A special thanks to the Harvest Team Members this year. They made a world of difference. Leanne Willis from Maryville, IL was an anchor. She not only served at every camp and event, she was instrumental in getting the summer team assembled for 2016. I appreciate her part in the ministry. Emily Gray was the other core team member who joined in most all the weeks of the summer. We also appreciated Stephen De Jong who joined us from Michigan. Stephen heard about Harvest in a round about way and was a great asset to the 2016 ministry team. Each week, the team made and impact and I’m grateful for each person who traveled long term or short term! Team members who traveled this summer included: Blake Stahlhut, James Deming, Trenton Gonzalez, Clint Benesh, Daniel Tatenjorst, Amber Moore, Brandon Huffman, Jackson Hallquist, Drew Allsman, Jordan Harper, Brian Donelson, Erin Kossakoski, Jessie George, and Loren Fear served during Beulah Family Camp.
Harvest led worship for the all new Epworth Journey Camp in Greenville, IL. After the Epworth Camp was sold in Louisville, IL, the people moved the program to Durley Camp in Greenville, IL. It was a strategic move that not only landed Epworth as the closest camp to the UMC district with the largest number of large churches, it was a creative schedule that created lots of energy. There were 115 people in attendance for the Jr. / Sr. High Week. Students loved the lake, the zip line, the tabernacle and the set up of the camp in general. Though the whole group attended worship together, the jr. high kids had their own classes and some of their own activities. The Sr. High students also had their own classes and they had special late night activities as well. It was the merger of what was formerly two separate weeks and it was super smooth.
The following weekend, Epworth Journey hosted the kids camp and Generations Family Camp. The Friday through Sunday event was two different tracks, but the groups came together for worship and meals. It was an awesome weekend of ministry with over 100 in attendance for the weekend. There was a fun and renewed energy at Epworth this year! Thanks to Deborah, Tim, Gary, Amy and Lee for your work in getting it all together.
All of the Beulah Camps where Harvest served were up in attendance from last year. There were over 160 people on the grounds for Beulah Bible Camp (4th-6th grades) and the Beginner Camp, the two days following that was also great! Jr. High Alive more than doubled in attendance from last year and is on a growing trend. It was a blast to lead worship for these two weeks of camp. We also enjoyed serving as the youth ministry team for Beulah Holiness Camp the first week of August. This week is different than the other Beulah Camps, but there is a great spirit of close community for the students and leaders who are in attendance. During the week, we led worship, led Bible Studies for Jr. High, Sr. High and Post High, we set up mission projects and we took part in lots of recreation. I praise the Lord for the continued work of the spirit at Beulah Camp. It’s been going more than 100 years and is still strong in terms of impact and power.
Much of our role for summer ministry is in assisting. We assist in creating worship times, helping to lead where needed, take part in small groups, lead games and in general, help the camp happen effectively. A few places we served weren’t at camps, but in churches and other events. It was great to be a part of Silvis, IL Church as we invited kids to come each evening for VBS. During the day, Harvest led music and games at the City Park Program then in the evening, we would lead music and lessons for the kids who came to the church that night. The last night, we invited kids to stand if they would like to follow Christ and we prayed for lots of them that night! It was powerful and I’m praying for those kids even now. We also enjoyed leading worship for an event with Rex Hendrix in Carlinville, IL It was great to meet with his church and the intern team that evening. A special thanks to Mark Myers who invited us to lead music for the FIGS / TWIGS group in Granite City this summer. Harvest had a great time there. The final stop for the summer was in Paducah for a community outreach event at Lone Oak UMC. They had a great schedule for that afternoon and Harvest let music and a devotion. Following the devotion, I invited the kids to pray. Almost immediately one boy stepped up onto the platform and tapped my leg all while raising one hand in the air. I stopped to ask if he had a question and he said, “I don’t know how to pray.” I stopped and explained to him and all the children what it meant to pray. It was a great moment and a reminder that we have lots of opportunities to change lives in the name of Jesus. We never know who we will be sharing with and what journey they are on. I give God glory for those moments!
Harvest was invited to serve for two events at Troy UMC (our home base church). Quest Camp is the Troy UMC three day kids camp for children in first – fifth grade. This summer was the second year for the event and it more than doubled in attendance this year, with nearly 50 kids and adults attending. Harvest led worship and speaking around the theme of REACH. After each worship time, we split into groups, which were led by Harvest Team members and the children’s ministry intern at Troy. Harvest loved being a part of the week — it was a great camp, a great facility and lots of impact among those from this church! Thanks for the invitation, Natalie.
Harvest also led a weekend trip with the middle school students from Troy UMC. The group, led by Rev. Kurt Stone (Student Ministry at Troy UMC) went to the Midwest Distribution Center in Chatham, IL. This place is a great place for a youth mission trip, especially for younger students. The MMDC is highly organized and really hospitable. Harvest led worship and devotions during the evening and we worked along side the students during the days. I have learned over and over again that music may be the tool, but relationships with teens really makes the impact as we travel and serve in the name of Jesus. Another cool thing about the week was the number of bikes that were donated and taken with the group to Chatham!
Each year, for the past several years, I (Tim) have been invited, along with my family, to lead music for the family conference at Greenlake, WI. It’s a beautiful place and an awesome week. We enjoyed having the opportunity to reconnect again this year with old friends, watch July 4 fireworks on Greenlake, spend time leading music at morning sessions and campfires and hanging around with the family! It was a blast. On the way up to Greenlake, we stopped at the church in Roscoe, IL to lead music in each of the three morning worship services. It was a blast to have Ruby join me in music there.
One of the songs Harvest wrote this summer has these lyrics:
I want to walk with you, To talk with you,
To hear from you
I want to worship you, Because you are my God.
I want to live my life, You fill me with the brightest light
I found myself humming this song most every day this summer. And the line “I love to live my life, you fill me with the brightest light” came to mind each time Harvest had fun. Jesus says he came to give us life and life abundantly! In addition to the fun of ministry, we have the fun of hanging out together, living life and modeling Christ’s great love!
Here are just a few of the fun moments this summer:
John Deere Pavilion
American Pickers Store
We give God praise for the 2016 Summer Ministry!