Tag Archives: college ministry

The Journey to the Summit: Photos from 40 years of Mountain T.O.P.

40th Logo - 5

People usually have a lot to say about turning 40.  It’s a big milestone in the life of a person and people handle it a number of ways.  Here are a few of the more popular reactions:

  • Forty isn’t old, if you’re a tree.
  • I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience.
  • Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed. – Charles M. Schultz
  • Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times. – Helen Rowland

Here on the Mountain as we look back over these 40 years there a lot of things we could say about turning 40. The life of MTOP has had its ups and downs. The programs have grown in number and in size. The needs of the community have changed through the years and we have done our best to adjust.  We have taken turns I don’t think anyone could have ever expected and have gotten where we are today because of those turns in the road.

I think the only thing to say is how grateful and humbled by where this ministry is today. At the George Bass Brick and Mortar Dinner at the end of February we had speakers from every decade of Mountain T.O.P’s history speak about the changes and growth in that time. Every single speaker shared about how incredible it has been to be a part of what God has done in this ministry and how no one could have imagined where we are today.

As a way to celebrate all the good work that has been done, all that God has provided, all the lives changed in and out of camp, we wanted to show a glimpse of the past 40 years in a slideshow. Not only can you see some incredible pictures of families, worships, staffs, and camps, but also some incredible ’80s hairstyles.

 

Keep sending in your pictures to olivia@mountain-top.org of your time on the mountain. Be sure to include what year it is from and what program it was.  We’ll be sharing more pictures and slideshows throughout the year!

“I loved every minute of my job” -Reflections from Ben Nichols, YSM Field Manager

10517460_10152361219728462_2619754332891817638_nI had my first exposure to Mountain TOP in the summer of 2009. I was an eager 15 year old who was excited to spend a week away from home, make some new friends at camp, and get to use power tools. I had no idea how powerfully Mountain TOP would impact me and I didn’t realize the impact Mountain TOP makes on the people they work with.

This past summer I was on staff for the second time, now as a Field Manager (aka the toolshed guy). I was incredibly blessed to have this position where everyday I could go out and see the difference that Mountain TOP was making. Whether you were a camper 20 years ago, were a camper this summer, or support Mountain TOP financially or in prayer I want to remind you: this ministry is changing lives.

My job this past summer was to oversee the projects going on outside of Camp Baker Mountain during weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7. I would go out and check up on groups during and after their projects making sure projects were done the right way and also making sure the homeowners were happy. I scheduled all the projects for my camp weeks. I got lumber from sawmills and delivered it to worksites with the help of some Ministry Coordinators. I listened to every story about how projects went that day and answered all construction questions while encouraging groups that they could get it done.

IMG_3097I loved every minute of my job.

I pulled up to a home where a YRG had recently finished building a porch to find an elderly man sitting on his new porch. He was talking with his neighbor about how proud he was of his new porch. I saw the heart of a man newly filled with love of the Lord’s servants.

I stopped by the home of a woman who had a wheelchair ramp built by us. She knew the names of every single person in her YRG. She told me about the 14 and 15 year olds in the group who got along like brother and sister. She told me of the 18 year old who was as strong as an ox. She told me about the 16 year old who was the best worker in the group. She told me about the driver who “Knew exactly what he was doing”. This woman needed a wheelchair ramp, but the interaction with this YRG meant as much to her as anything. I heard the words of a woman who had been filled with the love of the Lord’s servants.

I couldn’t be more proud of my staff and the community we had my final week of the summer. We completed 4 wheelchair ramps for people who needed them. One woman was in a wheelchair and the only entrance to her trailer was a porch. Because of a stroke, she couldn’t even remember the last time she had left her home. One man had fallen and broken his hip going down the stairs from his porch so we built him a wheelchair ramp. There were 2 families in which the mother was going through chemo. Both were scheduled to get home on Friday. We had YRGs at both of their homes for 3 full days of work.  They skipped their YRG celebration to keep working. Both women were able to get into their homes when they returned from the hospital because of the wheelchair ramps we built for them. I saw that the Lord provides.

Mountain TOP provides relief, love, hope, and countless other things to the community of the Cumberland Plateau through the service projects done in the summer. I got to see all of it. I got to see the impact that this ministry makes and I hope that all of you who are involved with Mountain TOP one way or another know that you have changed the lives of the people you work with during your visit to the Mountain. I hope that next summer you come to the Mountain of Lord ready to work hard. I hope that next summer you come to the Mountain of the Lord ready to fill somebody with the love of the Lord.

 

Ben Nichols

Field Manager

 

Hooked: Reflections from a Spring Breakout Group

“As the Campus Minister for the students going on this trip and as the primary coordinator for our annual Spring Break mission trips, I am always looking for ways to stretch my students. All too often, they get into the mindset that their way of doing something is the *only* way to do something. This is why I chose Mountain T.O.P. as our service site.

Group putting together bunks for new cabins
Group putting together bunks for new cabins

 I have traveled to MTOP in the past and I loved the diversity of Christians who serve the Lord and bring their own prayer styles to the community. When you are at MTOP, you are one serving body of Christians, each with his or her own gifts to bring to the community. Further, MTOP entrusts their participants with a great deal of responsibility in accomplishing their given projects. Our students grew in confidence and knowledge as we accomplished our projects and our hearts were opened to the wonderful diversity that the Lord works within his Church. We prayed, ate, laughed, and served together – just as I imagine it will be in Heaven. Mountain T.O.P.’s Spring Breakout is a wonderful experience that our students will not soon forget!”