Finally! Camp has come.
After 668 days without a camper on either Cedarmore or Jonathan Creek, Crossings Campers are back and camp is under way! Thank you God, in advance, for what you will do this summer, changing the hearts and life trajectories of hundreds of students and children.
On Tuesday, nearly 600 campers arrived and officially marked the beginning of the end of the difficulties the pandemic brought on our ministry. COVID caused the loss of one entire summer of camp and almost all of our retreat business as well. As all of you readers know by now, with the expectation of record attendance last summer, we were devastated when we had to cancel camp.
The cancellation set in motion a long list of very difficult decisions by our leadership team, led by president Lance Howerton. Among the most difficult of those decisions involved personnel and pay reductions. How do we take care of our people when the reality was that both Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek were shut down completely with no guests? Facing the difficulties caused by the pandemic, Lance led us to do everything we possibly could to take care of our team that remained in place. However, the loss of more than 90 percent of annual revenue was very hard to deal with.
However, we must add that God provided for us financially in ways that we could have never expected. When the certainty came that we would have camp this summer, we moved full steam ahead in preparation for a great summer, in spite of COVID protocols that we were following. So, the fact is — today our ministry has enjoyed God’s blessing and favor for 25 years as we enter our 21st summer of Crossings Camps. He has been our provider for all these years as we have grown and He has continued to provide for us in spite of a pandemic!
If all goes as planned this summer, we will end our post-pandemic summer of 2021 with nearly 14,000 campers, hundreds of whom will have made decisions to follow Jesus and cross over from death to life.
And we look forward to another marker that will take place in only two years. Sometime, in the summer of 2023, the 200,000th Crossings Camper will arrive at Cedarmore or Jonathan Creek. Sometime in the summer of 2023, the 10,000th student/kiddow will come to a saving relationship with Jesus. 200,000 — 10,000! Who says numbers don’t matter?
Last number for this month — in that same summer of 2023, we will cross the $2,000,000 mark in missions offerings given by our campers! For 21 years we have supported missions causes around the world, and this summer we’re much closer to home with our offerings going to ministries right here in Kentucky. Both ministries are down in the mountains of eastern Kentucky: Freda Harris Ministry Center in Lookout and God’s Appalachian Partnership (GAP) in McDowell. While most of you as readers do not get to attend camp, we invite you to contribute to our summer missions offering and help us reach our goals. Just go to our website (www.gocrossings.org) or email me at email@example.com. Feel free to call me for more information. My personal cell is 502-671-9311.
If you’d like to experience a day of camp and a night of worship you’ll never forget at either Jonathan Creek or Cedarmore, contact me via email or my cell above.
In summary, COVID gave our entire leadership team a great opportunity to learn to deal with difficulties, when a sovereign God allows such difficulties to come into our lives. The Bible is clear. James reminds us that we are to “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, CSB).
We are thankful to God for his leading us as we navigated such trials! To Him be the glory for the great things he has done and continues to do through our ministry.
Rusty Ellison is vice president of development for Crossings.