We want close friends of Mount Hermon, to meet our staff “up close and personal.” If you’ve stepped foot on our grounds in the last ten years, you have been blessed by the ministry of Jonathan Bates!
Jonathan started as an assistant in Child Care while still a teenager and has been at Mount Hermon ever since. While working as a paintball instructor ten years ago, our landscaper asked if he might like to try his hand at gardening. He was game, and within a couple of years had changed his college major to this new area of passion. Now, having completed a degree in Landscape Horticulture and certificates in Landscape Design and Construction, both with honors, he has recently been promoted to the full-time position of Head Landscaper.
Jonathan says, “My favorite part of the job is looking at a bed and imagining what I want it to look like, the colors, the textures, the forms. But the reward isn’t finishing the project. It’s seeing the guests enjoying the finished project. I don’t have that many opportunities to talk with guests and to minister to them face to face, so for me gardening is how I feel I can help them to connect with their Creator.”
Before stepping up to his new position, where Jonathan will oversee an assistant gardener as well as volunteers, he served in a part-time role as the Middle School Youth Leader at his church. It was a difficult decision to step down from this role, as he loved the opportunity to be a part of direct, relational ministry with his students.
“It felt like God was letting me know it was time to be done, so I would appreciate prayer for peace of mind for this decision and also that the kids will continue to grow in Christ.” He also asks for prayer to deal with the demands of his new role, overseeing all three camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains and being a representative of Jesus with his co–workers, volunteers and guests.
Perhaps his leave of absence for three months this summer was good preparation. He was honored to be selected to lead summer programs for Tauernhof, a Torchbearer Bible School in Austria. For five weeks he led an international team of students on backpacking tours in the Alps that included leading daily small group Bible studies and team building activities. The remainder of his assignment allowed him to lead shorter backpacking experiences as well as camps for couples and families.
“My time this summer at Tauernhof was a summer of a lifetime, and three months that I won’t forget. I felt God working in my life and through me in real and tangible ways. I came away from my time there feeling changed and stronger in my walk with God and knowing that He is with me in every step that I take.”
Jonathan is a great example of the depth, breadth and maturity that exemplify our staff, including those who serve behind the front lines. Please pray for stamina and rest as he steps up to a new challenge.