AN INSIDER’S VIEW ON LIVES TRANSFORMED
AN INSIDER’S VIEW ON LIVES TRANSFORMED
Featuring STORIES, PROJECT UPDATES & IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS. Summer 2013
Hello Warm greetings from beautiful Mount Hermon, and welcome to the second edition of Kindling, lovingly prepared just for our inner circle of supporters. These summer days are gorgeous, filled with sunshine and clean mountain breezes. As I write this, the Conference Center, Ponderosa Lodge, Redwood Camp and Kidder Creek are filled with happy campers passionately experiencing a week at their “Mount Hermon home.” I look on with thankfulness at the myriad of relationships represented here: husbands, wives, brothers, sisters,
“She put her arm around me and just started praying. Out of nowhere, I felt the presence of something bright and full of love” mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and best friends—the combinations are endless. Some may share the bonds of blood, but all of us share the bond of Jesus. We are part of the Kingdom family, children of God. I envision the loving arms of our Father as he embraces all of us, regardless of surnames or genetic linking. Each summer I know I’ll meet more of my “heavenly family,” the people with whom I’ll spend eternity. As Mount Hermon staff we passionately embrace our part in sharing the love of our Savior to all
who enter these grounds—to bring them one step closer into a relationship with Jesus. That mission drives us forward each day, to grow the “family” into a relationship with Jesus and to see their lives transformed. I wanted to share a story with you from Jennifer, a precious daughter in our heavenly family who had a lifetransforming experience during her time at Ponderosa Lodge last summer: “On Wednesday night at camp during worship, something amazing happened. After ten years of lying and crying, complaining and hating, God washed over me in one small motion, but a huge movement occurred within me. A counselor turned around and saw me sitting in the back of the amphitheater. She came and sat next to me. She put her arm around me and just started praying. Out of nowhere, I felt the presence of something bright and full of love, rather than the presence of self–hatred. I was crying before I knew it and I was truly feeling the love of God and His Holy Spirit moving in the crowd and in me.” You, our faithful ones—those who serve, support and pray for Mount Hermon— are an integral part of Jennifer’s story. Thank you for being partners in all that is happening here. Remember, I am always as close as your phone or email, so please feel free to connect with me and let me know what is on your heart. Blessings,
Sarah Cooper—Living the Camp Dream One children’s ministry intern & many summers
Expecting the Unexpected An update from the Redwood Society
Mount Hermon’s Adventure Man An interview with Nate Pfefferkorn, Director of Mount Hermon Adventures
Volunteers Come in Family Packages On volunteering as a family
All in the Family Two siblings from Norway & their journey to Mount Hermon
Reporting Back An update on three exciting youth projects from last summer.
There’s Something Special About Summer And, it’s our specialty
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CELEBRATION August 17–18, 2013
Saturday to Sunday
Family friendly, including programs for children
Just before Creating a Legacy Conference
As Mount Hermon Associates has grown, we have recognized the need to add another Celebration date. The August AIM Celebration has the benefit of children’s programming for those who’d like to bring their kids. This is a great time for those who are invested in the ministry of Mount Hermon to hear how their gifts are changing lives and providing for our infrastructure needs.
Please don’t hesitate to call 831.430.1244
STAFF ALU MNI
Sarah Cooper BY ANDREW SUMMERS
Sarah Cooper is living the camp dream! All of us who grew up attending camp for a week each summer consider ourselves pretty lucky. Sarah has gotten to experience ten weeks of camp every summer for almost her whole life!
Her mom, Leslie, ran the Child Care and Day Camp programs at Family Camp for years, which meant that Sarah got the fun of a week at camp, but all summer long. “Summer has always been my favorite season; every summer it was like getting 40 new siblings in the form of the summer staffers who worked for my mom,” she told me. It was only natural that when she was old enough she would be on staff. One of the unique parts of Sarah’s story is she has worked at all four Mount Hermon locations. She has worked as a one–on– one Day Camp counselor with special needs students, at Kidder Creek as a wilderness counselor, administration lead and currently program lead at Redwood Camp, and a season of Fall Frenzies at Ponderosa Lodge. Sarah has fallen in love with Mount Hermon and the ministry that takes place here. She told me, “I love getting to Sarah with her counselor Bouncer in 1998
be involved in the ministry and getting to see people come to know Jesus; I accepted Jesus at Day Camp when I was six. Watching the summer staff interact and seeing their faith has always inspired me to pursue a life of faith. The way this community comes alongside people represents the body of Christ so well and I love to be a part of that.”
“Every summer it was like getting 40 new siblings.”
Sara Cooper, children’s ministry intern
Sarah’s love and passion for camp is incredibly apparent. Now that we’re in the midst of her favorite season, she couldn’t be more excited! “I’m excited to see how our program is playing out with campers! I’m excited about our theme and our staff and how God is using both of those things to impact lives. And I’m excited we have full camps this summer!” Sarah and her boss, Chafer Cox, Director of Children’s Ministry, have been working diligently for months to plan and implement the program at Redwood this summer. Students will be transported to Foreverland, a new take on the Peter Pan story, where
students will learn what it means to forever be a child of God. Sarah told us she hopes kids will walk away knowing they are children of God, they are wanted and desired, and they are not just invited into a relationship with their heavenly father, but they are pursued by him. We’re grateful to have Sarah as part of our team, and even more grateful that she’ll be with us for another year, this time as the Youth and Young Adult Ministries intern! Please join us in praying for Sarah and the whole Redwood staff as they minister to full camps for the rest of the summer!
Sarah, summer 2013 at Redwood Camp
Expecting the Unexpected BY DAVID TALBOTT
It was totally unexpected: an estate gift from a friend of Mount Hermon for $457,000! None of our staff or Board of Directors knew the generous woman who years ago made provision in her plans to bless all of us. Recently updated Huckleberry Cabin
The gift came in late February, while the staff and Board were grappling with guest surveys that indicated an increasing concern for the upgrading of lodging units; many of our hotel rooms and cabins were in serious need of freshening. Our biggest need is for cabins and larger hotel rooms, which are always in high demand for families, to provide an atmosphere for comfortable family interaction, free from distractions of worn–out or shabby surroundings. About $300,000 of the estate gift has been designated by the Board of Directors for the upgrading of 27 cabins and lodge units! The work began this spring with vigor. Some places just needed fresh paint, or perhaps just new carpeting. Others also need new furniture, drapes, flooring, and renewed kitchens. The results are spectacular, and are already being noticed and appreciated by our guests this summer. Some will have to wait until the fall for completion, but many are currently being enjoyed by family campers this summer. The remaining $157,000 was coupled with funds already budgeted for security enhancements. Guests this summer can’t help but notice the new key–card door lock systems installed in the majority of our lodging rooms, as well as a variety of other security measures throughout the property. Historically, Mount Hermon has only received about 1–3% of operating income from estate gifts, while most major non– profits count on 20–25% to come from that source. Since it can never be budgeted, each thoughtful gift that comes from this
source is a reason for rejoicing, and meets real needs, some on–going, and some for emergency use. Each gift received means someone did careful and prayerful planning, usually far in advance of when Mount Hermon sees the results. Over the past several years we have seen God work powerfully through those who have remembered Mount Hermon in their estate plans. Time after time He has blessed us hugely and unexpectedly, providing for some of our most pressing needs. This most recent gift is another integral piece of the puzzle of God’s plans for Mount Hermon. We are so grateful for those who have chosen to leave part of their legacy here. God uses each gift to transform lives!
The Redwood Society was launched last year to encourage and thank Mount Hermon’s friends who have remembered the ministry in their estate gift planning. To date, 121 family units are part of the charter member group. The first celebration banquet for charter members was held in May, with over 80 members attending. For a brochure or more information, contact: dave.talbott@mounthermon. org, or call David at (831) 430–1241. Charter membership is open through December 31, 2013.
ADVENTURE MAN INTERVIEW BY KERRY PHIBBS
In April 2010 Mount Hermon was truly blessed by the arrival of Nate and Allison Pfefferkorn. Now, just three years later and with our Adventure programs exploding, Nate is an integral part of this ministry. We thought you might enjoy learning a little more about Nate and his passion for Adventure Recreation in Christian camping. Nate, tell us a little about your family and how the Lord brought you to Mount Hermon. Allison and I had known about Mount Hermon for years. We were living and working in Portland for Team Synergo—a design–build company specific to the challenge course industry. I was contacted about a position Mount Hermon had managing the Redwood Canopy Tour, Team Building program and challenge course facilities. I loved my work and the people at Team Synergo, but it required lots of travel. With two young daughters
at home I felt like I was neglecting my marriage and my parenting responsibilities. Within three months after we decided, we had sold our home, moved, and were settled at Mount Hermon! Give us a sound bite of your ministry philosophy within the world of adventure recreation. I have a passion for God’s creation and have seen firsthand the transformative power of combining meaningful activity with being outdoors. My goal at Mount Hermon is to use creation as the powerful setting in which we create unique and memorable learning experiences. We work with overnight guest groups, Mount Hermon programs, and the general public (day–use guests.) In all cases our philosophy is the same, it is just our language and methodology that differ. The final end goal of all we do is to draw all our guests one step closer to Jesus. Nate racing in Mount Hermon colors.
11 Nate, Allison and their daughters Sydney & Stella.
Whatâ€™s exciting on the horizon in Adventure world? Adventure is becoming a key component of the Mount Hermon story. Guests want to participate in an adventure experience, but most people are limited by time, materials, experience and even physical ability. Part of the reason our Redwood Canopy Tour is so popular is because it allows guests to have an adventure in a safe environment where all the equipment, training and expertise is provided for them. This allows the guest to really focus on the experience, their feelings, their friends, and to consider the impact of the adventure on their broader life. Moving forward, these types of experiences will
continue to grow in popularity and impact. We are looking forward to being a leader in how to use and program adventure for Jesus, and in training other programs in how to do this as well. In the upcoming months and years, look for expanded cycling programs, offâ€“site day adventures of rockâ€“climbing, kayaking and surfing, recreational tree climbing, and more aerial challenge experiences. Please join us in praying for Nate and the whole Adventure team! Pray that as they grow in numbers they be bound together in purpose and unity, and that each guest that participates in an adventure or recreation program be drawn one step closer to Jesus.
Volunteers Come in Family Packages
BY LISA OLSON
Passing on our values to our children is one of the paramount responsibilities of parents who love Jesus. We seek opportunities to model for our kids our faith, values and character in many ways. With that in mind, a few years ago we began to offer a simple, familyâ€“friendly way for parents to model volunteer service by working alongside their children at family camp. Each week we provide opportunities for families to work together on projects that require little to no skill, are safe for all ages, and yet provide an essential service that contributes to the ministry in significant ways.
These family projects require only about an hour and a half on an afternoon during the week of camp. They are selected to set families up for success, and to allow for conversation and fun in the process. A facilitator works with each group of families, not only to set up the project, but to give the context, make sure every member understands how their work contributes to the greater ministry objective, and to debrief the experience at the end. This gives families the opportunity to verbalize the importance of living out their faith and values through works that serve others.
This summer family projects will include simple things like washing vehicles that are used to transport campers, removing invasive, nonâ€“native species like English Ivy that are detrimental to the ecosystem around the creeks at Mount Hermon, and straightening and maintaining our prayer labyrinth near the waterfall. Our hope is that an hour or so washing vans at Mount Hermon will begin a conversation that will go home with our families, prompting more than just talk, but action as they reach out to serve their communities in the name of Christ.
All in the Family BY KERRY PHIBBS
Armand Langmo and his sister Torunn were born in Norway and came to the United States when they were 12 and 10 respectively. Today, Armand and his wife Kathleen live here in Mount Hermon. Not too far down the street and around the corner, Torunn lives with her husband, Ron Sunde. Both of these warm and energetic couples are vital parts of our Mount Hermon community. They generously volunteer their time and partner with us in our Mount Hermon Associates family. I asked them to share a little of their story about how they came to Mount Hermon and what their involvement with this ministry means to them.
What brought you to Mount Hermon? ARMAND When I was 12, a family in our San Francisco Church invited us to go with them on an outing to Mount Hermon. We loved the redwoods, and the camp facilities were the best we’d seen. We rented cabins and made many visits to Mount Hermon during those growing–up years. TORUNN Armand and I came to Mount Hermon soon after we arrived from Norway, in the 50’s. We rented a cabin with another family from our church in San Francisco. We lived right in the city, so coming here in the summer, away from foggy San Francisco, was something we loved. Ron and I started attending Family Camp when our kids were toddlers. We decided to buy a cabin here, to enjoy the surroundings, the warm weather and the camps more often.
Has God surprised you in any way through your involvement with Mount Hermon? ARMAND & KATHLEEN After my retirement and through the volunteer program, I was able to use my engineering/construction management skills and experience to further God’s kingdom. That was a surprise. RON & TORUNN Last year we decided to downsize and leave San Francisco, which was a big adjustment for a city girl, but we love it here! Our greatest blessings have been the friendships and the welcome we’ve received.
What compelled you to join the Mount Hermon Associates? ARMAND & KATHLEEN We both came to believe in the ministry of Mount Hermon and wanted to be part of the permanent support group. We purchased property here and wanted to be “on the inside” of what is happening here. RON AND TORUNN We served on the Advisory Committee for several years and when the Associates started we wanted to continue. We believe in Mount Hermon’s ministry, have benefited from it, and want to support it in any way we can.
How has God worked in your life through being a Mount Hermon Associate? ARMAND & KATHLEEN Our circle of contacts with people who share our interests has increased dramatically. It has given our retirement years special meaning as we support a ministry that helps people find Christ. The Langmo’s and Sunde’s are just four of the very special people that have chosen to be a part of our Associates family. They, along with you, are making a difference in lives for Jesus here at Mount Hermon. Thank you. If you have questions or know other ministry friends that would like to join our Mount Hermon Associates, please contact Kerry Phibbs at 831–430–1237 or firstname.lastname@example.org left: Armand & Torunn in Norway bottom: Ron & Torunn right: Armand & Kathleen
Last summer we presented the opportunity to our donors to give to some new and exciting projects at our three youth camps: Kidder Creek, Redwood Camp, and Ponderosa Lodge. We are thrilled to report that all three projects were fully funded and ready to be used by campers this summer! Hundreds of students have already taken advantage of these new treasures! Thank you to all who made these projects possible!
New Welcome Deck KIDDER CREEK
replace with people
New Treehouse REDWOOD CAMP
70+ Kids Funded This Summer GIVE CAMP 331 I CAMP
This spring you got a letter about our friend Silas, a special kid who wanted to go to camp, but was unable to, due to his familyâ€™s financial situation. The response to this letter was tremendous! Thank you so much to those of you who gave towards our Campership Fund to send kids like Silas to camp! We received enough to send more than 70 kids to camp this summer! We are so grateful for the part you are playing in the life transformation that is happening to dozens of kids at Mount Hermon this year.
There’s something special about summer BY J.R. LOOFBOURROW
od transforms thousands of lives all year long at Mount Hermon, but there is just something extra special about summer!
Recently while on the phone thanking a woman for her support, the Lord reminded me how important Mount Hermon is to His Kingdom plans.
I think it’s all the kids. Did you know more people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior between the ages of 4 and 14 than at any other time in life? Mount Hermon specializes in ministering to these kids, and the fruit is often much more than we think.
Years ago her oldest child (who was 8 years old at the time) came home from Redwood Camp and asked: “Daddy, do you have Jesus in your heart like I do?" That innocent question had been inspired by the Holy Spirit’s work in his child’s heart
while attending Redwood Camp. Out of the mouth of this 8–year–old came a loving question with eternal implications that Daddy couldn’t ignore. Daddy mumbled something, but he was not a Jesus–follower, not yet. What started at Redwood Camp had now spilled over onto him and the following summer the Lord got a hold of his heart for good, guess where? That’s right— Mount Hermon!
It’s summertime at Mount Hermon and once again extra special things are happening, just like they did years ago for a daddy and his 8–year–old. Thank you for your prayers, participation and support; it’s making a difference today and tomorrow!
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Mount Hermon P.O. Box 413 Mount Hermon, CA 95041
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COPYRIGHT © 2013 Mount Hermon Christian Camps & Conference Center PO Box 413 Mount Hermon, CA 95041 main 831.335.4466 fax 831.335.9218 mounthermon.org
ABOUT Mount Hermon is a non–profit, interdenominational and evangelical center dedicated to proclaiming Jesus Christ through year–round camps and conferences. Roger E. Williams, President & Chief Executive Officer.
cover Fun on Sequoia Adventure Course, Misha Velasquez contents Summer Light, Paul Alkhato additional photography Joe Johnson, Ruth Nyquist & Josh Bootz
kindling is printed in Santa Cruz, California by Sentinel Printers, and is graciously processed for mailing by our many Action Ministries volunteers who support Mount Hermon through their efforts. A digital version of kindling is available at mounthermon.org