- Letters to the
Updated July 26, 1998
| Lessons from Jonesboro
by Bill Jacobs
In the aftermath of the Jonesoboro, Arkansas children's massacre we are confronted with
the WHY questions. Here are some answers to what went went wrong with relationships...and
what we can do to build proper ones.
Posted April 3, 1998
| Mentors Promote Success
by John Elliott
Success can be as close as someone helping you through an obstacle....and you're helping
someone else through their obstacle.
Posted May 17, 1998
Belief in God is a Choice
We Must Make
by Cecil Maranville
What holds us back from Believing? Could it be some responsibility we have to face?
Posted April 9, 1998
| What's Behind the Mideast Crisis?
by Melvin Rhodes
The Bible's prophecies have focused on problems in the Middle East. How will current
tensions in this part of the world affect us?
Posted April 11, 1998
|Meaningful Hope for Christians with Chronic
by Cecil Maranville
What does it mean when you suffer from a long-standing sickness? The Psalmist was
there....and gives insight that can help us cope.
Posted April 8, 1998
| Shauna's Miracle
by Karen Summey
A true story of an encouraging miracle God performed for a 15-year-old and her friends.
Posted April 8, 1998
|"Please Lord, Save Me From Your
by Lorelei Nettles
Have you ever wondered what kind of bumper stickers YOUR example may inspire?
Posted February 7, 1998
YESTERDAY WAS A GREAT DAY to
wake up and go to work! As Merrie and I opened our front door we walked out into the
Millennium, (or at least about as close as one can get to it in this day and age.)
Everyone around us had left their normal routines behind to focus on serving and helping
each other physically, mentally and spiritually. In this environment each person was
dedicated to shed thoughtlessness and move into a mental "zone" of concern away
The event? A teen summer camp at Pinecrest in Southern Missouri. Some 120 teens and 50
staff participated in an annual week-long summer camp. In a beautiful outdoor environment
teens were treated to a plethora of activities and learning experiences. These included a
15-mile canoe trip, skeet shooting, team sports, ropes course, rappelling down a cliff,
etc. Christian Living classes gave essential information to young men and women seeking to
become responsible men, women, husbands and wives.
While these things may be typical events at a summer camp, Merrie and I experienced first
hand something that was not -- "the Zone!" Let me explain.
Our specific role was the capturing on video various aspects of the camp for a potential
Church project. We arrived a few days after the camp session was under way and found
something we weren't prepared for. Teen conversations were abuzz with comments a
"zone" and their individual proximity to it and an anticipation of their arrival
in it. Some expressed an excitement at already being there.
Larry Grieder, camp director, explained it to me this way. He recognized years ago that
our youth need to experience a foretaste of the Millennium where outgoing concern is the
primary mentality being exhibited. Teens need a place to come to where it is
"safe" to be your true self. A place to have fun away from the put-down's and
criticisms that typically bombard them. In essence, to live for a week in a Millennial
environment where concern and service is exhibited by all. That's a tall order to fill in
our age, but the people we saw were fully dedicated to doing the best job of it they
I interviewed a few teens asking them why camp was important to them. Curiously, nobody
cited the activities as they answered. What was most important to them was experiencing
concern and support from their peers. They were "pumped" about this most unique
experience taking place amid an exciting week of activities.
Not just another cliché, being in the "zone" involved real concern, acceptance
and support from fellow dorm mates. And, just as often it meant showing such concern and
encouragement to others. In some instances the need for such was even crucial. Those who
were easily picked on for physical or mental reasons back home received extra
consideration from teens within their dorm. Nobody seemed to get shunned or overlooked.
One child with brain cancer was kept right in the center of things by her peers. Another
with a testy personality was encouraged and was mellowing as camp progressed. The teens
had come from 20 different states to attend a camp whose reputation for a great week at
camp has become legendary.
At the core of it all were 50 or so staff members whose dedication and service will
inspire us for years to come. Whether minister, mother or young adult, each was humbly
dedicated with a commitment that was exemplary. Most staff members had taken time off from
their careers to drive across several states to serve the teens at their own expense. In
many cases husbands and wives sacrificed by living apart in separate dorms for the entire
camp. One pastor lived in a boys dorm while his wife and 3-month old baby ran the
administration office and taught girl's Christian living classes. Several members left
mates and families back home to come and work from early dawn to late at night. They left
their jobs in Beloit, Wisconsin, Houston, Texas, Portsmouth, Ohio and other places. Their
jobs sometimes required them to be sunburned and chigger bitten, or continually shuttling
people and equipment, or serving endless meals in the dining hall, just some of the tasks
that started early and ended late.
But none complained, none sought any glory and none faltered in dependable service day
after day after day. Ironically, we found that the adults had found their way into
"the zone" too and it was a great environment for adults to be part of,too.
Yesterday morning Merrie and I drove out of "the zone" with regrets. The sun was
streaming through the trees and the camp was buzzing with truly happy people. Teens
and staff were celebrating various achievements in an awards presentation. But other
responsibilities called and we couldn't linger any longer. We had experienced more proof
that God's Way works, and that His Kingdom will indeed solve mankind's problems. It's one
thing to hear it, even to preach it. Quite another to live a glimpse of it, even if for
just a moment. For now we all have to live in the world, outside such a zone. But
experiences such as this rekindle our zeal for preaching the Gospel of a new world coming
Other groups hold teen camps at the Pinecrest facility each summer. But none is like ours
says the site manager, Fred Yates. "Of all the camps held here, yours is the
best," he stated several times. Being a friend of Dr. James Dobson and others
involved in the "Focus on the Family" program, his was a strong validation.
Merrie and I are far away from the wonderful environment we experienced at Camp Pinecrest.
Camp there has now ended and everyone else has departed for less idyllic destinations,
too. But we'll all remember our time together and long for the day when "the
zone" will be a way of life for all humanity. It's made in me desire to work harder
for that Day.