offer can easily be lost if we get too big. We want each person to continue to feel the personal interaction and be known. We can currently sleep 60 campers in the summer because our summer staff stay in the cabins with them. In retreat season (every season except summer) we can sleep 72 campers. So these new 32 bed camper cabins will step us closer to the goal! And we are completely excited!

We are most thankful for Eddie who has used his expertise to set us up for success in many ways! His knowledge and experience offered ideas and suggestions to help us maximize the land in the best ways and to problem solve with the struggles the mountain offered.

He even has helped us create a place that is useable for campers this summer! We mentioned helping campers practice being quiet. Each morning, surrounded by the beauty and quiet of the mountains, campers go find a spot alone to be still, to interact with God’s Word and to practice listening for His voice. Some teens thrive in this time, others find it uncomfortable and challenging. But God shows up.

Eddie has helped us create some new spots for Solo Time (as we call it) at the very top of our mountain. He’s created a flat space and large rocks for sitting on. The space is breathtaking and beautiful. And when all is quiet, it’s heavenly.

We are paying as we go and as God provides so if you would like to be a vehicle of His provision, you can give using this link!

Thanks for your interest and for sharing our excitement in all God continues to do in and through Whisper Mountain Camp!


Author & Photography | Cassi

2021 | Summer Staff 15 Year Reunion

Although everyone couldn’t come and not everyone even caught word about the gathering, we brought the family together for a little celebration! A FIFTEEN year staff reunion!

To have been here to see God cross so many paths over so many years all for the joint mission of helping teens find Jesus, or at the very least grow in their own walks with the Lord — there really aren’t any words to convey what it means to us full-timers.

We hung pictures all over the Axis walls from the beginning of Whisper Mountain’s summer staff through this past one…fifteen years later. What fun to watch all the reactions and hear all the memories being shared!

Meeting the kids of some of the staff was (crazy) exciting and fun. Knowing the younger version of their parents and seeing how they’ve grown into godly parents now adds depth almost like a parent watching their kids become parents. God’s faithfulness through the generations of our staff brings such hope, especially in these heavier times we live in.

Bazooka Ball was requested by quite a few, but more relaxed than when campers play! Pretty much, throw the rules out and just shoot whoever! Has it’s charm, until you’re the target! Good times, good times!

As is normal with all things surrounding Whisper Mountain, the time spent connecting with people was the highlight of our time together. People who wouldn’t otherwise have any reason to connect, people from all sorts of different backgrounds, experiences, denominations and walks of life have the mutual love of God and camp bringing them together. There’s just something entirely encouraging about this.

Ending our time together around the fire seemed just right. We got to hear testimony of how the effects of camp continue to impact their lives even now. The timing of their summer spent here, learning what discipleship looks like, understanding the importance of Christian community, finding clarity on soul-searching issues, how they are using what they learned in their living presently, and so much more was shared around that fire. Sometimes when we commit to something we don’t fully realize the impact it will have on us. Maybe something sounds fun, or distracting, or worthwhile, but we don’t always see the real work God was drawing us to until months or years later. Hearing testimony of this and recognizing God’s goodness all over again both astounds and encourages us.

Our time together went fast that day and we were missing quite a few, but how amazing to have gathered so many from year’s past. To share the memories, to celebrate God’s faithfulness and to recapture the vision of Whisper Mountain going forward was such a gift.

Thank you to all who made the effort to join us! Reconnecting was just what we needed! To those who couldn’t make it, your legacy lives on and we hope to see you at the 20th reunion!


Big shout out to Megan Hunt for making our amazing shirts.

picture from Megan
picture from Kaleigh

She designed and screen printed them and we couldn’t love them more! Even the little ones were included with each one tailored to their parent as staff!


Author + Photography | Cassi Werner

Camp 2021 | Southbrook Week 1

Southbrook is a church we get to see twice in a summer because they are such a large group! WE LOVE THAT — but also, won’t it be great when our camper housing project gets completed and they can come all at one time?! Let it be so, Jesus!

Last week was the first week of Southbrook Church teens from Charlotte. It seems the best way to communicate the week is from the lips of the campers themselves, so here it is!

“I’ve known a lot of pain in my life, but this week I’ve seen that God will heal me in His time.”

I thought I knew God, but coming here I realize I know nothing. And meeting all of you, I realize I always have someone to talk to.

I had a lot of family issues I kept pushing away. Coming here and laying things at the cross helps me see how praying makes a difference. You guys have made it easy to find someone to trust.

All the activities, quiet alone with Jesus, Biblical teaching and intentional connections come together to create an experience that is entirely life-changing! This is the power of camp! We are so thankful for God’s faithfulness to continue to show us more of Himself! Last week a group a great, church-going people left camp and went home as Jesus followers. There’s simply nothing better in life than following Jesus! Thanks for escaping your noise at Whisper Mountain Camp! May you continue to find more of Him each day!


Author | Cassi Werner Photography | Adrienne Cicero + Cassi Werner

Group | Southbrook Church

Camp Staff Perspective | A Camp Week

The first week of Whisper Mountain Camp from a counselor’s perspective. All camper names used in this article are false names, to preserve anonymity for the teens.  

Last Thursday night, Whisper Mountain’s executive director, Marty Paul, preached to a group of 11 kids about the importance of placing their focus on God. “You have to live your life focused on the cross… That will sustain you,” Paul said. There was time after the message for the campers to pray silently. Counselors stood on the edges of the room, and campers were invited to ask counselors to pray with them. I sat on the right side of the stage, unsure if any campers would come to me. This was my first week counseling at Whisper Mountain; I had no idea what to expect. As I waited, I prayed, asking God to use me. “Let me minister to these campers, Oh Lord,” I prayed, “That you would make your abundant, awe-inspiring love known through me.” Little did I know that the campers would be ministering to me, instead.

One of the girls from my cabin came up to sit by me on the stage; nine-year-old Sadie. I asked her what I could be praying about for her. She asked me to pray for her family and for the bullying she endures at school to stop. She moved closer to me and laid her head on my shoulder while I prayed for her. We were in the “Axis” building: the chapel, at camp. Instrumental worship music played softly on the speakers. Most of the lights were off, and a weight lingered in the air. The weight pressed upon my thoughts, like humility pressing against pride, stifling any distractions that kept me from begging God, with all that I am, that He would keep this girl from her painful struggles and that she would seek to know Him more. 

I opened my eyes after praying with her to see three more girls from my cabin around us; all sisters. I asked what I could also be praying about for them. “We just want to pray for Sadie,” Zulu said. The three girls laid their hands on Sadie’s back as I continued to pray for her. When I finished praying a second time, I told Sadie that she is loved: By God, by me, and by the three other girls around her. She gave me a hug and a smile, and we silently recognized together that the Holy Spirit was among us, drawing our hearts closer to God and to each other. 

Campers have been encouraged to fix their eyes on Jesus; focusing on Him amidst trials in this life. They are given a four day devotional plan, centered around the week’s theme. After having scheduled time to be alone with Scripture and the devotional plan, the campers gather together with their cabins to discuss what they learned. 

“Before I came to camp, I hated reading my Bible,” Colin, a fifth-grader said. “It felt like a chore to me. Now, I’m going to do it every single day.” 

Campers this week have learned to delight in reading the Bible through the times they have spent alone in Scripture, in counselor-led devotional discussions, and in intentional prayer times. 

There was a 14-year-old girl in my cabin, Gloria, who showed leadership qualities right away during cabin times. “I want to be so infused with the Word of God, that all I do is part of Him,” she said. She would talk fast and excitedly about the Gospel during cabin times; truly on fire for the Gospel. Gloria told me that she prays for God to use her as an example for her younger siblings, that they would come to have a stronger relationship with Jesus by seeing her leadership. She felt the burden to represent Christ to her family. Last week, campers at Whisper Mountain were taught that believers in Christ are called to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. We are adopted as sons and daughters of the living God; thus, we are no longer citizens of the world, but we belong to a home grander than we could ever imagine. Gloria felt the weight of this, and she recognized the godly influence she has on her family as she fixes her gaze upon Jesus Christ, representing Him in this world. 

The camper I prayed with on Thursday night, Sadie, said she learned the importance of spending time reading her Bible rather than being distracted by her phone. 

“Usually I’m always on my phone and I never read my Bible,” Sadie said. “Now, I really want to read my Bible because Jesus is really important to me.

I have been humbled to see the affect of this camp in the lives of the campers this first week. As they connect spiritual applications to activities like paintball and dropping in a 30-foot-tall swing on a high ropes course, the campers begin to see a need for Jesus Christ all around them; not just at church on Sundays. In having focused time reading the Bible by themselves each morning, the campers realize they have a crucial need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 4:12 says, 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The campers experience this truth at Whisper Mountain; they not only learn the importance of reading the Bible on their own, but they see how it impacts their lives and their friend’s lives. The four girls I prayed with last Thursday night knew the impact of prayer, as we grouped around Sadie, pleading to God on her behalf. The girls could only do that because they had a knowledge of Jesus Christ from Scripture. He is powerful. He is kind. He is good. He loves us and He listens to us. 

Tim Keller wrote, “God sees us as we are, loves us as we are, and accepts us as we are. But by His grace, He does not leave us where we are.” My prayer as this summer continues is that more campers would be moved by the power of Scripture, and by the person of Jesus Christ; that the campers would recognize that once we fix our gaze and set our lives on Jesus, He will not leave us as we are. He is in the process of making all things new, drawing us closer to Himself as His returning comes nearer at each moment.


Author | Katie Fogarty Photography | Adrienne Cicero + Cassi Werner
Group | Community Bible Church of Highlands

Dave + Nancy Houchin | Whisper Mountain Stories

You may have heard us say it a million times through the years, but we are always in awe of how God orchestrates people’s lives. He’s always moving pieces together to bring about the most glory for Himself and the most good for those involved!

As you know, we said goodbye to Sam a couple months back. And soon after, we said goodbye to Selah as she left for college. She was such a big help with office work. While we were excited for both of them to continue the path God had called them to, they both left voids in the load we carry at Whisper Mountain!

But God knew all about it and met our need above and beyond, per His usual! Watch this video to see just how He provided!

We are pretty thrilled with God’s provision. And continue to give Him the glory for all He is doing in and through Whisper Mountain Camp!

Thanks, Dave and Nancy! You inspire and relieve! We are thankful for your friendship and service. May God heap blessing on you both as you continue to follow Him!


Author + Photographer | Cassi Werner

Finding the Words

Since the beginnings of Covid, I’ve sort of felt unsure about how and what to share with you guys about camp! As the communicator of this ministry, that’s just pretty unacceptable though right?! I’ve covered the big things, like the announcement we sent out about cancelling camp, and Sam shared her heart to you all, but beyond this, my words have been scarce! I’m sorry for the quiet, not that you’ve probably even noticed, but I’m starting to find my footing again! And it feels great!

I have much to catch you up on! I will take you back to the beginning, when quarantine was just being talked about and we were stunned with the crazy of what was really starting to happen! Meet me here tomorrow so you can start getting caught up on all things Whisper Mountain?!

See you then,
Cassi

In This Season

Sam and Selah. Adrienne

This past year of my life has been unlike any other. It was the first time in 18 years that I wasn’t in school. I was super excited about being done and moving to my dream job to start working in a ministry I really wanted to get behind. I started off last summer well and was so sure I made the right decision to work at camp, but then the summer ended and everything got harder. All the people left and the ministering to people part of my job seemed to come to an end. For a while, I kept telling myself everything was okay because I love the place I work and the people I work for. Over time my view changed. It became harder and harder to do the background work for the ministry and not be able to do the ministering. I have struggled through this the whole year and have wanted to fix it, but I just held on to the hope that the summer was coming soon.

Sam on Gator. Adrienne

Fast forward to right now. As a camp, we have decided we will not be running our summer program this year (which in my opinion was logically the right decision), yet I feel crushed by the fact that it will be a whole year until I can do the thing that I love most again.

Sam Watermelon. Adrienne

From most of the people I have talked to and also just from the things going on in the world around us, I think there is a lot of hurt and frustration. I don’t know what the answers to fix all the problems are (and if you know me, I want to fix all the problems) and I am so frustrated because I don’t know what to do.

Then, I found myself reading Ecclesiates 3:1-8. It’s a fairly popular passage, but nonetheless it says:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Sam Sitting HighRopes. Adrienne

I was reminded me so quickly of my need to sit at the feet of Jesus and recognize this is a time that needs to happen. This is a season I don’t understand and I wish I did, but I do know that through this, the Lord will be glorified. Of this I am confident. I don’t have to get it or even be happy all the time about everything, but I do need to continue to worship my Lord and Savior in this time and love everyone around me.

There will be a new season and new time eventually, but until then my hope is still found in the Lord.


Author | Sam Wammock     Photos| Adrienne Cicero

Awesomeness Takes the Stage 2017 | Kinsley

We thought it might be appropriate to greet today with another spotlight on our Awesomeness Takes the Stage! Kinsley is all smiles around Whisper Mountain Camp so let’s start this Tuesday with a smile, shall we?!

kinsley-git-intro

Kinsley is also one of our Guides in Training (GIT) this summer. Before you go romanticizing about how amazing it must be for a person to come to Whisper Mountain Camp and be a GIT, it should be known that the GITs do all the grunt work for the team! And they all have done a great job keeping a positive attitude in the midst of the grunt! Kinsley included!

Kinsley.GIT 2

Kinsley laughs about nothing, laughs when it’s awkward, laughs when there’s jokes — she just generally laughs a lot! Which as you can imagine is pretty fun to be around.

Kinsley.GIT 1

Beyond all the laughing, however, is a girl with a heart to make Jesus famous! She has been brave in facing uncomfortable things and pushed herself to grow through challenging circumstances. Having her for this second year on our summer staff team has only made us stronger!

Kinsley.GIT 3

When we talk about having a caring staff, it’s people like Kinsley who help make that claim true! We have loved seeing her grow as a person and a disciple of Christ! We can’t wait to see how He continues to lead her as she heads to college!

Kinsley, thank you for spending your summer doing hard things like serving with us at camp! Your light and love are changing the world!

 

[Author: Cassi | Photo Creds: Cassi, Chloe]

Our Ten Year Staff Reunion

ten-year-staff-reunion-group

Labor Day weekend was quite the weekend as we celebrated ten years of ministry! We were thankful to share the day with a few locals, a few board members and spouses and about half of our over-the-years summer staff! I’m not sure how the others felt, but remembering God’s faithfulness — His big and sometimes quiet work in, around and for us — goes a long ways to encourage our walking right now!

10-year-reunion-storiesa10-year-reunion-storiesb

Sharing laughter with our staff over the memories and retelling of favorite camp stories was completely delightful! Hearing Shaun’s well composed “poem” of all the campisms from over the years was perfectly hilarious and memorable! Reconnecting, though it wasn’t enough time, was refreshing as we caught a glimpse of how far God has brought each of us on our journeys, as varied and different as they all are!

ten-year-staff-group

I’m amazed how something like summer camp can gather such different people together to walk in the same direction in ways that benefit all of us but glorify God above all! The Whisper Mountain Family is made up of some pretty stellar people, and it just keeps growing as we welcome in special someones of past staff and as we continue to be faithful to Proclaiming Christ through camp ministry in the years to come!

ten-year-staff-crazy-group

Summer Staff, keep proclaiming Christ where you are! You are beautiful people that have helped make Whisper Mountain effective on any level! We love you and can’t wait for next time!

Thank you to all of you who have been a part of our ministry in some way over this past decade! We have seen God together, haven’t we? May He continue to be real and in our midst, for His glory alone!