Every summer we provide the opportunity for guests to meet with professional counselors or life coaches during their week at Family Camp.
This is a powerful behind–the–scenes ministry that God uses in harmony with the beautiful natural setting, the profound teaching of the Word, and the softening of hearts through worship to do what He will in the lives of those He draws to Mount Hermon. This summer we had three awesome Marriage and Family Therapists at the Conference Center every week, Ariana, Joshua and Jeremy. Each week they were joined by Pastors–in–Residence and Life Coaches who serve for briefer stints.
Some who come are looking for pastoral counseling to help them understand or wrestle with a matter of faith or theology. Others need life coaching to deal with a specific life circumstance, relationship, decision or situation. Still others are grappling with longer term, life–impacting issues that won’t be solved in one session with a counselor, and yet this hour can provide insights, breakthroughs and healing beyond what you might expect. Mari Harrower has served as a counselor and supervised counselors at Mount Hermon for decades. She says one story we see often is of a person that comes to Family Camp after the loss of a family member, whether to death, divorce or some other estrangement. They are trying to cope with the loss and recalibrate the family dynamics, needing to acknowledge and share their grief even while trying to make a fun vacation for their children or grandchildren.
Joshua saw a number of couples this year who were overwhelmed by the busyness of life, parenting and challenging character differences, but were courageous enough to seek help to work on their relationship. Jeremy’s sessions included parenting issues, specifically with adopted or foster children, perspective on major life decisions, how to restore relationships with estranged family members and marital issues.
Ariana recognizes a difference in how open and trusting people are in a first session at Mount Hermon:
“Mount Hermon is a safe place, and many people were willing to try counseling for the first time because of the anonymity and the trust in Mount Hermon. I was amazed at how many people came in and started to cry immediately. Offering free counseling gave them a place to be however they needed to be and receive complete acceptance which is so rare in our world.”
These counselors were also available to our summer staff members who dealt with significant life issues while with us. It was such a gift to have professional, godly, confidential servants available and eager to bring healing in the moment of need for our camp community.
For some, the one brief hour of undivided attention may set them on a new trajectory after camp. For others, we hope that their experience with a counselor here will give them the courage and confidence to connect with a Christian counselor close to home. If our role is to open the door to that possibility, then we are pleased to be the bridge to health and wholeness as God provides the next helper to come alongside.