Page 1

Volume 43 • Issue 3/3 • Fall 2013

® ADMINISTRATION President Dr. Steve Hostetter

130 decis

Dean of the College Dr. Steven Ware Vice President for Advancement Joan Berntson

Christian camping

Executive Vice President Carol Nelson

is a powerful tool that God uses to impact lives for His Kingdom.

Dean of Student Life/Youth Ministry Director Dr. Randy McKain Director of Admissions Michael Barnes Camp Oak Hills Director Scott Buchan Center for Indian Ministries Director Zane Williams

DIRECTION MAGAZINE Volume 43 • Issue 3/3 • Fall 2013 Editor Rachel Johnson Director of Marketing & Communications Layout and Design Brent Johnson - Consultant

OAK HILLS FELLOWSHIP INC. 1600 Oak Hills Road SW Bemidji, Minnesota 56601 • 218.751.8670 Oak Hills is located along the shores of Lake Marquette in northern Minnesota. For over eight decades, the staff of Oak Hills have helped people pursue Christian maturity by teaching the truth from God’s Word that changes lives. Today they achieve this through three focused ministries: Oak Hills Christian College focuses on biblical education. Students may choose from eight bachelor degrees, three associate degrees, or a oneyear Bible certificate. Camp Oak Hills offers a quality, Christian camp experience for youth, while pursuing a vision for year-round ministry to families and adults. Center for Indian Ministries reaches out to the Native American community to bring them the hope of Jesus Christ. The Mokahum Ministry Center provides culturally relevant Bible training for our Native American brothers and sisters.

When removed from their normal daily routine and placed in a setting where campers experience genuine community, interact with the Word of God, and experience the outdoors, campers are primed to make major life commitments that can determine the trajectory of the rest of their lives. In turn, these campers return to their neighborhoods and make a significant impact for the Lord in their homes, churches, schools, and communities. They become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ, bringing glory to God as they live out the greatest commandment and carry out the great commission. It is with this vision six Bemidji men who met under an oak tree on the shores of Lake Marquette one cold, snowy day in 1925 prayed “Lord, give us this land.” They asked God to give them this piece of land for a Christian camp and training center. Their dream was realized the next summer when Camp Oak Hills was born. The camp closed in 1982 but God wasn’t finished with it yet. More than 80 years after the initial vision, Camp Oak Hills re-opened in the summer of 2009.

sions for Christ Once again Camp Oak Hills was filled with the sounds of children and youth fully enjoying a Christ-centered, fun-filled summer camp experience. In that first summer, the total number of guests served including campers and staff was 367. Through the blessing of God and the tireless efforts of the leadership, Camp Oak Hills has expanded in multiple ways in the past five years adding campers, facilities, programs, and more. We are grateful to the Lord for the 687 guests that were served this past summer. Some time ago I was representing Oak Hills at the Beltrami County Fair when an elderly gentleman stopped by, took a seat, and chatted with me for a while. He proceeded to tell me his story; how he first came to Christ at Camp Oak Hills and then had that faith strengthened through subsequent years at camp. Through the ups and downs of life over many years, he never wavered in his commitment to Christ, and he grew in his faith and had a significant impact in the lives of others. This is the mission of Camp Oak Hills – to develop lifelong followers of Jesus Christ! In these first five years, more than 130 campers have made the decision to trust Christ as Savior and another 200 plus made other significant spiritual commitments and decisions. Our mission at Camp Oak Hills is succeeding! Truly God has been at work in the lives of the campers helping them to begin and continue on the narrow road as lifelong followers of Jesus Christ.

But God has called us to do more! Our vision at Camp Oak Hills is to become a year-round camping facility so children, youth, adults and families have the opportunity to experience God in this retreatlike setting so they might become “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor,� (Isaiah 61:3, NIV). A lot of work remains ahead of us in order to reach that goal, but God can make all things possible and through His work, this vision can become real.

Dr. Steve Hostetter

President, Oak Hills Christian College

College Life ,

Camping Ministry Not your typical 9-5 job Tony Masurka, Oak Hills alumnus -’99 Graduating with a double major in Camp Ministry and Psychology, Tony is now the Executive Director of Camp JIM, a 4-season Bible camp near Pillager, Minnesota. I enrolled at Oak Hills as a psychology major when all my friends were camp majors. I teased them that camping was not a real job and that they just wanted to play all their lives. My goal was to work with rural churches to provide quality biblical counseling in areas where that was not easily accessible. By my senior year, however, I had begun to question counseling as a career and added Camp Ministry as a second major. My time at Oak Hills and internship at Camp Forest Springs prepared me well for the skills I would need to serve in camp ministry. I have been privileged to serve as the Executive Director of Camp JIM since 2004. Basically I am a glorified delegator; supervising the day to day operations of camp, leading staff, planning with the board, promoting our camp, and working with guests. In the winter months my family travels with me to churches to share about Christ and the camp ministry. It's not a typical 9-5 job and summers often demand 14-18 hour days, so it can be hard on a family. However, seeing people transform through our ministry makes it all worth it. Each day is different and it’s a great place to minister if you like variety, challenge, and working with people. Christian camps are able to reach people in unique ways by providing a safe environment where campers are free of the stresses and distractions found in their normal surrounding; where we can share about Christ in all we do. We are a tool of the church, to reach those who don't go to traditional church with the goal of connecting them to a local body of believers for continued spiritual growth.

For more information about Camp JIM, Check out this website:

Camp ministry needs to be where you and God want you to be. If you have a desire to serve others in a camp setting, I recommend Oak Hills’ Camp Ministry Program as a great way to start. Many camps like Camp JIM also offer summer or post college internships to help you understand the ministry better.

Pat Petkau (right) is executive director of Camp Forest Springs Pat has 28 years of experience in the camping ministry. He has his Bachelor from Prairie Bible College, Alberta, Canada, and his Masters from Wheaton Graduate School. Norm Hoyt (left) is director of educational ministries at Camp Forest Springs Norm has 20 years of experience in the camping ministry. He has his Bachelor from Northeastern Bible College, Essex Falls, NJ, and his Masters from Wheaton Graduate School. Together they oversee the onsite year-long LTD program.

Camping Major Leadership, Training, and Development Training future leaders for Christian Camping World-Wide Oak Hills Christian College began a partnership in 1991 offering a Camp Ministry degree to students who are anxious to pursue a full-time ministry in Christian camping. Students in this major have the fantastic opportunity to spend 3 years on campus… and their senior year of college at Camp Forest Springs®, a cutting edge year-round Christian camp. The camping major program offered by Camp Forest Springs began in 1976 and is known as the LTD program… Leadership Training and Development. The goal of this one-year program is to provide the EXPERIENCE of working in a Christian camp, and the EDUCATION to support that experience. Students work alongside their missionary staff to serve campers throughout the year, but they also sit in on classes by camping professionals, studying topics like Philosophy of Ministry, Program Design, Camp Maintenance, Food Service and Marketing. Oak Hills Christian College is one of several colleges and universities that utilize this highly respected program to effectively equip those students interested in this venue of ministry. By combining education and experience in a fully functioning year-round Christian camp, graduates from this program have been able to step into camping roles across the country and around the world. Our students join more than 200 graduates of the LTD program now serving in 15 countries around the world, along in 20 states across the USA. Tony Masurka (LTD-’99) is one such example. Tony and his wife Linda came through the LTD program as a young couple, anxious to transform their passion for Christian camping into a camping leadership position where God could use them for His glory. Immediately upon his graduation, Tony and Linda accept the leadership role at Miracle Bible Camp in Hackensack, MN, where they served until 2004. At that point, they transitioned to the camp directorship at Camp JIM. Both Oak Hills and Camp Forest Springs continue to enjoy a great relationship with Tony and Linda.

For more information about Camp Forest Springs’ LTD program, check out this website:

Photo by Monte Draper - Bemidji Pioneer.

Corbin McCray Counselor 2013 Corbin McCray (left), and a “Trailblazer” camper

Camp Oak Hills - Prayer Request Camp Oak Hills kitchen burns and leaves main lodge with major damage. Pray for Camp Oak Hills as we trust the Lord for His guidance and make plans to care for this facility in preparation for summer camps in 2014.

Corbin McCray is a freshman studying Youth Ministry at Oak Hills Christian College. Having attended Bible camp as a youth, Corbin served as a counselor for the first time at Camp Oak Hills this past summer. Growing up, I’d experienced wonderful spiritual growth at Bible camps. Having the opportunity to interact with other Christian kids in a setting where you weren’t shunned for loving God was something I looked forward to every summer. I really felt God pushing me toward camp counseling. I enjoyed each of the age groups in different ways. The young “day-campers” were so impressionable and full of energy. They looked up to us and had respect for the counselors that other age groups didn’t. However, the experience that had the most profound impact on me this summer came from the junior high group. Out of my group of 10, I knew three of them were Christians since I go to church with them but I had no idea about the other seven. On the second to last night of camp, our speaker challenged campers to come forward and make commitments to Christ in front of all their peers. All seven of the kids in my group went up and accepted Christ as their savior. Some of them sat back down afterward but three in particular stayed up front, having been moved to tears by the impact of the decision they’d made. These campers spent the rest of their time asking forgiveness from everyone they’d picked on at camp during the week. It was incredible to witness these campers turning a new page in their lives and seeing the transformation Christ can bring to young people at camp. The overall experience at Camp Oak Hills was amazing and far exceeded my expectations. It was awesome to be part of a community that really cares for and loves the kids the way God loves them.

Camp Life

Scott Buchan

Camp Oak Hills Director Camping Major - 2004

A Whirlwind of a Summer Ministry

In camp ministry, every day is a whirlwind of activity as the staff strives to provide a camp experience that builds memories and friendships and points campers to a relationship with Jesus. Some days are smooth sailing and other days are tumultuous, but we are reminded that no matter what happens, God is faithful and uses our best efforts to build His Kingdom. This summer marked our fifth summer of ministry by serving more campers and guests than ever with 410 attending youth camps and wilderness trips, 111 attending the Red Lake and Ponemah adventure camps, and 166 attending with guest groups. Total served this season was 687. Despite the apparent chaos of camp, we see God working every week in the lives of campers. This summer 37 young people received Christ’s gift of salvation, 13 rededicated their lives to Him, 22 were assured of their salvation, and 14 made other commitments in their walk with God. We praise God for the opportunity to influence each of these people for Christ! God Working in the Hearts of Youth - During junior high week we saw God moving in ways we have never seen before. Early in the week, our speaker gave an invitation to receive Christ and a number of campers came forward. Two nights later, another large group of campers came forward to declare their commitment to Christ in front of their peers. That evening around the campfire, several campers shared about how God had worked in their hearts during the week. One of those campers was “Jasmine.” This was her third summer at camp but she openly stated the first day that she did not believe in God because of all the bad things that had happened in her life. On the last evening of camp, Jasmine got up in front of everybody and gave God her whole heart that night! Jasmine was one of 10 campers who gave their hearts to Christ during junior high week and 22 others who made commitments in their walk with God. It is an amazing privilege to see God work through all of the camp staff to reach the hearts of the campers and truly make a difference in their lives.

CIM Life Center for Indian Ministries

The Impact of Native Camping Ministry Corey and Ellie St. Peter Corey and Ellie St. Peter have been immersed in Native ministry since their time as undergrads at Oak Hills Christian College. Now serving at Mokahum Ministry Center and on the Leech Lake Reservation, the St. Peter’s passion for spreading the gospel to Native Americans began at summer camp. “Helping out with Native American Adventure Camp [now held at Camp Oak Hills] was actually how we got into Native ministry in the first place,” explains Ellie. “There is just something so special about spending the entire week together that really jumpstarts relationships and provides very special opportunities for conversations and memories. Native camp ministry is especially effective and rewarding because many of the kids come from backgrounds where they are dealing with very adult issues and have responsibilities they are much too young for. Getting to a safe place where they can just be kids is important for them. Also, trust comes very slowly in Native culture so being together all day and night enables the kids to see if you are actually living out what you talked about in lessons. This helps build the trust more quickly than other ministry opportunities.”

Training Tomorrow’s Indian Leaders Today • This year Mokahum Ministry Center has nine students representing tribes from Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington. • Key staff positions have been filled, and are committed to training tomorrow’s Indian leaders today! Thank you for your prayerful and financial support. Together we have partnered in equipping our Indian students to love and serve Jesus Christ within their own culture. Zane Williams Director / Center for Indian Ministries MOKAHUM STUDENTS 2013-2014 • BACK ROW: Jonathan Sullivan: Eufaula, OK, Michael Dowling: Eufaula, OK, Jackson Lewis: Eufaula, OK, A.J. Lewis: Eufaula, OK, Jacob Enno: Dunseith, ND, Joseph Lonelodge Riley: Shawnee, OK • FRONT ROW: Ashley Ballard: Tahlequah, OK, Domineke Garcia: Wapato, WA • NOT PICTURED: Robert Iceman: Red Lake, MN

Jean Ballard 1922-2013 A tribute to the life of Jean Ballard By Paul and Michele Straubel Jean Ballard was one of the most amazing, faithful women of God I’ve ever met. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jean came to know the Lord at around age 10 through the witness of her grandfather. After attending Moody Bible Institute, Jean responded to what she felt was the call of God and came to Oak Hills in January of 1950. One of Jean’s favorite ministries was camping, where she proved to be a capable leader. It was also at camp in the early 1970s that Jean first came into contact with children from the Red Lake reservation, and the Lord began to stir her heart for the needs of that community. Responding to a lack of programming for children on the reservation, Jean began traveling to Red Lake two or three times a week—a round-trip of nearly 150 miles from her home near Park Rapids—to lead children’s programs and visit in homes for the purpose of friendship evangelism. Jean Ballard was awarded the Center for Indian Ministries Service Award at Mokahum and Oak Hills' commencement in May 2013.

To better equip herself for this cross-cultural ministry, she enrolled at Bemidji State University and took every class they offered on Native American history, culture, and Ojibwe language. Later she enrolled at Oak Hills and earned a degree in counseling to help her better address the needs of the people she encountered in Red Lake. For several years she maintained a counseling office on the reservation. She did what she could at Oak Hills to increase awareness of Native Americans—taking staff and students to Red Lake to help with the ministry, and for more than 20 years teaching a course on Ojibwe culture. Jean’s early work and the growing interest in Native ministry among Oak Hills staff led to the official start of Center for Indian Ministries in the 1980s. Jean continued to invest her life in the Red Lake Nation as part of CIM until her retirement in January 2000, following 50 years of service. Even after retirement she continued to maintain her ties to the Red Lake community and also served on the advisory council when Mokahum Ministry Center was being formed. She wrote, God’s will has been better than all my planning. … I love the Lord and I love what he has done in me and with me. Years ago when she was a student at Moody Bible Institute, Jean picked as her life verse Psalm 63:3-4: Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. Jean lived out this verse by pointing countless numbers of people toward the loving-kindness of God. In the end, though, she would not have welcomed any praise or attention for what she did. Throughout the years I have been inspired by her perseverance, by her passionate leadership on behalf of Native American missions, by her tender heart for the people of Red Lake, and by her lifetime of faithful and sacrificial service to the Lord Jesus Christ. When asked about the purpose of her life, she said, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And oh, I have enjoyed Him so much!”

Alumni • Alumni & Friends

Joan Berntson Vice President for Advancement


Mike (’09) and Anna (Jacobsen ’09) Bechtold Daughter: Annika born July 10, 2012 Steve (’13) and Rachel (Klamar ’10) Lindstrom Daughter: Lauren Rae born August 9, 2013 Weighed 7 lbs 10 oz and was 18.5” long Hazen (’03) and Jamie Borton Daughter: Erica Rose born July 21, 2013 Weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 19.5” long Josh (’12) and Lindsey (Hall ’11) Hodgson Son, Peyton Joshua born July 14, 2013 premature at 29 weeks Weighed 2 lbs 14 oz and was 15” long

WEDDINGS 2013 Eric and Carrie (Geving ’12) Czyscon Wedding Date: July 20, 2013 Matt (’13) and Heather (Zoch ’11) Boyd Wedding Date: August 24, 2013 Timothy and Brittney (Carlson ’13) Holmes Wedding Date: September 21, 2013

IN MEMORY Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

Kirk Norstrom ’06

Are you 70 ½ and have an IRA? The IRS requires that you take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA after age 70 ½. Failure to take your RMD could result in a 50% tax penalty on those dollars. However taking your RMD may have tax consequences because of an increase in your adjusted gross income. These may include: - Reduced itemized deductions - Increase in Medicare premiums - Increase in taxable social security benefits For tax year 2013 you are allowed to give all or part of your Required Minimum Distribution directly from your IRA to a charity such as Oak Hills. This type of gift will allow you to avoid paying income tax on that amount, avoid some or all of the tax consequences stated above, as well as providing an easy estate tax reduction strategy. This allowance is set to expire after 2013, but it may be reinstated as it has been over the last several years. You have until December 31, 2013 to direct your gift and receive these tax benefits. Please talk to: • Your financial planner, tax professional or • Joan Berntson at 218/888-751-8670 ext. 1249 or cell phone 218-766-2738 for more information.

Berneice “Betty” Baana ’82 Raymond Waters ’97

Alumni Connection at: • Alumni & Friends • Personal Updates - Keep us informed with your news and photos! • Alumni Directory - password: connected, (for listings of Alumni) or email updates or news to:

Special gifts to Oak Hills We are grateful to those who think of this ministry as a vehicle to express their heartfelt respect and honor for important people in their lives, and to invest in the work of the Kingdom of God in this world. In Memory of: Jean Ballard Berneice (Betty) Baana Edie Hill Ann Marie Olson Russin

In Honor of: William (Bill) Barrere Dan Goble Jesse Robert Kastenbauer Barbara Smith

Advancement investing in Oak Hills Christian College, Camp Oak Hills, and Center for Indian Ministries

Church and Ministry Relations Jim Hodgson is our Director of Church and Ministry Relations.

Oak Hills served as a local host site for the Global Leadership Summit again this year . . .

Everyone benefits when a leader gets better!

. . . and we had an encouraging amount of feedback from attendees who learned how to become effective, godly leaders in their homes, careers and churches. The impact of GLS is still resonating around the world as the summit continues to rebroadcast throughout different countries this fall. We were encouraged to see an increase in attendance this year, and a shift in perceptions about the live event, which 70,000 people attended in 230 sites around the country on August 8th and 9th. If you'd like more information about GLS or how to connect with our network of congregations, contact Jim at (888) 751-8670 ext. 1238 or email

Oak Hills Christian College 1600 Oak Hills Road SW, Bemidji, MN 56601






Report: Growth and Development of Oak Hills Camping Ministry

Direction: Fall 2013  

Oak Hills Christian College newsletter

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you