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Opening Worship at Ober

Posted by on 2:15 am in Featured, Going Deeper |

Opening Worship at Ober

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries celebrated a worship service at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort for the blessing of our equipment for the Snow Sports Center and Ski Patrol. It was a wonderful moment of fellowship and of revealing God-with-us at the start of our season!

A BLESSING OF SKI EQUIPMENT

 

Christmas is about surprise.

Christmas is about beauty.

 

Angels appeared to shepherds

And surprised them with beautiful light

And with a great announcement.

 

May we know Emmanuel,

“God with us” this Christmas.

 

New seasons are about surprise.

Fresh snow is about beauty.

 

We gather with friends for creative work.

Relationships are renewed with fresh energy.

Angels appear in our midst.

 

May God be with us and bless us as we join together.

 

And we bring out all our “good stuff”.

 

May God join with us and use this, our equipment,

skis and snowboards and boots and clothing and technical gear and safety equipment and teaching tools and all our “good stuff”

for the good of others and ourselves. 

 

And now, Lord,

Blessings upon this mountain and all of Ober Gatlinburg,

its peoples, slopes, and guests.

Blessings upon this our “good stuff”.

Blessings upon us all.

Amen.

 

2017 Annual Report

Posted by on 6:30 pm in Featured, Going Deeper |

2017 Annual Report

SOUTHERN SUPERLATIVES

“That was the most scrumptious piece of pie I have ever had in my life.”

 

“You really told them, preacher.  That was the way to step on their toes.

“Why, that was the best sermon ever been preached.”

 

“Won’t nobody never see another sunset more spectacular than that one.”

 

“Sit down, preacher, you done said it all!”

 

We in the South are known to sometimes use Southern superlatives to overstate our case.   We recognize them for what they are and accept them as statements of affirmation and love.  We know they hold a kernel of truth within that is to be received as blessing.  They may be overblown, but we understand the heart within them.  Hear, then, these superlatives about our God; Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries, and our ministries in 2017.

 

“To bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes …”

Isaiah 61: 3

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries’ response to the fires of November 28, 2017 has focused heavily on those who are “living outside the camp.”   Everyone in Gatlinburg is deeply affected by the fire yet many did not qualify for help agencies. Those “living outside the camp” may or may not have lost a house but have experienced other losses:   jobs, vehicles, rental apartments or houses, or income due to a depressed season.  They may have gathered extra expenses:  health related problems from the fire, replacement of household goods, cleaning that was not covered by landlord or insurance, vehicle repair, increased rent, or lack of insurance or denial of claims by insurance.  Maybe they are afraid to apply for any systematic or program assistance.  They are on the outside.

Our responses have moved through emergency moments to immediate needs to transitional help and on to restoration and recovery.   We are now deep in that restorational help and God has held us with those who find themselves living on the outside of the camp.

Our responses remain individual.   Our giving is face to face.  Our conversations are personal.  Our actions are rent help, gift card help (food mostly), new household appliances and items, vehicles gifted, medical bills paid, mattresses replaced, and so on.

We remain in the guide of the Holy Spirit:  stop here, listen here, respond here, speak here, do this now.   We find that if we commit to a need, the money or materials for that need arrives.   When we hesitate, God holds back.  When we act, God affirms.

We are the quiet ministry working as God leads.  Don Hammonds taught me (Bill) to “do what is right and don’t tell anybody.”   Paul Hall taught me: “it does not matter who gets the credit as long as the work gets done.”  We have followed these lessons and acted within them.  We are doing a valid and valuable ministry.

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is a part of a movement in the area to recover life and to love one another and to share God’ love.  It is an honor to be in this team with so many others of all different styles and expressions.   My affirmation is that it is an honor to be part of it all.  We are working accurately as God is leading us.

“We ain’t never had no summer better than that one.”

I (Bill Black) have been here since 1981.   I have worked with many staffs, mission teams, and ministry programs.   The summer of 2017 was a complete joy in all of those areas.   Our volunteers were committed to serving God and growing as missional Christians.   Our mission teams were creative and deep into caring for others.  Our ministry programs were well received and lives were touched and changed by God.   It was a summer of grace….why, we were standing knee deep in grace!  And God knows we needed it and received it and shared it and loved it.

 

“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t of seen it myself.”

This has been a year of professional growth for SMRM.   We doubled the size of our Board of Directors and hosted a professionally directed Board retreat last April.   We know our work and have accepted accountability for that work.  Linda Johnson, a long-time resort minister and professional fund developer for ministries, joined our team in April.

Her personal ministries have brought Christ into the lives of many in our community through Bible studies and intentional witnessing. Her professional ministries have led us to a much more stable financial situation.   We are now working to establish a continuous giving stream that enables us to maintain our ministries and embrace an exciting future.

 

“We did more than you can shake a stick at!”

288 worship services this year with over 6000 people in attendance

200 days of children’s day camps through the summer

200 bags of homemade cookies given to the crafters of the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

400 volunteers taught, enjoyed and put into ministry

4 vehicles given away to Fire survivors

150 new mattresses given away in 12 days after the Fire

Months of restoration work in people’s lives after the Fire

22 days of children’s Christian craft booths at various locations

6 summer missionaries who served 10 weeks non-stop

Relational ministry to 59 Appalachian Trail thru hikers

40 meals to international students with over 1100 students

Only God knows how many intentional witnessing and ministry moments

And God knows (as do we) how many came to know Christ as Savior and Lord

—and God smiles with us on this one.

 

“I’m as happy as a feist in rye!”

(Bill quoting Glenn Cardwell)

I cannot think of a time when I have not been as happy as I am now in this ministry.  My personal devotion and preaching have been so meaningful to me.  The challenges that we face are being resourced by God.   The dreams and demands of the future of this ministry are being clarified by a Board that prays and dreams of God’s leadership.   I continue to be in place and in this ministry with my life quote:

“Thanks be to God.”

Language of a Day

Posted by on 7:15 pm in Going Deeper, SMRM |

Language of a Day

7:45 a.m.

“Why do we do what we do?   Why is it important to pay attention to program details and program presentation? What happens when we function with program purpose?   How does our program action translate into ministry action?   What is required within us to enable the transition to take place? Reflect on your best ministry moments of the summer….How were they made real?”

These questions by Bill Black to our summer staff were part of an early morning staff meeting.   “Bill questions” are common at all hours and have the goal of moving us from good to great. The staff were to pray, reflect, and respond in writing.

 

9:00 a.m.

“We’re so glad you chose us to be part of your staff experience.” This statement was made by a friend whose business is hosting us for a staff dinner at the end of the summer.

 

9:30

“Being the owner of Imagination Mountain Camp-Resort, we are glad to work with Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries. Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries has brought the Holy Spirit to our resort for 12 years. To have a ministry in a campground resort is amazing. God bless Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.” Dave Landry

 

10:00

“Jesus gave Peter a do-over.” Heard by Bill as he visited children’s day camps.

The mission team was leading a day camp in Adventure Bound campground. The Bible study teacher was telling the story of Jesus relating to his disciples after his resurrection —the story of Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish (John 21: 1-18)   The children acted out the story as they casts their reels on one side of the boat and then the other and caught fish.   They called out loud and pretended to be Peter jumping in the lake and swimming to shore.   They listened and learned about forgiveness and commission from Jesus as he reinstated Peter. They listed examples of their parents giving them second chances.

Jesus gave Peter a do-over!

 

11:00

“Our cry from planning to fulfillment (of our mission trip) is that the hand of the Lord shows our way and that we follow. We ask him to grow our relationship with him and make us stronger than we were before in our relationship with him and one another.”   Christy Bailey, mission group leader of Milan Baptist Church

Bill and Christy were visiting in Greenbrier Campground as Milan Baptist Church ended its week of mission with us.   Christy shared the way they had seen God at work in lives of children and adults in the campgrounds all week.   Then she shared

the heart of commitment in the team.

 

12:00

“I pray for you every day—that God gives you wisdom and words in all that you are dealing with.”

Bill to the mayor of Gatlinburg—when they met at the gas station

 

12:40 p.m.

“Yes, I took time to eat a good lunch.”

Bill to Aranda (summer missionary) as he arrived at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and as she expressed care for his health.

 

12:45

“We love Gatlinburg. We love the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. We love Tracey (the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair owner). We knew this would be a hard show in terms of numbers of people in town, but we came because of our love.   All we want to do is make expenses. We want to do what we can to help. Being here is what we can do.”

Two crafters –representing two different booths– in the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair were talking to Bill about the fire and its impact on Gatlinburg.   This was their heart and their hope.

 

1:00

“Lord, may the love stress he is feeling as he cares for his family not hurt his body for he is your wonderful servant.”

Bill’s prayer with a friend at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.

 

1:10

“How long has Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries been helping at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair? 34 years? I couldn’t imagine you not being here!”   Tracey Li, owner

 

1:30

“We have more bird houses.   Change back to painting bird houses (from painting animal masks)!”

Bill to our staff at the children’s craft booth at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair where in one day children paint about 80 bird houses, make about 120 sand art crosses, and receive animal and art balloons of all makes!

 

2:30

“Bill, I need your help. My car is broken on the road.”

Bill’s first response: “Sorry, wrong number.”   Bill’s second response: “I will pray.”

Bill’s third response: “Okay, how can I help?”

 

6:30

“How do we pray for God to keep you here?”

Bill to Linda Johnson at dinner

 

7:00

“Oh my goodness! I have so many friends here!”

Linda Johnson when several of her worship and Bible study friends from Greenbrier Campground come by our table at the Park Grill.

 

7:15

“Will you host our international dinner next Monday night with food from one of your restaurants?” Bill.   “Be glad to!” Jim.

 

7:30

“Jim (a different Jim from the one above), I have been blessed to see you three times this week.   And now tonight here in the Park Grill! I know you are moving to Atlanta on Sunday to be with your family. You have brought goodness to this town and to me.   I pray God grants you peace in all this change. And know you are one of the great ones.   You are loved here.”

Bill to Jim Gerding, who lost his home in the fires and whose beautiful wife died in April, and who stands as an example of the best of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

 

10:00

Thanks be to God!

Summer update

Posted by on 3:31 pm in Featured, Going Deeper, SMRM |

Summer update

It’s summer time in our mountains.

Tourists have returned to our Great Smoky Mountains from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful setting that Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge provide. Folks flock to campgrounds, wanting to find peace, relaxation and to be rejouvinated.

Most never expect to encounter their Creator. Yet because of a day camp, a worship service, or even a sand art cross, those who come to find themselves, end up finding the one died for them.

Moments like these are happening every day. Our summer missionaries are meeting people from all over the world, and have the opportunity to build relationships with them, and share Christ’s love. Our staff is giving God their all, and God is guiding their ministry every step of the way.

Big things are happening here, and they are getting bigger. We provide worship services to 8 campgrounds per week. We host 20 day camps per week. We feed 120 international students on Monday nights. We give away 200 sand art crosses per week to visitors at theme parks. We are active in community events, taking international students on hikes in the park, all while intensely studying the Word to grow in community and faith together.

And that was just June.

Things are big and getting bigger. Our staff is regularly requested to come and serve in a new campground, to work with new groups of international students, and to meet needs of those in our community. Our summer ministry is going well, and we want for you to be a part of it.

We want for you to join with us.

 

Join with us first through your prayers.

Listed below are our summer missionaries. Keep them in prayer as the go about each day, serving in day camps, working in theme parks, and with international students.

A Lim Jang
A Lim is originally from South Korea, and she studies history at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. I’m her free time, you can catch her reading or taking long walks.

 

 

Alex Richardson
Alex is from Helena, Alabama, and attends Jacksonville State University. Alex studies Psychology, and in his free time enjoys playing video games and attending BCM at his college.

 

 

Aranda Tate
Aranda is from Tennessee, and attends the University of Tennessee at Martin. She studies marketing with a specialty in social media marketing, but music is her true passion (aside from the Lord).

 

 

Madeline C. Mulkey
This is Madeline’s second year on staff, and she is serving as the Team Leader. She is working towards major Public Relations and a minor in Leadership Studies from the University of South Carolina. She is originally from Greenville, SC.

 

 

Sarah Buckley
Sarah is from Martin, Tennessee, and attends University of Tennessee at Martin majoring in Social Work. She is involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM).

 

 

YeYoung Park
Yeyoung is from Seoul, Korea, and attends Seoul Christian University where she studies Christian Theology. She plays the guitar and sings, and loves leading worship.

 

 

 

Join with us through your gifts.

The needs of those around us are great, and it takes support from our friends and neighbors to allow for God’s work to happen in our mountains. Our greatest need now is our annual budget. We must meet this in order to keep our ministry viable and vital for years to come, and we need your help to do so.
Ways you can help us meet that goal are:

1. Provide worship materials for a Sunday of services – $50
2. Purchase a week of gas for the van – $100
3. Sponsor day camp for a week – $150
4. Sponsor a week of groceries for the summer staff – $250
5. Feed 120 international students at our Monday night dinner – $500

Visit our Giving page for details on how to partner with SMRM.

 

Join with us online.

Follow us on Facebook, share our stories, and spread the word about the amazing things happening in the Great Smoky Mountains.

As the tourists come into our mountains, we welcome them with the love of Christ with open arms. God is placing needs in our path and calling us to say “yes” to the call. We are prepared. We are listening. We are serving.

Thanks be to God.

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Thanks Be to God! x4

Posted by on 7:56 pm in Featured, Going Deeper |

Thanks Be to God! x4

First, Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries has a 25 year relationship with South Korean Baptists. Now we are celebrating our strong relationship with Myoungsu No, Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Seoul and SMRM alum, in a mission project for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Bill went in March to South Korea on a planning trip. The goal is to establish small teams of Olympic-experienced resort ministers, younger ministers who are interested in learning this skill set, and Korean ministers. Each team will be sent into an Olympic venue to build relationships and
do evangelistic ministry. The March trip was a great success.

Second, Linda Johnson is joining with SMRM for several months beginning in April. Linda is a career resort missionary who has lived out her calling with a powerful ministry. She will be bi-vocational as she joins with us. Her focus will be on developing new ministries and supervising on-going ministry programs. This will enable Bill to continue in the Fire Ministry and to encourage our community relationships.

Third, we are joyfully at work preparing and planning our summer of missions. This is a vital and accurate ministry, particularly this year. We look forward to being involved with our guests and our attractions’ employees. We are recruiting summer missionaries and mission groups. We are also providing training for those group leaders.

Fourth, our Fire Ministry continues to evolve as God leads. We have gone from emergency response to immediate needs to transitional help to restoration of hope and presence. We are in for the long haul. We continue to utilize creative responses such as the Fill the Freezers project, receiving and giving 150 new mattresses, and a “Blessing Shower” of all new kitchen appliances and setup. We continue in this painfully beautiful ministry.

Thanks be to God for you and Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.
Thank you for giving financially to enable us in these God-guided ministries.
Thanks be to God! —four times.

Living Outside The Camp

Posted by on 3:54 pm in Featured, Going Deeper |

Living Outside The Camp

“As long as he has the infection, he remains unclean.
He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”
Leviticus 13:46

The above instructions were designed to improve communal living in relation to infectious diseases. Isolation was the solution. The ones affected found themselves “living outside the camp.”

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries response to the Fire has focused heavily on those who are “living outside the camp.” These people are deeply affected by the fire yet do not qualify for help from the government or the Dollywood Foundation. Those systems are doing good work but are focused on those who lost houses. Those “living outside the camp” may or may not have lost a house but have experienced other losses: jobs, vehicles, rental apartments or houses, or income due to a depressed season. They may have gathered extra expenses: health related problems from the fire, replacement of household goods, cleaning that was not covered by landlord or insurance, vehicle repair, increased rent (if they have found a place to live), or lack of insurance or denial of claims by insurance. Maybe they are afraid to apply for any systematic or program assistance. They are on the outside.

Our responses have moved through emergency moments to immediate needs to transitional help. We are now deep in that transitional help and God has held us with those who find themselves living on the outside of the camp.
Our responses remain individual. Our giving is face to face. Our conversations are personal. Our actions are rent help, gift card help (food mostly), new household appliances and items, vehicles gifted, medical bills paid, mattresses replaced, and so on.

We remain in the guide of the Holy Spirit: stop here, listen here, respond here, speak here, do this now. We find that if we commit to a need, the money or materials for that need arrives. When we hesitate, God holds back. When we act, God affirms.

We are the quiet ministry working as God leads. Don Hammonds taught me (Bill) to “do what is right and don’t tell anybody.” Paul Hall taught me: “it does not matter who gets the credit as long as the work gets done.” We have followed these lessons and acted within them. We are doing a valid and valuable ministry.

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is a part of a movement in the area to recover life and to love one another and to share God’ love. It is an honor to be in this team with so many others of all different styles and expressions. There are organizations and teams and local action groups and individuals. My affirmation is that it is an honor to be part of it all. We are working accurately as God is leading us.

We need you to stay involved in praying, serving, and giving. We need you to give to the on-going ministries and expenses of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries as well as to the Fire Ministry. We need you!
We are deep in a painfully beautiful ministry. Thanks be to God!

SMRM Fire Response

Posted by on 6:08 pm in Featured, Going Deeper |

SMRM Fire Response

Thank you for your prayers, donations, prayers and encouragement over the last 10 days. SMRM has actively been working with and ministering to workers, employers, community leaders, guests, residents of Gatlinburg and national disaster relief agencies over these days.
We are now positioned to start planning our ministries for the next phases of help and recovery for our beautiful community. SMRM is a small, flexible and nimble ministry whose purpose is to reveal the presence of God in the smoke. There are many organizations working to help rebuild our community at the moment. Each one has a specific purpose. SMRM cannot do everything – so we have decided to maximize our strengths to the glory of God and live into our vision. Below are some specific ways you can assist us as we serve our #MountainTough Community.

1. FINANCIAL DONATIONS: This continues to be the easiest and most effective way to directly impact families who have lost everything in the fire. Thanks to Southern Bank and Trust in Clarkesville, GA we are able to purchase Visa gifts cards with your donations without at costs! Last night Bill spoke to worker at the hotel he is staying in while his house gets cleaned. The man had friends who had lost everything in the fire, but had no connection to resources for help. We were able to give him cards to assist his friends and their families in rebuilding the basics of their lives. Thank you.

2. NON-MONETARY DONATIONS: SMRM will receive the following NEW items:
SMALL APPLIANCES: coffee makers, toasters, toaster ovens, etc.
KITCHENWARE: silverware, plates, glasses, pots, pans, etc.
HOUSEWARE: sheets, pillows, towels, bath clothes, blankets.
HOUSE SUPPLIES: vacuum cleaners, mops, brooms, etc.
Disclaimer: Sevier County is NO longer allowing ANY clothes to be donated in the community. There are literally warehouses full of used clothing. SMRM will NOT receive any clothes. If anyone wants to donate use clothing – ask them to donate to their nearest thrift store. C
**SMRM will NOT receive any USED items. The people here are getting their lives back together – we want to honor that with our best gifts.
SMRM is working to find a church in Knoxville who can store these donated goods. We will then use our SMRM dorm at Camp Smoky as a distribution point.

3. VOLUNTEERS: At the moment, SMRM is NOT receiving mission or work teams. There are other disaster relief agencies in the area who will be facilitating groups more quickly. We will examine ways mission teams can come along and help us after the first of the year. Please be on the lookout in January for ways your church or mission group can come serve in 2017! We look forward to wonderful mission moments together.

4. CHRISTMAS DAY EMPLOYEE MINISTRY: Every Christmas, SMRM provides 100 goodie bags to the employees at Ober Gatlinburg who work. We need one church to take on this ministry this year. Here’s what we need: 100 gift bags. Inside needs to be: Winter hat OR glove OR Scarfs, Chap Stick, hand santizer, and other winter goodies. If your church would like to take on this challenge – or at least part of it – please contact Jessie Perry at perryj521@gmail.com.

5. PRAYER: Prayers for friends who lost everything and are not living scattered lives. Prayers for workers and international students who are living without any income. Prayers for community leaders who are working around the clock to get Gatlinburg back open. Prayers for Bill Black as he continues to lead from his own scattered life – while his home was spared, there is smoke damage and Bill is living out of hotel for a couple of weeks.

Gatlinburg Fires Update

Posted by on 3:18 pm in Going Deeper |

Gatlinburg Fires Update

Update: Bill Black reports that his house (and the SMRM office) was NOT on the list of 37 homes destroyed in his neighborhood. He is hopeful. SMRM already has several volunteers on the ground along with our staff. Over the last 2 days they have been serving in the Evacuee Shelter and local command post. They welcomed evacuees who were tired and afraid to find the needed resources in the shelter. One of the volunteers ministered to children in the shelter over night by simply finding board games and giving them something to do with their hands and minds while everything else had been taken from them. 

Wednesday will mark a transition in our ministry. Many outside volunteers from the Red Cross are now serving at the shelter. Our volunteers and staff will be heading into the community to assist individuals, campgrounds and businesses as they assess their property and work to get back on their feet.

At the moment, no outside teams are needed. We will be assessing this need on a daily basis and letting volunteers know when it will be safe to come in and help.

The biggest need at the moment is financial donations. The Red Cross has secured lots of supplies. Please consider a donation to SMRM today to help us as we serve on the ground and respond to needs on a daily basis. You can give at smrm.org/giving. We had some trouble yesterday from the Paypal side on our giving page. If you have trouble, please use another web browser or simply send a check to the SMRM post office box (yes, the Post Office in Gatlinburg survived). We could use gift cards – Visa, gas or generic.

Thank you again for your prayers. Today – pray for stamina for our volunteers; comfort for a community in grief; and safety for first responders as they search and serve throughout the community.

2016 Annual Report

Posted by on 6:09 pm in Featured, Going Deeper |

2016 Annual Report

GO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN!

In the 1970’s my favorite T-shirt was one that pictured a hiker with the caption, “Go Climb A Mountain”. (I also had “Go Climb A Rock” and “Go Hike A Canyon.”)

 

Hiking and climbing and mountains have been in my energy flow since I got off the coastal plains of South Georgia.   Living on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been one my blessed rewards through the years of my ministry. It is joy to be able to retreat into these mountains

Isaiah 40: 9-10 guides our Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries 2016 Annual Report.

Climb a high mountain, Zion.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!
Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”
Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.

“Go Climb A High Mountain!”

Isaiah tells God’s people to make the effort; to do the work; to climb and to climb high.   Climbing high mountains does not just happen.   You must prepare; have the right clothing and gear; study the way; set out on the path; follow the guide; push your physical abilities; enter into the experience; open yourself to the summit; and make the descent. There is work involved in climbing mountains.

 

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is involved in all the aspects of climbing the mountains God has set before us.   We are on the journey. We have a professional staff and Board.   We continue to utilize the best of materials and equipment and programming. We seek God’s guidance in all we do.   We know the challenge.   We remain under-funded by approximately $1000 per month while we have accepted financial realities and limits. We are experiencing the blessings of a wide-open well received ministry that is accurate and valid in this community. We are open to all God sets before us.   We stay on the move –towards higher ground. 2016 and 2017 are the years of climbing higher with all the challenges.

 

“You’re the preacher of good news.

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries remains viable and valid in our setting.   This ministry has not slowed down in what we do. God has not closed any of our ministry programs. We have remained constant with our message of Good News. 2016 has seen great response to our work with over 40 people making professions of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Our people have preached, taught, served, counseled, loved, sung, and lived the Good News.   Our programs continue to work. God has brought new volunteers to us and opened new relationships for us.   2016 has been a great year of proclaiming the Good News.

 

“Raise your voice. Make it good and loud”

Our presence is strong.   One of the highlights for 2016 has been an emphasis on training and preparing volunteers and mission groups for service. This year has celebrated the growth of missional Christians with a message that “God has brought you here. You have said, ‘Yes, Lord’. What you have to say is important. Speak up. Live loud for God.” This preparation of intentional volunteers means that they must take seriously what they have to say and how they speak. A loud voice is only helpful if it is tuned to God’s message and to God’s tone of love.

 

“Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”

Revealing the presence of God in the Smokies has always been the theme of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.   Getting people to “Look and to see their God” active in their lives remains our style.   We surprise people in theme parks, ski resorts, campgrounds, special events, and at work by showing them God’s presence. 2016 has been especially rewarding as we focused this effort in individual relationships. Our deep community presence has led to rewarding counseling where people responded to knowing God active in their lives.

 

“Look at him!”

This is not a season for us to take our eyes off God. Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is especially vulnerable as we are an independent ministry tasked with generating our own support, finding our own volunteers, conducting our own programs without resources, maintaining healthy relationships with Sevier County Baptist Association and its wonderful churches, and meeting the demands of the ministry. As we climb the high mountains, we must keep our eyes on God as the guide for this ministry.

 

“God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.

 

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is healthy in its people and programs.   We are blessed in our love with God. We are strong in who we are and what we do.     We are challenged in terms of our financial demands. We are confident of God being the power and the action in this ministry. We are climbing the high mountains with God and we rely on his power.   2016 has been a year of action rewarded by God. We are climbing higher   —farther in and higher up— in the power of God.

 

And I was wondering my friends if you had been to the mountains

To look at the valley below?

Did you see all the roads tangled down in the valley?

Did you know which way to go?

Oh the mountain stream runs pure and clear

And I wish to my soul I could always be here.

But there is a reason for living

Way down in the valley

That only the mountain can know.

Paul Stookey, From the album “Paul And”

Intentional Missions

Posted by on 3:08 am in Going Deeper |

Intentional Missions

Eloise Ogburn’s Prayer Journal Notes

As She Prepared To Serve As A

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries Houseparent

“When we go on the mission fields by prayer or as missionaries, as we go, God will meet us there.   And when we hold the Bible and realize that it is more than just a collection of stories, we will be committed to share with a lost world.”

Ms. Eloise was a 20 year houseparent in Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.   Her week was marked with great food, good behavior (“sit up at the table”), and a focus on doing good work.   Her husband, Mr. Bonnie Ogburn, funded and prayed her trips. Her daughter, Patti Hall, often served with her and has continued the family tradition of houseparenting –with her own flair. Her grandchildren, Patrick and Bonnie, have served in Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.   This is one of our great families! Patti was going through some of Ms. Eloise’s things recently and found one of her prayer journals.

Ms. Eloise’s writings are set just before coming for her week at SMRM and reveal her intentional approach to her week. As her statement above shows, the good ministry of prayer or of action involves meeting God.   We prepare to meet God in taking seriously God’s Word.   We act responsively and responsibly because we “hold the Bible” —look closely at her written notes and you see that she marked out the phrase “hold and read”. For her, to “hold the Bible” meant to take it into our life, to absorb it into our reality, and then to act on and in its power.

Her next page of writing revealed her heart prayers as she prayed for SMRM:

Houseparents

Sunday lunch (36)

Eric Spivia and Marcia and 2 kids

Park people

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

Korean meal

Scott and Jennifer (Jennifer job)

Transportation to and from

Closing ceremony

Our Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries family is a wonderful expression of Church and mission.   It is a joy to have been taught by servants such as Ms. Eloise. It is now a joy serve with you who continue that intentional approach.   Thanks be to God!

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