On July 7, 2013 my wife and I were headed back to Knoxville from Brevard and decided to cut over the mountain pass that took us right by Camp Hope. We had never seen the camp before and so out of curiosity we decided to pull in and have a look. It was at that time we met some of the caretakers and they gladly showed us around. This opened up a conversation about the camp, its history, and about my background and ministry experience. These discussions led to a series of conversations with the local civil authorities which eventually led to my vision for a short term mission experience at Camp Hope. In short God has led us all the way and we are now signing up groups to serve each summer, thus founding Carolina Mountain Mission or CM2. God blessed our camp for 4 years bringing church teams from all over the country and even one from Ireland. The success of this camp paved the way for the creation of Thumbprint Ministries. Founded in 2018, our non-profit encompasses Carolina Mountain Mission and, Lord willing, many more missions opportunities to come.
My life mission started some 30 years ago when I felt God calling me into youth ministry. It has been a joy to watch God orchestrate and affirm that calling in my life over the years. One of the most compelling verses in all of Scripture for me is found in James 1:27 “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. “ I have worked with Middle School and High School students for 27 years and have found that the most impactful experience I can provide for them is a mission service project within a camp setting. Mission Trips change the way a modern day student views the world. These experiences allow students to break down many negative false perceptions they may have about other classes, races, mankind, and most importantly God.
This mission camp experience is designed to intentionally stretch students both physically, mentally and spiritually in an effort to open their eyes to the truth about God and the world they live in. Our hope is that students leave with a different outlook on God and mankind. We intentionally slow students down by taking them away from the fruitless daily distractions they are bombarded with like video games, cell phone etc.. In so doing we feel like this helps the student focus on the fact that what they do in this life really does matter and that they can make a significant difference if they are willing to whole heartedly serve others through word and deed.
It is the above philosophy that governs this mission as we seek to introduce students and adults to the world of serving others for the glory of God.