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2023 Fall Newsletter

Guarding the Treasure

During an afternoon break at summer camp, I sat with a friend on Bob’s memorial behind the Manna House when she began asking me questions about the history of the ministry, Bob’s writings, and what is currently happening here. After our fifteen-minute discussion, she looked at me, paused, and responded softly. “You know what I think of when I think of The Hill? It serves as a protector of the truth.” I have never used those words to describe who we are and our purpose. But I couldn’t get away from them in the following days.

Several days later, after a lengthy conversation with another trusted and wise friend, he ended our hour-and-a-half discussion by encouraging us as a ministry to remember and “protect” the biblical tenets we have held close for the past forty years.

Bob’s memorial is a favorite place for conversation. Residents Paxton Pritchett and Garrett Burke discussing their day.

It has not escaped us that our culture significantly influences the body of Christ. The world is hostile toward Christian thought and believes that we have bought into ancient ideas no longer relevant and that parts of Scripture are not valid or reasonable.

Thinking on these things reminded me of how Paul exhorted his beloved young disciple, Timothy, within his hostile environment “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’...” (1Tim. 6:20, NASB95)

The Contemporary English Version says it this way:

Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don’t pay any attention to godless and stupid talk that sounds smart but really isn’t. (1Tim. 6:20, CEV)

He further admonished him, “You have been entrusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit.” (2Tim. 1:14, CEV)

So what is it that we guard and the treasure of which we are custodians?

We want you to know what we believe and the seriousness with which we take our role in helping express truth and grace in our world. The Scriptures are indeed precious treasures. While giving you our full theological position would be impossible, we hope this helps you understand what we deem essential and worth guarding.

A room full of reasons why we think it is important to protect and teach the truth— Summer Camp, 2023.

We stand firmly on our belief that the Bible as written in the original languages is the inspired, infallible, authoritative word of God, revealing the love of God to the world (1Thess. 2:13, John 3:16) and “All Scripture is inspired by God [God-breathed] and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work” (2Tim. 3:16-17, NASB20).

We further believe God’s word is to be interpreted literally, not allegorically, unless otherwise indicated by the Scriptures.

According to the Scriptures, Jesus was born of a virgin, sinless, fully human, and fully God (Matt. 1:23, 2Cor. 5:21, Phil. 2:6-8). He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), died for our sins on the cross and was buried and resurrected to new life on the third day (1Cor. 15:3-8).

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NASB95)

We fully embrace salvation as an indescribable gift God offers us, and all men and women have a choice to freely accept and receive this life-giving gift by faith (2Pet. 3:9, Eph. 2:8). We are eternally secure in Him. Nothing we do or don’t do can cause us to lose our salvation (John 10:29, Eph.1:13, Heb. 7:25). That truth alone makes me rest much easier at night.

Debra Hereford and Courtney French, two of our amazing kitchen volunteers from summer camp.

The Bible tells us God is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19, John 10:30, Eph. 4:4-6). Walking by the impulse of the Holy Spirit is a matchless adventure, allowing us to love others and live godly lives (Gal. 5:16-18).

For believers, who we are in Christ is an underlying theme throughout the New Testament. Our old self was crucified with Christ and we were raised to newness of life as a brand new creation (Rom. 6:6, Gal. 2:20, 2Cor. 5:17). We believe it, and love sharing it. It’s the best news! Living under the new covenant (after Christ’s resurrection), Jesus has set us free from the Law so we might experience and live by His grace. We are beneficiaries of the better way (Rom. 6:14 Gal. 3:24-25, Heb. 10:20)!

Perhaps most importantly, Christ does not desire to be part of our lives or merely a priority. Scripture says for those of us who have received Him, He is our very life (Rom. 5:10, Col. 3:4). And there is absolutely nothing or no one who compares to Him.

We hope all of us are encouraged to protect the treasure entrusted us. The “godless, stupid talk” that Paul talked about has been with us since the garden and is inescapable. But we have a Father, Brother, and Holy Spirit who equips us to stand alert, firm, immovable, and walk in grace and truth.


Summer campers Bri and Adayah building beds during project time.

New Staff Member

Please join us in welcoming our newest staff member, Andrew Porterfield. Andrew is a familiar face to many and made his first visit to The Hill when he was a little guy. Five years old, to be exact. As a teen, he came to our summer youth camps and moved nearby several years later when he started his college career majoring in Fisheries Biology at Murray State University. After living as a student resident on the property here, he moved to Arkansas to obtain his Master’s in Fisheries Science.

He then found his way back and moved into one of the houses here at the ministry. He quickly took on a leadership role and served as a mentor for the younger residents. He eventually began leading some of our Bible studies and volunteering his time as a summer camp counselor. He has voluntarily discipled the younger guys who have lived together for several years. He has also mowed a whole lot of grass and has a special relationship with the weedeater! Leading our trail-building and obstacle course efforts with a few other guys over the past couple of years has helped to create a great outdoor experience for our visitors. We are proud of these accomplishments and his role.

Andrew has a strong sense of The Hill’s Philosophy for ministry. He loves Jesus, people, and the Bible. Teaching and hanging out with college and high school students is one of his favorite ways to spend time. And, he has a fresh vision and ideas for residential discipleship and more. Plus, he’s a faithful man and just an all-around great guy. We immensely love and welcome him as our Discipleship Coordinator and Grounds Supervisor.

Standing Firm

The year was 1984. The log cabin was recently finished and work had begun on the Manna House. On a Tuesday night in August, students from Murray State University were returning to B.A.S.I.C. Training (Brothers and Sisters in Christ, now known as The Hill). A new semester Bible study on Romans and 1 & 2 Samuel was beginning. Neither me, nor Bob Warren, had any idea how his teaching that year would change the life of a non-churched / unbelieving freshman from WI...but God did!

Carrie Gragg

I felt scared while riding in the car with new friends as we drove to The Hill, but they were laughing and showing their excitement about this “Bible study for college students off campus.” I declined their first invitation, but after seeing their joy when they returned that first night; with intrigue, I said “yes” when they asked again the following week. From the moment I walked into the log cabin in August 1984, God revealed to me, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NASB).

If you ever had the privilege to sit in front of Bob Warren as he taught God’s was intimidating. God’s authority through him demanded attention and Bob’s conviction to the inerrancy of Scripture meant there was wisdom, meaning, and significance to every word in the Bible, even if he did not personally fully understand the Scripture. Through the gift of time, my gratitude grows as I realize God used Bob’s teaching in Romans to reveal His truth regarding who I am in Christ. What a privilege, what a gift!

After three weeks of interacting with this group of believers, I sensed their love for one another and for me. I was alone in my dorm room on a Sunday afternoon, and with a gifted Bible open on my desk, I confessed my sins. I then experienced the new birth Jesus explained would take place when a person puts their faith in Him; a Savior who died on the cross for the sins of mankind, and rose to life after conquering death. Only with Scripture can a person begin to understand what took place in that moment of history when I agreed with God that my life was created for greater things than I could obtain on my own. Vulnerably, I agreed with God that I needed His life in me to truly experience love, peace, and hope. There are not enough words to describe the sense of becoming a new creation that I literally felt on that Sunday afternoon. To this day, I look back with tears, knowing God truly used His kindness to lead me to repentance.

But that was just the beginning. With my salvation firmly established and a smile a mile wide, I was eager to tell others how amazing God is and how He changed my heart. With the Holy Spirit, I gained wisdom and understanding as I spent hours devouring God’s word. Honestly, I had never heard about Noah and the Ark - so I had a lot to learn! To say I was Bob Warren’s disciple is an understatement...he and his parents adopted me as their own sister and daughter. What a privilege, what a gift!

When you understand who you are in Christ, you understand there is a spiritual battle to destroy your life. Because of the cross, the battle for your soul has already been won, but until we see Jesus face to face; Satan is seeking people to hurt and devour. Praise God that because we are in Christ, we are not to live in fear! God has given us the spiritual armor we need to resist the schemes of the evil one, but learning how to use this armor and walk in victory is easier said than done. However, this is the sanctification process in life Christians must engage with if we want to show God’s love to others in a meaningful way.

It would take a book to share the details of my own sanctification process. As I look back, I see my bad decisions that God used to teach me humility, forgiveness, and mercy. And by His grace, I see my decisions to respond to His promptings that led me on adventures I never could have imagined for my life. Regardless of my decisions, because I was taught early in my Christian life who I am in Christ, I am secure in the everlasting love of God. His eyes see Jesus in me, nothing more, nothing less. What a privilege, what a gift!

It would take a book to share the details of my own sanctification process. As I look back, I see my bad decisions that God used to teach me humility, forgiveness, and mercy. And by His grace, I see my decisions to respond to His promptings that led me on adventures I never could have imagined for my life. Regardless of my decisions, because I was taught early in my Christian life who I am in Christ, I am secure in the everlasting love of God. His eyes see Jesus in me, nothing more, nothing less. What a privilege, what a gift!

Bob knew my first summer in WI would be a time of testing, especially as a new believer. My friends led lifestyles that did not glorify God, and I would face a choice to deny my faith and continue in the sins of my old lifestyle or stand firm in my new faith. Before emails and texts, people wrote letters. After a month into my summer break, I wrote to Bob and his parents and admitted things were hard and although I sought to share God’s love with my friends, I was quickly shunned from their activities. Then, however, I went on to share about finding a good church and how my love for God and his Word continued to grow; I did not feel alone. Bob wrote back and in summary said, “for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” (1 Thess 3:8)

Camper, Spencer and grandad/counselor, Wes

Today, 39 years later, I am still standing firm on the solid foundation of God’s Word and my identity in Him. God opened the door for marriage later in my life, so we do not have children, but my husband and I own and manage a cattle farm in North Carolina. Along with the gift of marriage, I work full time for Samaritan’s Purse, helping educate people on how to use God’s financial resources to change lives. While I am not a financial or tax advisor, I love to show people how they can faithfully steward their surplus to glorify God and impact people around the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

*Editor’s note: Carrie has volunteered to serve The Hill and our friends in the same way. If you or someone you know is interested in leaving a legacy for The Hill or for Samaritan’s Purse, please contact us and we will connect you with Carrie for stewardship advice.

Clockwise from lower left: Emma-Leigh, Presley, Naomi, Kate, Freda, and Anna Grace attended Camp 1

Upcoming Events

Fall Retreat, October 27-29, 2023—This is a weekend retreat you don’t want to miss. Two great friends of The Hill will team up to teach this weekend: Preston Gillham and Frank Friedmann. Register here.

Rooted & Grounded, Jan. 5-7, 2024—This retreat is designed for post highschool young adults, 18-25. Rick Underhill and Betsy Killins are joining us to lead this retreat. Register here.

Campers, Bella and Alli

Winter Youth Retreat, Jan. 12-14, 2024—30 hours of Bible teaching, food, fun, fellowship, and a little sleep for 13-18 year old high school students. Jeanine Joyner and Jamie Revell are teaching this weekend. Register here.

Men’s Retreat, April 26-28, 2024—Our annual gathering of men passionate about faith in Jesus. This diverse group comes together to worship Him, to teach and learn, to serve and be served, to study, relax and drink deeply of fellowship with one another. If that sounds appealing to you, we invite you to join us for the weekend. Steve Pettit will provide teaching for the weekend. Register here.

Summer Youth Leadership Camps, June 9-15 & July 14-20, 2024—It is not too early to plan for summer camp. We will post more information on our website very soon.

*Just a heads-up...class of 2024 seniors, make your plans now to sign up for camp one. That camp will have a special senior track.

Check out the events page for more information on these and other activities at The Hill.

Solomon, Roman, Jolijah, and Elliot attended Summer Camp 2.

Jerry Newsome’s bed building team for one day of summer camp.

Campers IJ Henry and Marianna Hereford with counselor Aaron Davis testing the old swing in a new spot along the hiking trail.


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