Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who In Their Right Mind...

It was the perfect recipe for disaster. As soon as I woke up, I checked the weather and discovered that our third annual South of theMountain Trail Run would be besieged by a wintery mix of rain, snow, and bitterly-cold wind. Knowing there was nothing we could do to change it, my wife and I bundled up and headed out to proceed with the plan. I was unsure what to expect, but I know I never anticipated what happened next.

I’d been determined to increase the number of participants at the event this year and had taken extensive measures to do so, but with the horrible weather conditions, I would not have been surprised if only 12 of our 69 pre-registered runners showed up to the race. When I received news that some of our volunteers had cancelled, I couldn’t blame them. They were assigned to help with parking, but we probably wouldn’t even need them now. Who in their right mind would show up on a morning like this to run in a race anyway?

The answer began arriving shortly after 9:00 am. As car after car began pulling into the camp, I suddenly realized that I needed to fill those vacant volunteer jobs. Remarkably, some of our participants offered to help. They threw on some orange vests and started directing traffic within moments. As people continued to arrive, I thanked them for showing up in such horrible conditions. I found that most of them were not only understanding, but even excited with a “we’re all in this together” attitude. There were some who couldn’t participate, but had showed up anyway just to show their support. Then I discovered that a number of them had not even pre-registered. They’d just gotten up that morning and decided to come race with us anyway!

I’d like to tell you that the weather cleared right when the race started, but that didn’t happen. Those runners endured some of the worst conditions I could imagine for a race, and they did it with smiles on their faces. I don’t know why God didn’t give us better weather, and He certainly isn’t obligated to give me an answer. But He showed me that sometimes taking us through the storm is just as great a miracle as taking the storm away.

At the end of the day, we had 80 paid runners for this year’s event—a 10% increase over last year’s participation when we had perfect weather! This gave us a good start on fundraising for kids to come to camp next summer. It’s just another example of God’s faithfulness and everyone doing what they can to make a difference. 

You can make a difference too. Whether it's your talent, skills, knowledge, or financial means, if you do what you can, you can help make this world a better place.

If you are interested in making a contribution to the ministry of South Mountain Christian Camp, you can easily do so through the donate button below.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pumpkins, People, & Potential

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! We had our very own pumpkin patch here last month with hundreds of these fall favorites adorning the front entrance of the camp. People came from all over to pick out their favorites. We sold them for donations only, with all of the proceeds going to the summer camp scholarship fund. By the final week of October, we’d sold every last one of them, earning over $3,000 in needed camper scholarships.

An unexpected side benefit of the pumpkin patch was that, aside from just coming to pick out their pumpkins, dozens of people came to take family portraits. Some were just snapping photos of their kids surrounded by pumpkins, others hired professional photographers to take large group photos here. Every week I would see new pictures posted on social media of friends and family visiting our pumpkin patch. 

It also gave us the opportunity to interact with many people who had never visited the camp before and wanted to learn more about our ministry. In fact, the front porch of the office became one of our biggest ministry tools as the Lord opened doors for us to share the love of God with a number of new friends.

It might surprise you to also know that the pumpkin patch wasn’t even our idea. OA and Charlotte’s adult granddaughter, Michelle Kramer, first proposed the idea to me last summer. It was she who made all of the arrangements regarding purchase, delivery, promotion, and finding a sponsor, AE Global Media, to cover the cost of the pumpkins. She even visited most weekends from her home near Columbia, SC to make sure things were running smoothly. We are deeply grateful to Michelle and AE Global Media for bringing the pumpkin patch to South Mountain Christian Camp.

This is how the Kingdom of God works. Every part of Christ’s body plays a vital role by following the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. You are an important part of God’s kingdom too. When you follow His guidance, you can make a difference.

If you would like to make a donation to the ministry of South Mountain Christian Camp, you can easily do so through the Donate button below.