“Christian Encounter Ministries’ First 40 Years” by Mike Petrillo
“Without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3b) Christian Encounter Ministries celebrated its first forty years at our reunion July 2-5. We celebrated what God has done—for He is truly the author of CEM’s existence. God brought back Ranch family members from the 1970’s and from 2010, and each decade in between, to remind one another of His great grace in our lives. God was at the center of founding the ministry, and he must always be preeminent for the work to continue. The essence of faith, as Tom Salter described it at the reunion, is to fully depend on God as our supplier, provider, healer, and Father. Glowing reports of being Surely no one persevered longer nor sacrificed more to establish CEM rescued from certain death by than Paul and Anita Cecil and their children, Tom, Kathy, and Bob. In God’s love were the main theme of their honor CEM established the Cecil Family Founder’s Award for the many testimonies. Others reflected further education of a CEM student who has persevered to overcome on the loving atmosphere created obstacles. Anita and her California family joined us for the reunion. by God’s people at the Ranch. Some recollected the miraculous provision of daily food and materials so that we could continue to exist. Whatever the theme, everything comes back to God’s goodness. One of the highlights of my life was standing on the stage with Anita Cecil, wife of CEM founder, Paul Cecil, and members of her family. Anita assessed the past, but pushed us toward the future. We are here because the Cecil’s had vision and endurance and faith that God would do something great. The future will require equal amounts of these qualities. And our expectation is the same: God will do something great. Though Paul Cecil has gone home to the Lord, and many other great men and women of dedication and sacrifice have also gone on ahead of us to His glory, those Former student (‘00) Rebecca (Barrett) who remain Campos and husband, Carlos, with sons are following Genesis, Achilles, and Jaden, praising God faithfully in their for all He has done in their lives. steps. The first forty years have become history. May the seeds planted then and the new crop being planted right now blend together into a fertile and gorgeous vineyard. May the Lord be pleased to continue rescuing the lost. May the Lord continue to call shepherds to tend his flock. May the Lord continue to open His hand of provision to us. May the Lord continue to protect this place that He has set aside for His good purpose. What comes next depends on God Himself. He must work in order for us to work. He must inspire so that we may inspire. Rosie (Stillwagon) Moody started Christian Encounter High School in 1977. Leslie He must save so that we may extend our hand to those who and Steve Harris served as interns; Steve are stumbling. Jesus, living in us—no matter the year, decade, was one of the first three “official” interns or century, this is the mission of CEM, of Christ’s Body, the in 1975. Church: Jesus, living in us.
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Christian Encounter Ministries August 2010
Tending Lives…Training Leaders Since 1970 Christian Encounter Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational, residential program helping 16- to 25-year-olds by providing love, spiritual guidance, high school education, counseling, and 24-hour supervision. Contact us at: www.ChristianEncounter.org cem@ChristianEncounter.org 530-268-0877
Please pray… “God send those you want to be here.” “Help us to love as Jesus loves.” “Give us this day our daily bread…”
—For the next forty years—