I got the chance to go on a trip with the Summer Intensive Program last week and I was so impressed with the progress I have seen within the young men. The summer started off by us all agreeing to be committed, show up, communicate with each other, and have good attitudes while working and during team building activities. We agreed together to take part in these things and wow! It been amazing to be a part of the team and see so much progress.

Last week we were able to go to one of my favorite places growing up, Coffin Mountain Lookout and Detroit Lake in the Willamette National Forest. When we arrived to the trail head everyone was eager to climb the steep path in front of them. When I say eager, I mean it. Together everyone flew up this mountain like it was nothing. No one complained on the hike up and once on top they saw their hard work pay off. The landscape was beautiful looking out at the wildflowers, trees, Mt. Jefferson, Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Broken Top, and Mt. Hood.  We sat and gazed at the landscape and I was reminded of how clearly we can see God through all of His creation.

“For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” — Romans 1:20

We get to see Him through His creation of the world. I love that! His divine nature and power can be seen but so often I think we get focused on doing this or that and we forget to take a look around us and see just how divine it all is. That day up on the mountain and on the lake the next day Ryan and I got to have conversations about enduring through the hard times. We reminded them that we are all made in His image and that the same God that created the hills and valleys and put so much work into making them beautiful cares about us and our well being.

In one of my conversations with all the youth I was saying just how impressed I was at how fast they climbed and never once complained. They laughed and said, “Well it was just because I was complaining in my head.” It was a sweet moment with some laughter but we were able to remind them that they never gave up. With everything that life has given them these boys aren’t giving up. They are divine and uniquely created by Him.


JJ Halemeier, Director of Human Resources

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