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As a friend recently said to me, "God's going to do what God's going to do. Story of my life, and it always turns out better than I could have expected!" I thought I had a plan for the summer that would make my upcoming transition to a new city less attached and more seamless. I thought I knew where I was going, and I thought I had a hefty grasp on my direction. I also thought I had moved on from a place that undoubtedly shaped me and had a part in guiding what path I am on now. I thought I had a plan... And I'm so glad I thought wrong.
If you know me, you know Mountain T.O.P. has run deep in my life for quite a while. As a camper of many forms, as well as a former staff member. I have made lasting friendships and important revelations at this place. I have received more love and support from all the different people brought to this mountain than anywhere else. I am thrilled to say that God has led me back to this special place for another summer.
Mountain T.O.P. is a partnership ministry with a goal to help meet the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of all the people we encounter. To achieve this goal, we offer a variety of mission-based programs for youth and adults. Participants can choose to serve the Cumberland Plateau through home repair or day camp programs. This summer, I will take part in this transformative ministry as a Director at Camp Baker Mountain. I will serve on a team executing these mission programs for the Youth Summer Ministry. Together, my staff and I will lead volunteers from all over the country in their service project mission work and spiritual practices, such as worships and devotionals.
I have never witnessed such passionate kingdom advancement (by such young individuals) in any other place. Mountain T.O.P. has a special way of uniting youth, adults, staffers, community members, and even children in order to build relationships and foundations that rely on the Gospel. In my professional life, I have often recalled situations or lessons learned while being on staff here, especially in service. Serving others takes on many different faces, from calculating measurements and tools for a 40 ft wheelchair ramp, to securing enough bread and juice for 150 campers, to taking that extra moment after worship to talk to the camper who just needed a listening ear. Serving others is a love language that everyone speaks fluently here at Mountain T.O.P.
I owe a huge chunk of my spiritual and professional growth to this ministry, as well as to those who have supported me in all my years of involvement. I have been so fortunate to have partners who are committed to the manifestation of the Gospel through word and action, by partnering with me for previous summers. Partnering can be a confusing concept, so I will do my best to sum up the experience...
HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN--Partnerships are crucial to this ministry, our overall mission, and particularly summer staffers. We value partnering because it is a relational way to support the ministry and those involved in it. Our partnership philosophy follows the belief that just by asking for partners we are giving people and opportunity to be a part of what we are achieving with this ministry, through us and with us. We also see partnerships as an excellent way to spread the word about our goals and our existence. We want to touch as many lives as possible, especially in the valley below!
I so value the partnerships I have received and made in the past, and I hope you'll consider partnering with me this summer! I am mostly requesting prayers if you feel so led. I believe that faithful prayer is such an intentional way to be present in the Spirit's movement. It's a way for you to be apart of the stories and miracles we later tell about the summer. I have a lot of anticipations and uncertainties that I know the Lord will cover with His grace, but I would be so very grateful for continued prayer for myself, my staff, and our camp this summer. Pray that the redeeming love of Jesus Christ is known above all else. Pray for the details, the leaders, the youth, the day campers, the projects, and the community. Pray for safety as we travel among the counties, and for distanced churches that make the trek to the Cumberland Plateau. Pray for staff members' messages and devotionals, that God use them as a vessel to get His intended message across. Pray for rest when it is needed (and trust me, it is ALWAYS needed on our end). Pray for peace, understanding, and for confidence in Christ.
Next, I ask that you partner with me financially if you feel so led. As MTOP is a nonprofit ministry, I am required to raise half of my summer salary plus my living expenses, equaling $2,400. I am more than grateful for any contribution you are willing to make. Remember, this is a chance for you to participate in my journey on the mountain and ultimately be apart of a deep Christian community that is making huge advances for the kingdom of God in "forgotten Appalachia."
I know this was lengthy but I am so excited to share my heart with you over the coming months. I have no doubt that God is sending me back to the mountain for something BIG. Thank you so much for the constant support, I can never explain my thankfulness in full!!! If you have any other questions about the ministry or what I will specifically be doing this summer, please don't hesitate to ask! Thank you.
Love always, Connor