Friday, December 16, 2011

Summer Camp Directors....what??

The most frequently asked questions of summer camp directors:
1. What do you do?
2. What do you do in the off-season?
3. What do you think you'll do NEXT?

After serving at Eagle for 14 summers, we don't cringe when asked the above questions. We understand. Yes, we do spend our lives investing in this work--this great, deep work--one life at a time. No, we don't sit on the beach sipping fruity drinks all summer (just on occassion.) No, we don't work for 11 weeks and take the rest of the year off (tempting, though.) And, to be honest, we have no idea where or IF God will move us somewhere new.

After asking ourselves these questions, God has brought us to an important conclusion. This IS our now. This is our PRESENT. This is where God wants us and it is GOOD. We will be here, at this beloved place, where our relationship began, where God ravaged our hearts through the beauty of His creation, and where, now, we have the opportunity to invest in the lives of junior high, high school, and college students. Laboring to change one life, one thought, one relationship at a time.

I was perusing the Eagle Lake Summer Staff  '11 Facebook group this morning. Reading their insights and jokes took me back 14 years. I was a college student at Eagle Lake learning and soaking up the truths of God's good Word. Like a sponge, I couldn't stay away from its sustenance. It was one of the deepest and most beautiful times of spiritual growth for me. Oh, to see that the same growth, change, and accountability is still happening in the lives of young men and women makes me deeply thankful.

Here is an excerpt from a post that particularly spoke to me:

To all the summer staffers of EAGLE LAKE summer 2011, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did in my life. It was truly amazing spending the summer surrounded by all of you, seeking the LORD together, going through trials together, spreading the Good News and sharpening one another as iron sharpens iron. The impact that you all had on my life was life changing and constantly brought me closer to Christ. As many of you know, this summer was filled with hardships with family members passing away and by the grace of God I was able to rejoice in Him through all of them. I wanted to thank each and every one of you for being there for me and for helping me keep my eyes focused on the things that are above where Christ is and not on the things of this earth. I am not sure how the trials in my life this summer would have impacted me if I had not had you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to support me and encourage me. I thank the LORD every day for bringing me to Eagle Lake this summer and for placing you all in my life. I hope all is well with each of you and that you all are continuing to see the LORD work towards His perfect goal in your lives. My prayers are with you all.
Your brother in Christ,

Thank you, Eric, for reminding me this morning that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." May all of us grow in our knowledge and insight as we seek Him. Thank you, Lord, for giving us this sweet time at Eagle Lake. These beautiful, treasured moments are just glimpses of all that is to come. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little Boy and a little bird...


Meet Robin, Josiah's fast new friend.

Yes, Jojo's three and a half and will one day hate me for this blog post. But, he LOVES this bird (and I had to share it....).

Our big boy sleeps with Robin.  I've watched him whisper secret, lovely things to this tiny bird. He carries him around our home while chirping Robin's comments to us. He almost took him to show and tell at preschool, but decided against it when weighing the possibility of losing him in a new place.

A few nights ago, Josiah perched this little bird on my shoulder. I read his books, sang his songs, prayed with him, and cuddled him. My heart ached. Jojo so despretly wants to be big. He calls himself "big brother" and reminds me daily that he wants to grow up so he can "drive a car and cook." And so often I want that, too. I want him to be more independent. I want my own time. I want to brush my teeth and wash my face without someone crying or asking for a snack.

Yet, the sweet, tender Robin-loving moments are fading. Soon he will realize that it's not cool for a boy to love a robin (and tote him in a plastic grocery cart around the neighborhood). Soon the excitement for the sweet and simple will be gone. He will truly be BIG and these moments will only be treasured as faint snapshots of this mama's heart.   

Lord, teach me to soak up the present... to love the everyday. Help ME to love the sweet. Help ME to love the simple. Help me to realize that all of these moments are but fading themselves in view of eternity with You. Amen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The RED Couch

Our new

Mark and I found this lovely piece at Sofa Mart last weekend. It was a floor model and beckoned for us to take her home. I never thought my home would house modern furniture. I never thought I would choose something so bright...and did I mention that it's RED??

In contemplating if it should be a permanent fixture in our home, a major feature began to sway us. It is made of enduro suede. This means it would resist kid spills AND would make lovely tire track marks for Josiah and Noah's vechicles. The best part was that we both loved it! This was the piece for us.

After putting it in our living room, I've found myself sizing it up. Does it "work" in here? I've honestly tried not to like it. But secretly I keep smiling at it. It makes me happy.

On Monday afternoons, I spend time in the Word and prayer with some special women. This Monday, Riccara was sitting on our new couch (and looking very sleek and beautiful, I might add). We were talking about prayer. How prayer often is hard and, sadly, one of the first things to drop when life gets busy. I stopped, looked at that precious couch, and felt a nudging to get on my knees before it. Riccara joined me and we prayed. The change of posture and submission before God was beautiful.

I discovered that the red couch is the perfect height for kneeling prayer.  It is now a home of communication before God. In my traditional styled home, this piece is unique. It is set apart. Looking forward I see the enduro suede fabric becoming  stained with tears and losing its tire tracking ability. But that's okay. May our red couch always be a place of prayer.

Romans 15:5-6

Friday, September 23, 2011

Praising, yet again....

Today was a big day.
Today we took Noah to a pediatric cardiologist.
This momma's heart has ached for him... his present.... his future.
Today our little boy, Noah Wyles, was okay.

Never having had to go through a medical issue with one of our children has been an incredible blessing--a blessing that we didn't recognize. At Noah's last well-check a heart murmur was detected. My heart sank as irrational thoughts overcame me. What if he has to have major heart surgery?  What if we lose him? Lord, I can't do this....

The last few months I've struggled to grasp more fully the sovereignty of God. We've been surrounded with much sadness and have felt deeply the hurt and pain of others. Noah's heart murmur hit at a vulnerable time for me. 

This morning the cardiologist clarified that Noah has a functional heart murmur. He should grow out of it. He'll need to listen again in a year or so. This was the best case scenario. Praise God!

Today, I'm thinking and lifting up those families who don't have clarity. Those who haven't been told the "best case scenario." I can't begin to imagine or understand your pain and ache. May God continue to bring hope and joy through the small things and victories in your life. May He continue to speak deeply into each of us as we step forward to trust our Maker.

"For the LORD is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalm 84:11
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Quest for Peace

God is faithful each summer to teach us things we thought we already knew. This summer is no different. He is stretching us to trust Him, depend on Him, and seek His favor above all else.

Each Saturday evening we spend time in Bible study with our summer staff. These studies are intended to be small in number in hopes that accountability, change, and deep discussion will occur. We challenge our staff to spend three to four hours weekly in their study. They dig deep into either a specific topic, passage, or character from the Word of God.

Last week, the girls in my study asked God for specific things for which to pray. We were challenged that often our prayers are routine...boring....mundane. We wanted to ask big of our big God. While journaling, I began to ask God for peace in my home. He spoke some hard things to me. My definition of peace....classical music, quiet, calm, obiedence...isn't what I asked God for when we were struggling with infertility. What I wanted then was the patter of feet and shrieks of joy. I would have given anything to have the home we have now. So often I forget to remember God's blessings and fulfillment of promise.

God continued to speak deeper things to me. Specifically, that peace in our home, begins with me. It begins with my self-control. MY dying to self to invest in my children in loving, peaceful ways. MY choice to battle (with gentleness) when tantrums abound. MY choice to pray fervently for their souls to fall in love with the things of God. God is doing a good, hard work in me and I am thankful. Here are a few pictures from the last week:
Our sweet boys waking up after afternoon naps. Of course Josiah's beloved Cow is in the picture.

Jen and Noah at Festival morning during Shock week

Mark, attempting to complete some office work while Noah sleeps

Noah Wyles, already a fan of Eagle Lake Camps!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Off and Running

Mark and Josiah Kayaking with Morgan
 Eagle Lake is in full swing! We are already enjoying a hot, beautiful summer in Pike's Peak National Forest as we watch God amaze us in His work here.

Last week, eight children gave their lives to Christ for the first time! We trust that God is influencing and drawing many more through the lives of our summer staff. What an incredible ministry of which to be a part.

This week over half of camp is filled with children who are a part of our No Empty Beds program. Seventy-five ethnic minority campers were able to attend this week of camp for free thanks to those who partner with us in our campership (scholarship) fund. We are praying that God would use this week to surround them with love, fun, and His presence. Would you pray with us for these children?

Our new water toy, the AquaSlide, is a HUGE hit!
View our staff hiring video for a glimpse into the heart behind  who we are. Would you pray with us for our counselors this summer? Pray for strength, humility, and much love for those they will be impacting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Newest Addition!

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139

Welcome, Noah Wyles!

On Saturday, April 2nd, we welcomed God's newest blessing into our arms and home. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, Noah has brought much joy (and change) into our lives. Through these first sleep-deprived weeks, we are thanking God for His presence and goodness.

A family of 4!

Josiah's reaction to his baby brother! He has been very loving toward Noah and
continues to remind our visitors that they "can't take his baby home!"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Years and Counting!!

Ten years ago today Mark and I were married (at this Church in SC)! We stand in amazement today of all that God has done in our lives. Today, I've been pondering our marriage verse, Romans 15:5-6.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Marriage is definitely an endurance sport. Through struggles with communication, years of infertility, and our search to find balance in ministry and family, God has provided ample room for our growth and trust in His provision and goodness. Our seasons of heartache and triumph have brought unity and encouragement. What an incredible opportunity for sanctification He has designed within the marriage relationship. 

We are grateful for the years together and look forward to the birth of our son, Noah, in just a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back in one piece!

"This conference was so good." remarked one airman at the end of our time in Austria. We had battle two nine hour drives, a week of skiing (I know, the sacrifice!), language barriers and an eighty year old castle once owned by the Nazis’ now owned by Calvary Chapel (the irony!)
The conference and the time in Europe were incredible. I was able to speak four times and your prayers were felt. The talks went well but the time that God had me spend with the airmen was incredible. Not only did I get a chance to talk with then at meals, during van rides and while we were skiing, but they really opened up. I was humbled by the experience and saddened by the needs each of these folks face. God is working in Germany and I saw that everywhere.  

The club, Club 7, is run by Nav staff on the Ramstein AFB is very nice. This is due to the support the staff is receiving from the base leadership. God has blessed them with a Chief of Chaplains that is a believer and whose life has been impacted by the Navigators. The impact is being seen even by the base commander.
I was humbled by the opportunity to be a part of such a special ministry. It got me thinking about the great need that is all around us. The staff that serve on the base are former military and this is a huge blessing because they are granted privileges that civilians have a much harder time getting such as base access. They have instant credibility with the airmen and they understand the politics of being on an Air Force base.
            Is there an area around you that you have the privilege of being a part of? Maybe it is a health club, golf course, business group, or maybe you have the expertise to connect with others in your field of work or hobbies. The thought is you are looking around at the daily opportunities to live Christ in front of other people. It doesn’t matter your age, job, city you live in, etc. The opportunities are there to interact with hurting people.

Would you pray that God would show you the hurting in your community and give you the courage to interact with them? It can be as simple as a smile, or helping to fill a need someone has, and the great thing is it all starts with one.
The passage I spoke from the last night was John 15, the true vine. Jesus reminds us that He is the vine and we are outpouring of the goodness that comes from Him. In fact He tells us that apart from him we can do NOTHING. God care for us so that we can “bear much fruit” but the fruit only comes from the vine through the branch. We are simply the avenue the God chooses to use to bless others.
Go ahead and be a blessing today!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Mark flies to Germany--today! He will then travel to Austria where he'll be speaking over the next couple of weeks to a group of young military men and women. We both are trusting God to use this time in a very significant way.

Would you join us in prayer as he speaks on a four-part series "A Savior Worth Dying For"?  Specifically, he'll be covering three areas from the Gospel of John: Nicodemus, the blind man, and the Vine. Would you pray that God would reveal Himself in powerful ways during this time? That His character and infinite power would transform and encourage the lives of these men and women?

Jen is currently in her 33rd week of pregnancy with our second boy, Noah Wyles. It is an exciting, yet tiring time of life. We are trusting that Noah's development and growth will continue to progress and that he wouldn't be making an "early arrival" while Mark is in Europe! We cannot thank you enough for your prayers, support, and love. We cherish each of you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Technology has found us...

Well it is 2011 and we feel like it might be time to jump on board with the technology of the future. We hope to bring quicker updates of the things that we are experiencing here at Eagle Lake Camps. Hope you enjoy...