We welcomed the second round of Southbrook Church last week, with much the same sort of experience (as their first week) of well-invested-in teens getting away to Whisper Mountain Camp to be challenged in deeper ways and to grow stronger within community.
We may not have seen all scores of teens coming to Jesus for the first time, but what we did see was scores of teens being confronted with the opportunity to leave their complacent, American Christianity behind to walk in a deep, intimate, counter-cultural relationship with Jesus that actually involves the power of God in their lives. We saw teens accept the challenge to cling to truth, abandon the ways of the world and go rogue in their faith.
This, friends, is the deep power of camp — when life change comes in many forms, but each time with an intimate encounter with Jesus.
Seeing teens come to Jesus in surrender, braving the telling of their stories, opening more to Him and in return to each other, praying for each other and encouraging one another — it brings a viewer to tears because that’s the power of God at camp.
Seeing Southbrook Church encounter God was beautiful. Seeing our staff pour out like a fragrant aroma through the intentional connections and leading with sensitivity was beautiful. God is doing a great work here at camp this summer and we are encouraged to keep going.
Southbrook, you are a church filled with passion, intention and humility. May Jesus continue to be glorified in your midst.
We were having so much fun with the ladies who gathered with us last weekend, we didn’t even capture very many pictures to share with you! Which I’m completely sad about because, well, I like to share pictures with you! What matters here, however, is we had a crowd (and a waiting list) of people who wanted to carve out White Space in their lives to find fellowship, refreshment and to make a little something with their hands.
Kelsey Parrish, from Build the Spark Ministry, led us in the practice of Bible Journaling. So many of us felt a bit nervous making art directly in our Bibles (we gave each person their own journaling Bible), but as Kelsey pointed out, these were our Worship Bibles, not our study Bibles. Well, that made things all kinds of different. Reading a passage, asking God to interact with us as He desired through imagery and His Words, then allowing this to flow out through our art and/or journaling — this was a powerful and very personal process that only brought us nearer to God as we meditated on His Word!
Megan Hunt, a long time encourager-through-crafting, led us through ice dyeing, wristlet/keychain making, and postcard creating! While creating all on its own allows us to find a therapeutic refreshment, Megan helped us to also use this time to think of someone else to encourage. We ice dyed a tea towel to give away and printed a picture memory from our phones that we turned into postcards and wrote a short message on and mailed out. I think everyone left feeling inspired to continue to encourage through their crafting, and may have even found a few new things they enjoyed making while here!
We are entirely grateful for both of these ladies coming and sharing their hearts and talents with us and for each person who made time to invest in a weekend away.
We hope you’ll join us Spring 2023 for our next Craftivities Event. Don’t wait too long to register when you see the announcements! A waiting list isn’t as fun as being with us!
If I were to pick one dominant emotion evoked from week to week with these CWE volunteers, I would pick overwhelming gratitude. People! — we are busy, am I right? Life just tends to suck us in and it can feel too hard to step away from. Yet, each week we watch a new set of volunteers show up to camp, ready for the work of the week, ready for their part in this big (to us) project. And each week we feel washed with the gratitude again, just when we thought we couldn’t possibly feel any more grateful.
I was talking with one of the volunteers this past week and he was commenting on how so many of us just make so many excuses. We make up reasons why we can’t do this or that, and yet there was a man on the crew this past week with bone cancer. If anyone has an excuse it’s him, but he was so excited to be there, taking part in the work. It was convicting and left me feeling again just so grateful for all the people giving up something, stepping away from or out of their lives for a week to serve us. God weaves all our stories for His glory and there’s nothing more beautiful!
Watch this week’s video right here:
We say it a lot around here, but Volunteers, YOU are the superheroes! Thank you for inspiring, serving and leaving the fragrant aroma of your love for God behind with you!
The volunteers from last week’s group were just as excited to be serving as the first week! They were responsible for putting on the roof and siding, and they did so with gusto! Because of their hard work, they finished early and were able to enjoy a little swing by choice on our ropes course at the end!
We’ve put together a video we would love for you to watch! Let us know what you think of all that’s happening!
We are entirely grateful for each person who gives their time and energy and talent to be a part of this building! God continues to encourage us by His provision, but also His people!
Well it happened! Week one of CWE building the camper lodge has been completed. In four days, we went from concrete pad to doors and windows! People from Georgia, North and South Carolina, New Jersey, Florida and Ohio came to kick this project off.
These volunteers didn’t let weather, the fact that a boom truck driver couldn’t make it, or sore muscles slow them down. They worked hard, with such willing and cheerful hearts. It was a wonderful thing to behold.
We’ve put together a video documenting this first week of work! Check out the transformation below!
Early and still dark, my eyes opened to the realization of the rain pounding on the roof. Concrete day at camp and it was absolutely pouring rain. Noooo.God, you knew. Why today? Up the road, Marty was having the exact same experience from his own bed. Doesn’t it sometimes feel like God isn’t hearing us or might not care as much as we think He should? Boy, how wrong we are to think like that. He’s all about getting the most glory, so He keeps us on the edge of our seats, desperately needing Him so we can be in awe of Him.
We all went through our morning routines, getting ready, grabbing work gear and shuttling out the door. It might be raining, but we were still showing up. We drove up to the pad where the work was supposed to be taking place and found work crews huddled in their trucks, watching their weather apps predict rain all day. We sent texts asking people to pray, we sent out a call on social media to pray; please, God, stop the rain and allow the work to be done.
What might have seemed forever was only a handful of minutes. With workers standing by, the pump truck arriving, multiple concrete trucks en route, and an audience on social media and text praying hard, we saw the glory of God. The rain not only stopped, but as if by some divine wind, the clouds cleared out and the sun was out ALL DAY LONG!!
Because of the sun, the temperature warmed just enough to move the process along rather swiftly. The hard work of the crew, the orchestration and timing of God allowed our slab to be poured before CWE arrives to build!
Every day before and after the day of the concrete pour we had rain upon rain upon rain. But for one important day God showed us He controls the weather, He provides all we need, He listens, is personal and more than cares. I’m so thankful we get to see Him working up close and personal. I’m so thankful for all of you who care enough to pray and share this journey with us.
Watch the video of the process up to this point! To God be the glory!
In preparation for the camper lodge to be built by CWE in a couple weeks, Marty has had the monumental task of getting the foundation completed before their arrival. Sounds easy enough. But it’s winter here in Robbinsville, in the midst of “Covid” times (which seems to make all the difference), and operating on the policies of local small town businesses (which means their time schedules allow for more flexibility). Needless to say, Marty hasn’t been sleeping much under the weight of this.
Do you ever struggle with the balance of trusting God to accomplish on your behalf and “being concerned” [read: stressing, worrying, etc] over accomplishing your part of the job? When we feel the pressure, the crunch, the squeeze, we tend to default into “I’ll Control This” Mode. We feel everything depends on us in order to succeed. True, Marty is responsible to do the work it requires to line up the workers, order the supplies ahead of them and follow a certain time table. Also true, Marty’s work fully depends on other people showing up and doing the work. Depending on others, even God, can sometimes cause us to feel stress because they are our of our control. Marty, in the midst of his “concern,” has been in a constant state of conversation with God, calling out to Him to provide and make things happen. Maybe that’s the secret: maintaining a posture of reliance on God’s orchestration and goodness, while releasing control and remaining faithful to our part of the job. In light of all this, we wanted to share this story of God’s goodness with you.
One day recently, Marty was feeling stressed about finding a plumber after the scheduled one had just backed out (due to health reasons). The dominoes, as it were, were already set up so this would affect everything else. Along with this, he was trying to hunt down supplies for the slab prep. Heading into town on an errand, his mind was consumed with these worries and more. Autopilot is an amazing (and slightly scary) thing when we drive, isn’t it? Before he realized it, “the truck” had headed through town and was going home! He finally “came to” and was about to turn back into town when he decided maybe he’d just drop in on some guys he knows working a job site not far from there.
While there, Marty ended up sharing his struggles. He mentioned having exhausted his list of plumbers and asked if they knew of any that could show up in a couple days. One of the guys that happened to be there that day casually said, “I’m a plumber. I can do it for you.” What?You’ve gotta be kidding me. Okay, how about this: where could he get supplies for the slab prep? Another guy said, “You can get it a welding supply house about thirty minutes out!” Seriously? The place we get CO2 for paintball? Oh, how God of Him. Flabbergasted is an understatement. Marty showed up to a job site he didn’t mean to drive to and had both of that day’s insurmountable problems solved.
Yes, we are to remain faithful to our part of the work God gives us to do, but even more so we are to fully depend on our good and very personal God to meet all of our needs within the work. Friend, we have seen many miracles and provisions and personal moments like these throughout our years in camp ministry at Whisper Mountain, yet we still become so shocked when He does it again. Maybe it’s because we know ourselves and how our faith can waver and how we struggle with switching the internal setting to “He is God” Mode.
Whatever insurmountable problem facing you today, remain faithful and fully trust your God to accomplish the work for you. For His Glory Alone!
We look forward to showing you the foundation progress soon! Until then, celebrate His goodness with us today.
If there’s ever been anything good to come from C0V1D, it’s been our partnership with a ministry called CWE — Christians for Worldwide Evangelism. “CWE’s desire is to see people from the U.S. have their lives ‘transformed’ on the foreign mission field.” Typically, CWE sends volunteers overseas to help build churches, etc for missionaries. With travel being restricted in these times, they turned inward to the states to serve! Whisper Mountain Camp became a place they wanted to partner with! PRAISE THE LORD FOR SUCH A PARTNERSHIP!
As you may know, we’ve been collecting funds for new camper lodging for a couple years now. Going into debt and turning away larger groups who want the Whisper Mountain experience are not options we can live with. So when CWE came along, we felt God’s provision as a welcome relief! Per the usual, His provision always involves bringing more people into the community to accomplish the goal! God’s economy.
Though it’s not our original plan — they make these things happen by being very concise and organized — we are thrilled to be having them build a 28-person lodge with bathrooms directly in the lodge. Here’s the miracle part: they cover 75% of the costs, we pay 25%. Because of people giving to the building fund, we have our 25%. I don’t know if you realize how much a building costs but THIS IS HUGE!!!!! And we keep pinching ourselves — God is GREATLY providing!
We’ve had representatives from CWE here a couple times now to see the build site, to meet with suppliers and make orders and plans so when they begin to show up with volunteers the third week of March we will be ready for go time!
Here’s how it will work: they find volunteers for four different work weeks, so it’s only a week long commitment for people. Those volunteers will have specific jobs to have completed by the end of their week. So after four weeks, if all goes as planned (pray it does!), the cabin will be move-in ready by mid-April. WHICH MEANS: more room for campers THIS summer!!!
There will be skilled people who lead the unskilled workers each week! IF YOU WANT TO COME WITH CWE FOR A WEEK TO HELP US BUILD:fill out their volunteer form here. We would love to have your footprints on our ministry: Please don’t hesitate to get involved in this project! Let us know if you have any questions! At the very least, praise God with us as He has provided yet again for the vision He’s given us here at Whisper Mountain Camp.
We are continuing to catch you up on the progress of our land for the new camper lodge build this spring. (Did you see this post?) Well, one of them…but that is a story for another post! Today we are showing you how we painted the mountain green!
Before the spraying came the hard, grunt work of cleaning up the sides of the mountains. Raking the rocks out, clearing out the roots, setting the pipe to help steer the drainage down the right parts of the mountain. This kind of work never has anyone excited, but it’s the necessary work everyone gets on board with together. Many hands make light work, or something like that. Dave and Nancy Houchin have been such willing help — we couldn’t be more thankful for them!
Once the ground was prepped, we made the call to our hydroseed guy (Hey, Josh Stephens!), and he began the magical work of spraying our mountain green!
Of course rain on the green is the ideal situation. And of course, we had a bit of a drought following the spray, so we had a few people pass through last spring who hand watered our baby seeds. Isn’t that just true service? I mean really! The small things really are the big things! Not only did they help save the precious investment of hydroseed, they also helped our mountain have lush, green grass all summer long!
Stay tuned for more progress posts to come! Oh, and have we got a curve ball story for you!
This post was written in June of 2021 but was forgotten 🤦🏼♀️ …Let’s begin here anyways!
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!