Sunday, May 21
Today, I took on a brand new, life-altering task. I left my family in Sebastopol, Mississippi to come to a town I barely knew was on the map. A few months ago, I had been in deep prayer about what my next step would be, and God more or less threw a curveball at me and opened the door to a summer ministering at Camp Wesley Pines. So, here I am. I was extremely nervous as I unloaded my things and chose my bed. I had an endless stream of thoughts about the people who surrounded me; however, I knew one thing about each of them. God put these specific people right here in my life for a reason, and he has an extraordinary purpose for each one of us. Today, I thank God for new beginnings and for this amazing opportunity to be a light for His kingdom.
Monday, May 22
Today marked the beginning of Camp Wesley Pines staff training 2017. (and the beginning of our wonderful, super tasty cafeteria food. ) I was so inspired to see how organized Zach (our boss), and Jana (staff instructor) were; it showed how committed they were to see the staff and each camp succeed. We learned so much information in a matter of hours; I felt as if my brain would literally explode. But, I am thankful, because Jana covered every possible scenario that could happen at camp. Trust me, I mean EVERY possibility. I think I finally know everyone’s names. Well, sort of. We have an Amy, Anna, Anna Grace, Adam, and an Annie! How confusing, right? Even though I have never been an expert swimmer, I strived to push myself at the swimming pool, and I passed all the prerequisites for lifeguard training. Today, I want to thank God for the initiation of friendships and a burst of endurance to complete a task I wanted to give up on.
Tuesday, May 23
Early this morning, I found out that a precious lady in my family left this world and went home to our Heavenly Father. The devil was really taking a toll on me, as I wanted to be home with my family. However, as I opened my devotional (“Too Blessed to be Stressed” by Deborah Coty), for my daily quiet time, God knew just what I needed. He placed Jeremiah 29:12 right in front of me. “Call on me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” From that moment, I knew how to get through my day. As Jana better prepared us to be leaders, I began to build relationships with the other staff members. We executed a team building activity in which our whole staff had to balance and cross a thin, metal cable. We learned that when one person fails, we all fail. In life, God wants nothing more than for us to strive to bring others to Him. When one of His children falls because we were not fulfilling our Christian duties, we have all failed. Today, I thank God for the reminder of His presence and His patience when we fail Him.
Friday, May 26
I am completely and utterly exhausted. But I know that this is only preparing us for the trying weeks ahead. We must be physically, spiritually, and mentally prepared to take in these kids and minister to them. We have been thoroughly training for our CPR/first aid and lifeguard certifications. My muscles are so sore, and I think I have drank at least two gallons of the chlorine water. However, we have to keep working hard, because there are only a few more days until we take our final test to see if we are mentally equipped for the title. Tonight, Brother Johnny and Mrs. Connie hosted dinner at their house. It is so encouraging to see how hard they work to make camp a success, and they go above and beyond with such cheerful and giving attitudes. Today, I thank God for such an outgoing, Godly pastor couple, and I pray for an extra boost of energy for the days to come.
Monday, May 29
After such a refreshing day of rest and relaxation, we started our Monday off bright and early learning how the Tower works. The tower is a combined rock wall, zip line, and a few other cool things. I was really skeptical about my life being in the hands of my fellow staff. As I was working my way up the rock wall, I looked down and became so nervous, and I realized that this course is so much like life. If we continuously look back at where we have come from, we become blinded and unable to see what God has waiting ahead. We also learned how to properly secure kids into a high ropes course, and honestly, I am beyond excited to see campers complete these obstacles. Today, I thank God for taking away fear in tough situations, and I pray that I keep my eyes focused on the future He has prepared for me, and not the past.
Thursday, June 1
Over the last few days, we have been sharpening the skills we have learned throughout staff training. We have also grown closer, and we have built trust and unity among one another. I pray that as our training is ending, God will continue to prepare our hearts and minds. I pray that He flows through every single camp we host and that the campers will sprout a desire to learn and grow in Him.
TIME FOR CAMP!!
Summer Staff 2017
News up-dates from Wesley Pines…
Connie and Johnny Crosby attended the Camp and Retreat Ministries National Gathering in Palestine, TX January 29-February 3, 2017. We received a lot of good information and made a lot of good contacts but are glad to be back home.
Camp Wesley Pines has hired a new program director, Zach Crosby. Zach has a bachelor of science in recreation administration from USM. He has interned with Own your Hill Marketing where he learned aspects of marketing, photography, website content, and social medial content. He has been the facilitator of Bar-T Adventures where he lead participants through fun and productive times on the high ropes and zip line courses. Zach has been licensed and ordained to the gospel ministry and most recently served as Children’s Pastor at Journey Church in Laurel, MS. Zach also served as a summer intern at Wesley Pines in 2013. We are excited to have this gifted young man on our staff!
Free Day! April 29…save the day! Wesley Pines invites all to come and experience a taste of summer camping! You will have the opportunity to participate in archery, canoeing, high and low ropes events as well as touring the camp. Our Prayer Trail will be open for spiritual reflection and devotionals. Burt Fleming, world champion chainsaw wood carver, will also be here on that day. There will be a free lunch with dessert being ice cream made by Bro. Johnny’s 1940 John Deere hit-and-miss engine. Come and enjoy the day with us!
After 25 plus years of service, the walk-in cooler unit in the cabin-side kitchen could be patched no longer….it gave up its faithful service (I wonder how many tons of food it has kept cool…how many gallons of milk?). This cooler has been replaced with a NEW one, may it serve us well as we serve others through this kitchen!
The planting of all the 4th generation super lob lolly pines is now complete for this reforestation! Thank you Lord for the gentle rains that have come weekly since the completion of this project!
Camp dates have all been set for summer…look on this web page for them! We are also adding three new groups this summer that have not camped with us before. One of these groups is the Mississippi Burn Camp. This is going to be a great and busy summer! Please keep us in your prayers!
Improvements/ already done or in near future
1. We have erected a large new cedar cross at the outdoor chapel area. A new lighted cedar cross is coming to the tabernacle soon!
2. New aluminum flag poles with solar lights coming soon!
3. Painting/staining Durr-Wise Lodge outside….and the porch area is nearing completion. Re-finishing and sealing all rock-in chairs on campus should be finish this week. Re-finishing and sealing 8 inside doors at Durr-Wise completed this week. We are preparing to build a storage building for Presbyterian Cursillo behind Durr-Wise lodge...we have cut the lumber using Bro. Johnny’s sawmill from downed trees at Wesley Pines… constructing the building this spring.
4. A new pavilion will be complete on the activity field before summer…the slab has been poured!
5. New designated parking area on the cabin side of camp…with about 300 feet of split rail fence should be in place by Free Day (end of April)
6. 20 new cedar topped benches (1/2 of these built as an eagle scout project) headed for the prayer trail!
7. New butterfly garden going in across the blacktop road from the tower.
8. New archery range and equipment (hopefully in place by summer) through a partnership with the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
9. Cleaning out and repairing the pool this week.
Volunteers/helpers needed!! Spring Cleaning? Sprucing up? Some of these activities have begun already…
1. Help needed to change the color scheme on cabin side of camp...going from brown to driftwood blue...estimated needing 200 gallons of paint...every inch of decks and exterior walls of cabins 5-12 have already been pressure washed...now comes the paint! Need help taping windows...painting, etc
2. Carpentry skills needed: To refinish the hardwood floors in cabins and Smith Retreat Center.
3. Carpentry skills needed: To replace the vent fan area of each cabin with sky lights.
4. Construction of new wooden bunk beds. 32 sets are being built by churches. These will be placed in cabins after refinishing hardwoods floor
We are excited about all the activity…several churches have already committed to help….we can use all the volunteers….all skill levels….even for a few hours…that can come our way!
Johnny J. Crosby
Executive Director, Camp Wesley Pines
Mississippi Conference, The United Methodist Church