Tag Archives: mission

Something Special, Why We keep coming to MTOP: by Chad and Angela Cooper

I’ve been going to MTN TOP for 11years, and each time I go I leave a little piece of my heart in Grundy County.

Chad and Angela Cooper

MTN TOP allows me the opportunity to partner with families in the area to reach a common goal- whether that goal is  an addition to their home, or renovation of their current living conditions. The relationships I’ve been able to develop with my families are invaluable. Not only does MTN TOP enable me to meet their physical needs, but to assess and meet their spiritual and emotional needs as well. The families of Grundy County are determined, hard working, humble,  and have always responded with such an attitude of thankfulness that overwhelms me.  It is truly a privilege to work with them and build those relationships.

Speaking of relationships, Ive made friends through this ministry that I know I’ll have for eternity— from staff to fellow campers across the U.S.  We may begin the experience as strangers , but we leave as family.

There’s something so special about a group of strangers separated by so much—age, gender, geography, experience, and a million other factors—-coming together for a common goal: to improve the lives of the people in Grundy County all in our Savior’s name.   As a RN, construction work is way out of my comfort zone. That’s when I know I have to fully rely on God for the results. It’s amazing what He can do with someone with few skills, but a willing heart.

MTN TOP is more than a ministry or a place. It’s an attitude of serving, caring, and giving to others that I can practice there and also when I’m back at home in my everyday life.

                                                                                                                                                                           Angela Cooper

I’ve been going to MTN TOP for 8 years . Every year I come home thinking that is was the best trip I’ve ever been on, and then the next time is even better!

I’ve had some construction experience before coming to the Mountain, but it’s been amazing to see how a team can come together and accomplish what we do in just 2 days. The last few years, I’ve been asked to be a point person- this is just the person who oversees the project. I’ve learned so much from this ministry that back home I’ve stepped up and done some work on my own.

MTN TOP has opened many doors for me. I did my first devotion at MTN TOP. I really enjoy coming back every year to see what God has in store for me  and what things I’ll learn. I’ve gained many friends from the Mountain and have shared God with people on my different teams.  It’s so amazing to see the family’s faces on Saturday when we leave, that the little work that we do makes their life  easier.

I hope MTN TOP will be here for a long time and continue to help others.

Chad Cooper

Hooked: Thoughts from Returning Summer Staffer, Emma Couch.

 

Emma
Emma

I’ve been participating in Mountain T.O.P.’s ministry in some capacity since the summer of 2009. Last year, I felt strongly that God was calling me to spend my summer doing His work as a summer staffer. As I was finishing up my sophomore year at Ohio State, and preparing for a summer spent in Tennessee, I had a lot of ideas about what my experience was going to be like. A summer spent in paradise, where I was the hero, changing people’s lives and making some awesome new friends. What I found was that I was completely wrong; once my summer was complete, I found that my life was instead the one that had been changed, by the people I encountered, and the unbelievable, all-encompassing love I experienced.

Those of you who have been on summer staff will understand me when I say that our job is HARD. While I had expected a happy-go-lucky, super relaxing job, half the time I was a Ministry Coordinator, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to fix this problem or solve that issue.  Sometimes I became frustrated, sometimes I wondered why on earth I would have chosen to spend my summer in a place whose closest Wal-Mart was 40 minutes away, and sometimes I thought that maybe I should just go home. But then came the quiet moments, whether it be during a staff worship during precamp, or a daybreak on a worksite, or quiet moment with a family at a project. In those moments, I realized that Mountain T.O.P. was an unbelievably important place, and that I was lucky enough to get to experience that crazy thing we call staff life, seeing God in everything I encountered.

263335_10152866676135707_1682585318_nThis summer, I get the opportunity to return for my second year on staff, as a YSM Program Manager. I’ll be taking on a much different role than I did last summer, and I have a lot of nerves about my abilities, the experience itself, and what the summer is going to look like. I had my doubts about applying for my second year, as I’m getting ready to go into my senior year of college, but after a lot of prayer, and some gentle nudging from God, I realized that my heart wouldn’t be satisfied until I returned to the mountain to continue His work. I already know that my job will be hard, and sometimes I’ll be sad there’s no Wal-Mart, but if I learned anything from my staff experience last summer, I know that every moment of stress will be worth it, because there is absolutely nothing better than being able to live (and work) on a mountain top.

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!”

ReFrame Conference

This week the MTOP we had the opportunity to go on a staff field trip to Johnson City, TN for the 3rd Annual ReFrame Conference. As I’m sure most of you know, all of full-time staff lives in our quiet and trafficless Grundy county, with our L&L Mart and Walker’s Video and Grill. So, as you can probably imagine, we were bouncing around like a bunch of giggling school girls Tuesday as we headed for the big city. Johnson City, population 64, 528(Yes, I am aware most big cities have a couple hundred thousand people). Grundy County population 13, 650. Where were we going to stay? What were we going to eat? And what was I going to wear if we weren’t wearing MTOP polos?

The next day we had sessions the second half of the day. We learned all about telling MTOP’s story and how to use different online tools to spread information to our community. Although it may not sound like it would be all that exciting, it was thrilling to see new technology that is available to us and to brainstorm different ways we could use them to share our story, and our mission. I’m pretty sure I took more notes than I ever did in any of my college classes (don’t tell my parents). It was fun to hear the different things other groups were using and doing, and to think of the possibilities for MTOP. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming at times, hearing all this new information and new tools to use, ways to refine things we are doing, and new ways to approach our community. I tried to just soak it in and not to forget any of it, which had me writing like my life depended on it. We could hardly wait to start discussing all the different ideas when we finished up the session, and it was just the first session.

Wednesday, the rest of the groups arrived to join us in the next 7 sessions over the course of two days. These sessions covered a range of topics from technology, to food options, to roundtable discussions, to volunteer management and training. Each hour there were different options offered so everyone could find something that was related to their job.

Before all of those sessions got started the nearly 100 adults that are used to facilitating community growth, walked around the conference room playing ice breakers, yes ice breakers. Although I generally get nervous during ice breakers, this time I laughed and shared about embarrassing songs on my itunes account with total strangers that seemed to feel like long time friends instantly.

From there, the rest of the week seemed to fly by. I truly cherish the time that our staff had to grow and learn together this week. In Thursday’s worship, those in attendance shared about ways we have seen God at work in our Ministries. Thomas shared about how much of a blessing it has been that our staff has grown so close, so quickly, with so many new people. All the laughs that were shared every single time we came together as a group was evidence of the that. It truly is a blessing and a gift and I am so glad that we had this opportunity to continue strengthening our team this week.

It is difficult for me to explain how this weekend fed me spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally, but it did. I felt and saw how God is present throughout the United States, in rural and urban communities. I met people whose life goals are to bring hope and meet needs to the least of these. To fellowship with their communities and to grow alongside their communities. It showed that the call to bring God’s Kingdom to Earth is happening everywhere, and people are answering the call. It was wonderful to talk with others that had been to MTOP or had a similar model to our programs. Then when I had the opportunity to share about MTOP, it was a reminder of how this ministry has been such a gift in my life.

I am so excited to see what all will come out of this conference in the coming months, and to see the ReFrame Association and Conference to continue to grow and offer opportunities for fellowship in years to come.

To learn more about ReFrame click here! If you want to get more information about what is going on at Mountain T.O.P. send an email to alex@mountain-top.org to get on our e-newsletter mailing list.