July, 2020: Our world is out of Center. Our hearts are pushed sideways. Our minds are too filled with unknown. Our actions betray our confusion. There is so much unknown. We are out of balance.
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries and I (Bill Black) would offer for us centering thoughts. We would invite all to settle into the Center that is God; to enter into the Holy. To be restored in our hope. To live in such prayers as these offered by Howard Thurman in his book, The CenteringMoment, from 1969. Howard Thurman lived, ministered, led, and wrote through years of segregation and racial hate. In all of his writings there is a quiet strength that confronts without being strident; that demands justice without being destructive; that invites peace while being challenging; that calmly claims the certainty of God’s rule and grace. Let us so be led and centered:
“The Common Mood” by Howard Thurman, The Centering Moment, 1969:
It is a very blessed thing to be privileged to share together the common mood, the full and searching moment in which the meaning of private life is lifted up and seen in a perspective as broad as life and as profound. Again and again we are overwhelmed by the littleness of our lives, the way in which there seems to close in upon us the intimate need, the personal demand. There is often no breathing moment that permits us to lift up our heads and take the long look and sense ultimate meanings in which our lives are involved. Thus each has his world of need and necessity and urgency; some of us are wrestling with very great anxieties. We do not know how to deal with that which awaits us tomorrow, and in our desperation and our panic we find ourselves unable to center our spirits upon the meaning of this great and significant moment in our lives. There are some who are ill and we have no way by which we can determine now that this illness says about the length of our lives. We wrestle with this secondary undertone of uneasiness while we await the revelation of trained mind and skilled hand. There are some who are deeply troubled about the state of the world—the fever that seems to be sending our civilization hurtling along a path which threatens to end in destruction and carnage and great tragic waste. So we clutch this moment of intimacy ad friendliness and put it over against all the darkness that seems to be brooding over the nations of the world. There are some who remember the meaning of this day in the richness and tradition of the faith, and we seek ways by which we may enter into its meaning in our way so that there will be in us no things what will spoil the fullness of the joy of the moment of triumph.
Here we are, Our Father, all of us Thy children, each with his own life and world and need. We lay gently upon Thy altar our life as it is, and we hold it there, waiting for Thy Spirit to invade our spirits so that we shall be prepared for the living of our lives, whatever may be the circumstances by which our days, tomorrow and tomorrow, may be surrounded. For this, O God, we utter in the quietness our thanks and our praise.
“Right Relations With Others” by Howard Thurman, The Centering Moment, 1969:
Always we live under some necessity for righting our relations with our fellows. We turn to the scrutiny of the light in our hearts to see wherein we have lived without harmony, without order, and without an increasing measure of tranquility and peace. We look at the misunderstandings which we have experienced during the week that has passed. Those moments when our words conveyed what was not our intent, and the result of their movement into the life of another, brought chaos and pain and misery. Those moments when with clear-eyed intent we have gone out of our path to do the vengeful thing, to speak or to act with hardness of heart. We remember all of our reactions to the ill will in the world, to the bitterness that has loomed large between peoples and states, between countries, and between nations. All of these things weigh heavily upon our minds and spirits as we seek somehow within ourselves to be whole and clean and purified.
Our Father, we come to Thee, seeking in quiet ways the courage to ease the tensions and break the discord in which, one way or another, our lives are surrounded. We offer to Thee the treasures of our life, to the end that we may be so touched by Thy spirit and sensitized by Thy love and Thy tenderness that we may find our way in peace and in strength and in confidence. This is what we seek, even as we worship Thee, O God, in spirit and in truth.
“Mindful of the Agonies” by Howard Thurman, The Centering Moment, 1969:
We are mindful of the agonies that are sweeping over our world. Suffering, hunger, disaster falling upon whole communities and generations; fears that drive nations to put their organized might against others nation’s organized weakness; the utter loneliness of those whose dwelling place is the solitude of vast havoc; the anguish of sensitive spirits that find no windbreak against the impact of so much human misery. From all of this there is no escape.
As if this were not enough. We are immobilized by our private world of frustration and inner chaos, of needs unfulfilled, of dreams that leave us bereft of even the hope of fulfillment.
Surround us, close present God of our spirit, that we may fathom the true intent of our hearts and our strivings, that we may sense the true intent of Thy purpose in human history, and the personal enterprise. We would not turn away from Thee; but again and again it is so hard to find Thee. Find Thee we must. Understand us in our search, that even our weakness may lead us to Thy dwelling place.
“The Moment of Recollection” by Howard Thurman, The Centering Moment, 1969:
In Thy presence, our Father, we make an act of recollection:
We cradle in tenderness those that have been visited by sudden or muted violences; families shattered by death and murder; those distraught by illness which does not respond to the trained mind and the skilled hand; those who inhabit the shadows where things are never clear to the mind and at the core of whose spirit lies an endless torture, making for restlessness, panic, and madness; children who are without love and compassion, who must manage life with ill-formed and blunted tools; the lonely who cannot experience the penetration of the wall that envelops them; and those who are so tired that the ground of their being is consumed by great weariness. These we remember before Thee, our Father.
We do not know how to express our feelings, we do not know quite what to say. We give to Thee a cloud of witnesses to human need that in Thee may be found sanctuary for them. As for us, we still ourselves in Thy presence to be caught up by the movement of Thy spirit in our minds and hearts so that we may dare become Thy living agents of usefulness and redemption. Grant, O gracious God, that we may not betray Thy urgency through self-love, self-pity, or fear. This or souls cannot abide. Deliver us from so great a temptation, our Father.
Thanks be to God.
Much of my (Bill) personal life is centered around recognizing, entering into, and experiencing God moments. My response is an open “thanks be to God.” I do live and love that expression: “thanks be to God.”
In resort ministry we are granted holy moments where we receive someone else and they receive the presence of God through Jesus Christ. These may be obvious and instant, as a friend becomes a new Christian through a counseling moment over food. They may be surprising moments as an international student exclaims over the color of the paper that a Donut Devotional is printed on with “Oh good, it is blue. We put these on our wall in our room for color….and to read through the week!” Yet again, they may come in the affirmation of a man who says that Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries loved into his life when he was young and guided him into being the father and husband he is today. Still another moment arrives from watching our Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries’ family as it lives out being a missional expression of the Kingdom of God into the world. (All four of the above holy moments took place in one recent week through our Ski Ministry at Ober Gatlinburg.)
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries works to reveal the presence of God in these mountains and resort areas. The holy moments often move us to tears and always inspire us to continue the ministry before us. And to announce: Thanks be to God!
FIVE HUMAN HOPES
FIVE GOD GUIDED ACTIONS
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries (SMRM) has worked in the last year with five chosen hopes as set by our Director, Bill Black, and by our Board of Directors:
- Stabilize our budget income and spending
- Establish financial security with a savings of at least one year’s spending
- Find someone to parallel Bill in ministry and assist him with a future goal of preparing for his retirement
- Replace the summer staff building (the dorm) with a year-round facility
- Do our on-going quality ministry programs
These five human hopes have been matched by five God guided actions. Our heart and our work is to remain in the plan of God for this ministry. We do not always have all of the answers, yet we are sure that we are within God’s plan.
Stabilize our budget income and spending
We are on budget! Our income and spending for 2018 are within reasonable conditions and we hope to finish with strong giving even as our natural seasonal expenses decrease in the late year. Our giving categories are individual direct support, ministry program offerings, church support, associational support, ministry site support, gifts in kind, and special fundraising projects. While we are always aware of budget spending management, we also seek to follow God’s lead into ministry expenses without holding back. Each year of SMRM, Inc.’s existence, we have moved into healthier financial existence. We feel guided and blessed by God.
Establish financial security with a savings of at least one year’s spending
This has not happened. Our efforts at preparing for future financial security have not been successful. In fact, we have taken losses in this area –even when we sought to have it addressed specifically and professionally. At the moment, we do feel it is a correct goal. We do feel that God is guiding. We do know the need to remain continually dependent on God for daily provision. We stake our hope on God.
Find someone to parallel Bill in ministry and assist him with a future goal of preparing for his retirement
Jodie and Andy Lamon have joined SMRM in 2018 with an excitement and energy level that is God blessed. They are both from Knoxville area and Jodie Bowers Lamon was on SMRM staff in 1991. Andy is a Methodist minister who has pastored in two resort settings. He responded to a family need to return to the area and they came into SMRM in June, 2018. Jodie is serving as Assistant Director with SMRM. Their statement is “We feel called to serve this community and be part of God’s healing here. It is a great blessing to us.” Our hope is a few years of parallel ministry as God guides us together. We know that this is God blessed.
Replace the summer staff building (the dorm) with a year round facility
The dorm at Camp Smoky has enabled SMRM to excel with great freedom for SMRM’s entire 42 year existence. It is rich in story and rich in the blessings of God. SMRM’s future needs, however, are for a facility that can be used by individuals, small groups, and up to 15 summer staff at all times of the year. Now is the time to address that need. We have named the hope. Now we are just beginning to follow God’s actions in conversation and study. We pray for God’s blessing in this next journey.
Do our on-going quality ministry programs
This is the holy and fun one! Our hope is to maintain all our great programs and relationships even as we address other giant goals. God has guided us. God has blessed us. This year’s ministry highlights include:
Ski ministry: Deep and powerful relationships celebrated at Ober Gatlinburg Ski and Amusement Park with strong worship services and individual responses to God.
Campground ministry: We designed new day camps for children into cooking classes, shelter building, nature study, and water fun –all with wonderful Bible lessons. Also, we began two separate Bible studies for adults gathered around Greenbrier Campground.
Theme Park ministry: NASCAR Speedpark provided a wonderful setting and freedom for children’s craft booths all summer where we got to share Jesus’ love and the Gospel to families.
Special Events ministry: New owners of the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair turned to us to enhance the experiences of their guests and the crafters during the July and October fairs. We were central in making Christ known through creative actions and personal conversations. The relationship with the new owners was a God blessed joy.
International Employees Ministry: As always, businesses bring in workers and God brings us to them. We’ve enjoyed a Bible study with Turkish boys, countless meals and transportation events, fun experiences (a recent hike led to deep conversations about faith and trusting Jesus as your guide), and the development of one young Christian from Russia into volunteering with our staff and leading in worship. God has blessed.
Volunteer development: We had varied and strong volunteers all year. Two different students joined us for winter ski ministry. Adults have come and led in events ministries. Teams came at the right time and met the right needs (we were short a few in June but July was amazing). We feel we are getting a new system for volunteers in place and are more comfortable about the future in this area.
We are confident that our ministry programs and relationships remain accurate and active. We see possibilities for new ministry expressions as the resorts change and grow. Our hope has been met with God’s action and blessing.
We are grateful for your involvement in this ministry as volunteers, people of prayer, and donors. Your gifts to Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries are needed and are part of God’s blessing. Thank you.
Thanks be to God.
Summer is in full swing with 6 SMRM Summer missionaries serving in Gatlinburg, pigeon forge, and Sevierville. Ministry activities include day camps in local campgrounds, craft booths at theme parks, dinners for international students, and Sunday services in 12 locations. Check out our Facebook page for updates on summer Ministries
AdriAnna was born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. With several years of experience volunteering and working with young children, AdriAnna decided to continue her education and get an Elementary Education degree at University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is excited to experience the new climate of Tennessee, to experience what it’s like to have it be dark in the summer, and to sharing the love of God through whatever doors He opens.
Katie is from Birmingham, Alabama. She currently attends Auburn University and is studying English. Katie has volunteered with Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries in the past and cannot wait to spend an entire summer as a part of the SMRM team. She looks forward to meeting and connecting with new people and working with a team to spread the gospel.
Kwangeun began to be interested in mission work in Cambodia last year. A native of Seoul, Kwangeun is studying social work at Korean Baptist University. Kwangeun says ‘I feel rewarded for being helpful, I agree God think so. Sometimes he writes something about experiencing special. So maybe he’ll write some poems during this summer. He said there is lots of things that he is looking forward but the one thing he can’t wait is seeing how God use himself.
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.
Alex says, “I am looking forward to meeting new and different kinds of people and growing in my faith.”
Kaitlyn is a preacher’s kid who has grown up with a love for ministry. Kaitlyn has experienced an array of cultures and people that has led her to live an adaptable and colorful life. With being a recent graduate from Arkansas State University, and living close to family, she is constantly entertained by her twin brother and fiery red- headed sister; and loves cloudy days, the Pittsburgh Penguins, kayaking, and the flow of coffee through her veins. With this being a new experience for her, Kaitlyn said, “I can’t wait to see what fruit will abound or be planted with this experience that God has called all of us, and the people there, to share together.”
Jihye is one of our Korean students for the summer. She is very excited to be serving with SMRM this summer. She has been a Christian since she accepted Christ at church camp when she was in middle school. She says Christ’s love has changed her life, and she can’t wait to share that with others. Wisdom attends Korea Baptist Theological Seminary studying Early Childhood Education.
Madeline is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has worked with SMRM handling communications. Originally from Greenville, SC, Madeline found her way to the Smokies and loves hiking, tubing, and backpacking all over the mountains. She is serving as Leconte’s chaplain this summer.
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries cares for Appalachian Trail Through Hikers with shuttles, meeting needs, and blessings for their journeys. The following prayer is shared with hikers. It is an honor and blessing to serve these hikers as they journey through God’s creation.
A JOURNEY PRAYER
(A Byzantine Blessing)
Go now with God…
Be not tempted to stay in the safety of known places.
Move from where you are to where God points.
Hasten from here toward a God who beckons.
Go now with God…
Be not tempted to go only in your time;
When it suits; when it is for sure…
Bestir yourself now, for now is God’s time.
Go now with God…
Elect not to go alone.
Give allegiance, your destination to no other,
Choose to go with God.
Go now with God…
Go in faith that there is no valley so low,
No mountain so high,
No wilderness so vast,
No passage so crooked,
No way so confused,
That God is not already there,
Waiting to be with you.
Go now with God!
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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
“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!
“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.
“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
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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
“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!
“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?”
“How do we pray for God to keep you here?”
Bill to Linda Johnson at dinner
“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.
“Will you host our international dinner next Monday night with food from one of your restaurants?” Bill. “Be glad to!” Jim.
“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.
Thanks be to God!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.