Charis Hills

We’re about to wrap up our time at Charis Hills Camp and Retreat Center, our November SOWER Project. And let me tell you, it’s been a great month! (I guess I say that with some frequency, but honestly, they all ARE!). Before I go into more detail about why this was such a special project, let me show you around!
Here’s Gary walking to work that first morning –
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The main building (office and activity/dining room)-
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is where we met Rand and Colleen Southard for our “get acquainted” meeting, and after sharing about the camp and their vision (its main focus is a summer camp for children with learning differences), Rand gave us a little tour of the place.
Here we go!
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One of the cabins (there in the glare!)
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Rand pointing out the area leading up to the waterfront.
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The waterfront –
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Some of the critters –
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More shots of the “Lake Charis” 🙂
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As you can see, it is a beautiful campus. What I don’t have pictures of is the archery range, rifle range, craft/science building, horse arena, etc, etc. It’s not a huge camp – max capacity is about 100 (over-nighters), but it’s got a huge heart! And the kids that come here during the are truly blessed as they experience Christ’s love in a fun and challenging camping experience. I encourage you to check out their website to get a full picture of this amazing camp.
But looking at this from a purely practical, SOWER job point of view – this project was just about perfect!
1. Look at this woodshop –
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Oh yeah, baby – look at those power tools!! And not only were there great tools, but Gary even got to play with them. He made a pattern for birdhouse kits, and then cut out and packaged 75 sets of them.
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Complete with pre-drilled nail holes, nails and the perch. Guess what those kids will be doing next summer?
Then he built 4 bat houses
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two rifle racks
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and two archery holder thing-a-ma-jigs.
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He also built screens
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and completed the “loafing shed” for the horses. Taking it from this-
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to this –
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So pretty much, he got to work with wood in a great wood shop all month. And that is pretty high on his list of fun things to do. But wait – it even gets better! THIS was the true icing on the cake!
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🙂 Oh my, he was one happy camper!
My side of the equation was equally delightful! I started of the month working with Colleen on making curtains for the dining hall.
Before –
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After –
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They certainly aren’t the fanciest curtains around, but it was great fun working with Colleen as we tried to figure out the best way to make them. The fabric was actually upholstery fabric, chosen for it’s sound absorption qualities, so it represented some challenges along the way, but our tools were up to the challenge!
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A total of six pairs of room darkening, sound absorbing curtains – now that’s my idea of fun.
Oh, and my assignment after we finished the curtains? Doing research on the computer. Sigh. Not a toilet to clean the entire month! Darn.

But even above the stuff we did, we loved the people we met –
Rand and Colleen –
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And Marcia, who works in the office –
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We were so very blessed to work here this month. Like I said, a small camp with a big heart. A big heart for kids, and a big heart for Jesus!

But the goodness for my birthday month continues. Tomorrow we head back to Lindale, TX (east of Dallas) and then on Sunday morning we pile in the truck and head to Ohio for Thanksgiving! Lara and Denali will be joining us for the ride, so I’m sure the miles will just fly by! By Thanksgiving day we’ll be holding babies and playing Sorry and catching up with life with the whole Conrad family. Ah, such goodness, such blessing! So much to be thankful for. Our cup is full to overflowing!

3 thoughts on “Charis Hills”

  1. WOW. What a wood shop. That’s the kind of workkamp assignment I could really get into.
    We start our fulltime trek on Jan 9th with a couple of work projects then off to Maysville, NC volunteering at an animals rescue center in March. We close out 2012 with 6 months work at a llama farm in Blue Ridge, GA. God is up to something and when He is it has to be spectacular. 53 days to launch.
    You guys have been such an inspiration to us. May God continue to pour His blessing on you.

  2. Always so much fun reading your updates! Sounds like a great Thanksgiving in store for you and your family.
    Still recovering here but doing well. Mike’s Mom has reached 2nd phase of Alzheimer’s disease-very fearful and just repeats over and over the same thing. We’re going to keep thanksgiving very small, just 7 of us so as not to overwhelm her.
    This too shall pass. I know God has something in store for us, I just hope we’re listening when the Word comes!
    I love hearing about your life and especially seeing the pictures – thank you for your diary on display.
    Have fun this week and safe travels. Hi Gary-can’t believe you made all those bird house kits! You have sooooo many talents!
    Blessings to you both.
    Chris Fullmer

  3. Stephanie, Gary,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!! We had a good holiday week with family & friends. A couple of our counselors came by yesterday and joined our family for Thanksgiving dinner phase 2 and sure bragged on all you two accomplished while you were here.

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Seems like our time with your went by about as fast as it took me to read it and look at the pictures. We pray God’s blessings on your travels! Thank you for using your MANY talents for God’s kingdom.
    Colleen & Rand Southard

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