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    HoneyRock's Campamento Ministerio se internacionaliza! 

    Coming out of the gate area at the San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras last October, I saw my name written in black marker on a small piece of cardboard. Hot and tired, I was greeted with a huge smile and warm hug.  My Spanish is very limited and my host's English was limited as well, but off we went together to the Christian Camping International-Latin America Summit.  

    This was a three day gathering of camp leaders from across all of South and Central America to celebrate 50 years of camp ministry training and collaboration through CCI.  The Summit included training to equip the national and regional leadership of the Church of Latin America for continued development through Christian camping.  CCI-LA director Robert Bruneau laid out a compelling strategic vision for the next 50 years of Christian camping in the area.  Unlike the United States, the Church in Latin America is exploding and Christian camping is at the center of it all!
    With years of experience at HoneyRock, my contribution focused on the integration of college, seminary training, and the Christian camping movement.  Working together with  Robert Bruneau , we are seeking ways to provide HoneyRock’s graduate school training to emerging leaders for the Christian camping movement in that region. Another example of how HoneyRock is serving the global movement of Christian camping.
    Photo Details: HoneyRock staff Scott Eppler and Muhia Karianjahi (first and third standing from left, in blue and red HoneyRock Tee shirts) and Graduate Assistant Shane Seaton (sitting second from left) pose with Christian Camping International-Eastern Africa leaders at the end of a safety and first aid training in November 2014.

    Muhia Karianjahi, Graduate Program and Global Initiatives Manager for HoneyRock, is leading our efforts in this area.  He serves on the Board of CCI-Worldwide, an organization that coordinates the efforts of 22 regional/national associations, like CCI-LA, to promote Christian camping as a means of heeling the Church and fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.  In the past six months, HoneyRock staff has participated in training events Kenya, Honduras, Portugal.  In March, Dr. Karianijahi will attend a CCI-Worldwide board meeting in South Africa.  
    As part of our global ministry, we have recently established an International Leadership Development program in which emerging leaders from camps around the world can come to HoneyRock for the summer and participate in one of our leadership schools.  Each year our summer staff is made up of individuals from 15-20 countries, each represented by their national flag hanging in the dining hall.  
    Thanks to the Billy Graham Center Scholarship program, we have had several national leaders graduate from our Masters Degree Program in Outdoor Adventure Leadership including Esdras Kresbky, President CCI-Brazil, Judith Dixon of CCI-Jamaica, and Lisa Anderson-Umna of CCI-LA.  As part of our strategic effort to enhance our global reach, the HoneyRock staff has been engaging a process of developing our intercultural competence so that our community is welcoming and effective in serving the world.
    We are blessed by the opportunity to engage the word, receive the world and serve the world through the Christian camping movement.  
    Escrito por Rob Ribbe y Muhia Karianjahi






    Love Found at HoneyRock

    When I had small children, Valentine’s Day was one of our favorite times of the year.  What mom wouldn’t gush with love after receiving sweet wishes from preschoolers who spoke simply from their hearts such sentiments as “I luv you more than anyone in the world” and “I want to marry you mommy!”  Now I am the mom of four teenagers, and while my daughter is still quick to express her love, the boys…well…let’s just say it isn’t their favorite day of the year anymore!  
    Today I find myself reflecting on my greatest earthly love!   My courtship with Rob began over 25 years ago at none other than the most romantic place on earth….HoneyRock!  In 1989, Rob and I led a two-week wilderness trip with 8 juvenile delinquent boys from McHenry County.  It was during that time we realized we made a great team!  I also think that if you are still attracted to each other after two weeks of living in the woods, it is meant to be!  
    So, two years later on September 14, 1991, we sealed the deal and were married in the old HoneyRock Dyrness chapel.  What a fun weekend of celebrating with 150 family and friends, topping off the festivities with a “hoot-n-hollerin” square dance!
    I am so thankful for that time of my life.  I am also grateful that we were able to commemorate our special day with an engraved “Stone of Remembrance”.  Our paver joins many others lining the walkway to the entrance of the new HoneyRock chapel.  
    Any one entering this beautiful place of worship is walking over testimonies of God’s work through HoneyRock, many being similar love stories to Rob and mine.  Share your story of love found at HoneyRock ...
    Regardless if your HoneyRock story is one of finding human love or something entirely different, they all reflect the greatest love possible:
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16. 
    - Jackie Ribbe

    Have you ever considered working at HoneyRock? Check out these new job opportunities for 2015

    Do you love working outdoors?

    Ever thought of pursuing a graduate degree in adventure minsitry but not sure how you would pay for it?

    A permanent, full-time position has recently opened for our full-time Adventure Ministries Program Manager. This role works as part of our program team by providing leadership to adventure ministries and the wilderness component of Wheaton Passage, HoneyRock’s flagship college orientation program. This position is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Its primary functions include managing the summer adventure ministry program, co-leading the Wheaton Passage program, supervising high school adventure programs, course instruction, leading our Wheaton-based adventure trip program, developing college partnerships, participating as a program team member, facilitating wilderness tripping and our trip locker, managing Challenge Course programming, and administrative planning and coordination.


    HoneyRock currently has 7 Graduate Assistant (GA) positions open for hire. These positions are part-time and responsible for coordinating a program area of HoneyRock, under the direction of a Program Manager. The GA positions are designed to prepare exceptional leaders for the Christian outdoor, adventure, and camp ministry movements. This is accomplished by giving these individuals the context for integrating their coursework with real life ministry as part of the HoneyRock staff. Individuals in these graduate assistantships are enrolled in the Outdoor and Adventure Ministry graduate concentration, are expected to integrate their learning with their program leadership responsibilities, are fully immersed in the HoneyRock community, and are mentored along the way by a professional in the field. It is our goal to give them enough of a stipend that it covers the cost of tuition. These positions involve 3 summers and 2 school years of ministry and learning. The first summer GAs are an assistant to the outgoing GA. This is followed by a school year taking courses, a summer running their program, a second school year finishing the degree, and final summer training their replacement. It is our desire to help place these individuals in ministry in the US or abroad with a HoneyRock partner upon completion of the 28-month experience.


    For more information on these roles or to apply, visit Wheaton College’s employment opportunities webpage.


    Loberg Lodge Basement Made New!

    After almost 35 years of heavy year round use Loberg Lodge is receiving a massive face lift this winter.  Almost all of the summer female and school-year staff have lived in the 8 bedrooms of the dark long hallway of Loberg's basement.  Many games have been played, books have been read, and late night talks have happened in the lounge with its brown Superior stone fireplace.  


    Loberg was one of the first large winterized buildings constructed at HoneyRock back in late 1970s and named in honor of Dan Loberg, a long time camper who died in a car accident.  This 2 story, 10,000 square foot building cost $160,000 to build. This past month the entire basement was gutted down to the 2x4s and will be re-built by summer with a new ventilation system, new bathrooms, and updated electrical, furnishings, and decor.  All of this is in preparation for the expanding graduate program (link) and new Vanguard Gap Year program (link) beginning next year.


    Do you have a great Loberg Lodge story we need to hear?  Please send it our way. Are you interested in helping us complete the project by adopting a room or helping us purchase a new outdoor wood boiler to heat the building?  Let us know.  Want to see the new facility when it is done?  Join us this spring for our Partners and Friends Weekend, May 22-25, 2015 when we re-dedicate the new Loberg Lodge to another 40 plus years of service and break ground on a new health center....Lord willing.


    Have  wonderful Christmas celebrating the Lord's birth with your family and friends.


    Rob Ribbe, Ph.D.

    Director, HoneyRock - Outdoor Center for Leadership Development

    Assistant Professor, Christian Formation and Ministry Department


    Advent Reflections 

    As I stand at the office of HoneyRock, decked out in multiple winter layers, staff nametag and backpack filled with more layers, I peer expectantly past the HoneyRock sign to the big bend in the road. I’m waiting with other winter retreat hosts for the first retreat group’s arrival! Questions of “what will the group be like”, “are we ready for this?” “will I be able to start the campfire on the lake?” and “what things does the Lord have planned for this time?” drift through my mind as I shuffle my boots in the crispy snow.

    While we wait in the snowy silence of the Northwoods, 40 plus students and volunteers ready to escape the confines of fast food scented church vans are growing in energy and volume as they drive through the winding roads of highway X.  Tales of fast tube runs, sleigh rides, and infamous broomball competitions are told by those who are winter retreat veterans, while others ponder some of the same questions of “what will it be like”, “will there be endless hot chocolate”, and again “what does the Lord have planned?”

    That was the beginning of just one of many winter retreats, seasons, and moments in which my heart was filled with nervous but hopeful expectation for something unknown. It has been quite a while since my first retreat hosting experience, but the memory of waiting expectantly for van headlights to appear around the bend parallels my advent ponderings.

    During recent staff devotion this quote was given. “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s back fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon (Jan L. Richardson).”


    Something is on the horizon indeed! Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace has come to be with us! Whether you find yourself standing in a Narnia-like land waiting to greet a retreat group or standing in a long check-out line, may you savor the feeling of anticipation and may it cause you to consider how God has answered and is answering that which we truly long for!

     - written By Mary Elise Masters, HoneyRock Staff and Passage Leader


    Reflections from a Road Trip by Jackie Ribbe

    Being one hour into our 14- hour road trip to Memphis for Thanksgiving, I am faced with that moment of deciding whether to hunker down and embrace the journey or dread the long day ahead.  It is quite understandable to feel challenged in the quest for optimism, with three teenagers crammed between pillows, blankets, duffle bags, gifts, food and “the healthy choice” snack bag … not to mention, a husband navigating snow covered slippery roads with a windshield demanding an endless supply of washing fluid.

    Yet, already we have been surprised by some simple joys…an impressive 10- point buck on the top of a car next to us, a bald eagle perched in a tree on the side of the road, and seeing two of our Kenyan friends shoveling six inches of snow off their Northwoods driveway!

    My inner mom is also smiling, as I reflect on an assignment our son, Ben, who just submitted an English assignment (literally just submitted via internet and the laptop in our car). Reflecting on a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ben provides further perspective on how we can see beauty rather than drudgery in the everyday, and why we should choose to enjoy what God has put before us. 

    I decided to share this with you since I really couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a simple choice really. 


    Ben Ribbe

    English 3rd Hour


    Emerson/Thoreau Essay


    When walking through nature, it is very easy to overlook the many stunning characteristics that contribute to the Earth. Ralph Waldo Emerson elaborated on this subject with the following quote: “The invariable mark of wisdom is to find the miraculous in the common.” Nature provides many unique and miraculous aspects that we take for granted, among them are the changing of the leaves, the falling of snow, and the twinkling of the stars.

    When the leaves change, it is an amazing sight. Throughout the life of a tree the leaves grow, live, and fall many times. This is amazing because it shows that no matter what, the tree will continue it’s life cycle. It perseveres through the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer, all the while revealing its beauty through breathtaking colors.

    This beauty can also be observed through the stars in the night. Just think of the number 300 billion. There are 300 billion stars that make up the vast night sky. 300 billion unique balls of light shining, without fail, bringing beauty and proclaiming their artistry in the night sky. Take a moment and look up, it is a sight that no television screen can display. It is a gift from God to every person on the Earth. From peasants to great lords, no one is exempt from the panorama of astonishing grace displayed through the stars.

    Once the stars disappear, and the sun begins to rise, the world awakens to a winter wonderland. The white, pure, blanket of snow covers every inch of the ground. Most people will groan and complain about the hardships the snow brings, but remember to look at all levels of the spectrum and focus on the positives. The snow really is one of nature's most remarkable gifts. Overnight it can transform the world into an unfathomable beauty. Consider yourself lucky to live in a place where snow also finds its home.

    When the leaves change, the snow falls, and the stars twinkle, one must make it a choice to recognize the astonishing beauty that nature gives us. It is important to take a look around and notice the remarkable gifts that God has given to all beings on Earth. When going out into the world, one should keep Emerson’s quote in mind: “The invariable mark of wisdom is to find the miraculous in the common.”


    Best wishes to all of you for a miraculous and wise Thanksgiving!

     - from the Ribbe family on the road