During Youth Mission Week this summer, I watched as God worked in Forest Hill Baptist Church’s youth group. God had laid it on my heart to pray consistently for them. On the first night of camp during devotions, they shared what they wanted to get out of this week. Many said they looked forward to chapel, going to the mission sites, and other activities. However, some shared they wanted to grow as a youth group. I really could relate to this, so I continue to pray for their group.
As the week went on, God really showed up during devotions. On the last night, we let everyone share how they saw and heard God. It was amazing to see how in 5 days, God changed the atmosphere of the group and brought them, not only closer to Him, but also to each other.
Whenever I was in high school, I felt a calling to ministry; the only problem was, I had no idea in what way or capacity that might be! I attended South Mountain Baptist Camp from the years 2000 to 2010. I loved camp so much, and I loved getting to experience God in such an unexplainable way that I knew I wanted to serve on staff one day. Following my sophomore year of college in 2013, I served the Lord as a summer staffer at SMBC for the first of four summers that I would serve. That summer was the summer that I met Ethan , and it was also the first time in my life that I truly felt that I told God: “I will follow wherever you want me to go, no matter what it costs me.” I would have never predicted that I would be working for SMBC full-time, but I am so glad that God uses His plan instead of our own. I look forward to getting to know and serving each of you as we further God’s Kingdom together.
I, too, visited South Mountain as a camper. In fact, this is where I met Jesus. I have always wanted to be a teacher and God allowed me to do that for a year, but He also put me in a place to work with the youth group at my church. After doing this for a short time, I knew that I wanted to be involved in ministry full-time. It never occurred to me that it would be at the place I love most. God is continuing to teach me and work through me everyday, because I am no where near the handy-man type. So please be praying for both Sara and me as we learn and start this new journey.
On the first night of youth week, I had a camper tell her youth group, “I don’t understand why God loves and I refuse to believe it!”
I knew then I just needed to pray for her. She, also, talked to other staffers and they, also, saw she needed prayer. All of the staff were praying for this girl.
I could really see God working in her life over the next four days and on the fourth night she asked could me if we could talk, I said, “Of course!”
So we went downstairs, she broke down, and she told me she wanted to get rid of that void in her heart and let God in. I felt such joy in that moment! I experienced how God worked in the life of this girl as God let me be her staffer and witness His move in her life.
It was Thursday on Youth Mission Week, my whole group was tired and we still had a ramp to finish. It was hot but the heat didn’t stop us for trying to bring God glory. At lunch, we sang praises and one of the girls in our group had an amazing voice. We could feel God’s presence as we finished the ramp.
After we built the ramp, we went inside and the same girl, with the amazing voice, sang a hymn. It was so sweet and the Holy Spirit led us to share the gospel with the man, who we were building the ramp for, and he accepted Christ. It was such a sweet and tender moment, watching Jesus draw this man to Himself!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
September 12, 2016 Dan Busby, President
South Mountain Baptist Camp Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization
CONNELLY SPRINGS, NC – The ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) announced today the accreditation of South Mountain Baptist Camp of Connelly Springs, NC.
ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising.
South Mountain Baptist Camp joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 27 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal. When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.
“We are pleased to accredit a ministry committed to engage in activities and provide Bible centered teaching that will lead adults, youth, and children to experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.
Founded in 1957, South Mountain Baptist Camp (www.southmountainbaptistcamp.com) uses well-planned and organized programs and physical activities, the camp helps campers respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit with special emphasis given to evangelism and missions. South Mountain Baptist Camp also provides Baptist Churches, associations, and other Christian organizations the opportunity to conduct retreats and special programs.
To learn more about South Mountain Baptist Camp and their stewardship opportunities, visit ServantMatch®, ECFA’s program that matches God’s servants with the stewardship options of ECFA members based on ministry sectors and categories. It is ECFA’s newest online feature that allows you to quickly and easily find giving opportunities.
ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit www.ECFA.org or call 1-800-323-9473.
On Thursday, after morning Bible study, I noticed a girl crying. I approached her, asked her what was wrong, and as she talked, I asked her if she had a relationship with God. She said, “No,” and I shared the gospel with her and then she told me she wanted Jesus in her heart. I was so stoked because it is a huge blessing to share with someone.
As I go upstairs for lunch chapel, two other girls from her church told me they wanted to be saved. We walked downstairs and I begin to share with them. As I am talking with them, another girl came to the door of our classroom, and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she responded she wanted to be saved. After sharing with each of these girls, they all decided to follow Jesus!
“Before we ever ask God to reveal His will, we should first ask ourselves if we are ready to obey it.”
In the fall Caleb and I (Mary) joined a lifegroup at a new church. Soon after, the ladies in the group started praying for a few requests that I had been convicted about. This spring, God answered all of them…at once…with a rather shocking answer. I was not very excited about His answer, and secretly hoped it was an Abraham/Isaac situation…where God would test, we would say yes, and He would restore everything. A faithful lifegroup sister reminded me that this was what we had prayed for, and I must follow through in obedience.
What was His answer? Move. It turns out God had more of an Abraham/’the land I will show you’ scenario planned. So, at the end of August we will be moving east. Our summer camp theme is Ridiculous Faith, and it is certainly appropriate. It seems ridiculous, but the Lord continues to graciously confirm that it is His plan and grow my faith.
It is very sad to move forward from the ministry were I have worked for 16 years. It has been a joy to serve you both as a summer staffer and in guest services. What a privilege to watch and participate in the Lord calling your sweet kids into His plan – several of whom have worked at camp with us or gone on to bring more kids to camp after they aged out themselves! It has also been a humbling and amazing experience to watch God provide for the camp. Thank you for being obedient and participating in His work. We have met some of the most wonderful and Godly servants on the planet. Thank you for serving with us and loving our family. My words could never do your selflessness justice, but surely your reward in heaven will be great! I know the Lord has exciting things in store for our family and for South Mountain Baptist Camp, and trust Him to lead both of us forward!
I am thrilled to be able to announce the new caretakers. They have loved the Lord and camp for years now, and I am excited about the talents, work ethic, and fresh excitement they will bring to camp. Ethan Cromer and Sarah Marshall will be getting married in July and will join us at camp in August.
My favorite time during this past summer was when I was the staffer for Concord Baptist Church and I was praying for one of their lost boys. The counselors told me this camper rarely let anyone get close to him and was not always the best behaved. On the first night of church devotions, he came and sat beside of me and gave me a huge heartwarming smile! During the entire week at devotions, he came straight to me and sat near me the whole time.
At the end of the week, he came downstairs for decision night. He came straight to me and told me he asked Jesus into his heart. The next morning, he was the most energetic and happy kid I’ve ever seen.
(This event happened in 2014. Since that year Michael has been serving in the Old Guard with the Army and is getting married in July of 2016. He is pictured here with his sister Heather, who, also, worked at camp.)
Last year, I had Grace Covenant for my church during the last week of camp and I had the privilege of serving them again this summer. Those girls are so amazing and I’m so glad to have gotten to know them even better. On Tuesday, I gave my testimony in chapel and didn’t think much of anything about it. Then on Thursday night, I was waiting on the kids to come downstairs when one of the counselors from Grace Covenant pulled me over and asked me to talk with one of the girls, so I did. She said she had decided to follow Jesus that she understood what it meant now, but she wanted to ask about my testimony. She had lost her grandmother this past year (which was the same time my grandmother had died) and she was wanted assurance that God hadn’t left her side. That broke my heart because I had been in that boat, too. It was just awesome to see how God works things out and pieces things together. That couldn’t have happened by itself, it was a God moment.
One week I had mountain boards as my afternoon activity and there were only 6 kids that wanted to try it. The first 5 went really smooth and the last kid came up to the smaller hill and I helped him get on his board. Right before I gave him a push to go down the hill, he said, I’m not ready and I don’t want to do it.”
I stood with him a few minutes trying to encourage him. Even the kids and other staffers started chanting his name. He still wasn’t sure about it so I asked him if he wanted to pray about it, he said, “Yes.” We stood and prayed that God would calm his nerves and that He would help him get down the mountain. As soon as we finished praying, he said, “Let’s do it and I gave him a little push and he started down the hill. It was really great that a short little prayer could encourage him enough to face his fear.