Sunday, September 21, 2008

Long Term Impact

While in Lancaster we had a big get together with many of our friends from "back in the day"... friends from Calvary Bible Church, high school, and the southern PA area. Joining us that evening were some very special friends who we had not seen in at least seven years. Jeff and Sue Ann Harbold were leaders in our student ministry at Calvary Bible Church during our high school days. Kelly and many of her friends knew the Harbolds from even earlier, through Calvary and Christian School of York. The seven year span of time was mostly due to the fact that Jeff and Sue Ann have been living and ministering in Thailand.

This big get together was being held at Rhoads' where we were spending the night. As the evening rolled on and friends said, "good night", the six of us (the Harbolds, Rhoadses, and Myerses) sat in the living room looking at pictures and bursting out in laughter as each of told stories from "back in the day".

Jeff brought up a memory of our student ministry trip to Haiti where we served alongside the Lippy family. Jeff asked me if I remember walking through one of the villages, turning to him and saying, "Isn't it amazing. God loves these little children from this village just as much as He loves you and I." Jeff looked right at me and said that he has spoken about that trip and the work God was doing in my heart many times since then. Wow! What an impact...on me, on Jeff, on people Jeff has talked with. Wow!

On the plane ride out to Seattle I mentioned to Kelly that I was starting to remember that comment that I made to Jeff...I had a pretty clear picture of the village we were walking through. Then I told Kelly about how Jeff was one of the first godly men who really impacted me as a young guy in high school. So, I shared one of my memories from back in the day.

At summer camp Jeff was our Sr. High counselor. During the week of camp Jeff told me (and a few of the other guys gathered around) that if we ever needed anything that he would be there for us. Then he wrote his name and phone number in my Bible. From our time at church and that specific week of camp, I knew he meant it. Jeff (and Sue Ann) has kept that promise. Even in Thailand they have been praying for our family over the past year... and thus, they have been a great support and encouragement to us. We praise God for the impact they have had on our lives.

Check out my Bible from back in the day:

A Real Vacation

Well, we are back at camp! We had a wonderful vacation after a good long summer season. We packed up and headed for southern PA for the first few days of September. I had some students that I wanted to connect with at Lancaster Bible College. Kelly, Natalie and I visited some staff alumni in the area. We were very eager to spend some time together with her family and some friends. I also had an evening prayer coffee that I wanted to attend at LBC.

From there just Kelly and I, flew from Baltimore, MD to Seattle, Washington. We zipped all the way out to the west coast to spent 10 days with our dear friends Dave and Michelle Parker. The Parker's had been full time at Rock Mountain Bible Camp up until last year when they moved to Seattle. Over the past five years the four of us have become very close. Our bound of friendship and ministry like-mindedness has been a great blessing from God. It was an exciting adventure to visit with them, to see what God was doing in and through them, and to see the west coast.

Our time in Seattle was long and short, relaxing and busy, quiet and noisy, difficult and easy. It was a blessing for me to disengage from camp...which I found to be surprisingly easy. It was difficult to be away from Natalie but at the same time it was fun to run around as a couple. The first few days made the whole trip seems as if we were not going to have enough time, but in the end it felt like just the right amount of days to be away. The three hour time change kind of threw us for a loop...but we handled it well by sleeping in a lot...a lot. We enjoyed tons of great food...tons. Kelly and I loved being in a port city. Kelly really loved it...I liked being there on vacation. It was fascinating to explore all the unique sections of town - upscale, downtown, the west side, the university district, and so on.

It was great being there with Dave and Michelle. It seemed like we were tourists with an inside edge. We saw a bunch of the foo-foo touristee things, but we also made it around to all the little known hidden places that made our trip special. We also had the exciting opportunity to attend Mars Hill Church (where Dave serves full time) each of the two Sundays we were out there. I am thankful to experience first hand, this church and ministry which has been a good source of spiritual fuel at camp over the past three or four years. In many ways Mars Hill is much like all other churches. It has some unique qualities, but those are a result of the culture and geographic location. The reason Mars Hill is moving forward - is that they are making disciples. They are creating (spiritually) healthy leaders, who create healthy people, who create a healthy church, whose (the church is the people) desire is to impact the city of seattle, making it healthy.

We had a great vacation! I am grateful for the time away to relax and prepare. I praise God that this vacation was not an escape to recover from summer ministry burnout. By God's grace we had a healthy summer of camp. Of course, we were tired and ready to stop, but we were not burned out and used up. Our vacation was a time of relaxation to prepare for the next season of ministry. As we settle back in to the "hustle and bustle" of Brackney, God continues to give us time of relaxation and renewal...preparing us for the fall and winter. We have retreats this month and next. After that is a short time of staff recruiting, turn around for winter temperatures, and preparation for a long season of winter retreats.

Thanks for keeping in touch, enjoy the vacation pictures...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You Know Summer is Over When...

Well, we've successfully made it through another summer of camp ministry. Today was the FIRST day since the beginning of June...that camp is completely quiet. There's no one here but the three of us. 10 straight weeks of ministry...calls for a little relaxation.

Stay tuned...

We're going to take a little vacation. When we get back, I'll recap the summer and tell you about our vacation. Thanks for keeping up with camp and our family. Thank you for supporting us in prayer through the summer.