Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!
During this season each year, we here at Tuscarora consider what we are thankful for. First and foremost, we are thankful for the life-changing truth of Christ’s salvation and that His love endures forever. It has been our mission over the last 45 years to tell of that love to everyone who walks through our doors. We step ahead each year in faithfulness that we are called to this work, and every year the Lord blesses us with exactly what we need.
When you look back on the span of our ministry, it is evident that all along the way God had plans for us we could never have imagined. As we sought His guidance on direction, often it was the Tuscarora family who answered our needs. In truth, our facility as we know it today would not be the same without countless hours of volunteer work and the generous support of our donors.
In this season of giving thanks, Tales of Tuscarora will be dedicated during the month of November to highlighting and celebrating some of the accomplishments that have been made possible because of the Tuscarora family.
When the property of Tuscarora Inn was purchased in 1972, a familiar and beloved building was featured at the center of it – the Laurel Longhouse. While it served many purposes over the years, for the bulk of its history it housed the Summer Staff during June, July, and August. As the building aged, it never failed to provide a home and a sense of fellowship. But, as passing generations told of the impact Summer Staff had on their lives, we felt that the facilities for this program needed to be upgraded.
The need for this building was understood, but we were humbled by the expense to make it a reality. Martin “Peppy” Stiansen served as the Chairman of this Building Committee. His dedication of time and effort to make this aspect of our grounds a reality was tireless. The new facility we had in mind would cost $1,000,000 and the funds were not available when our current facilities cost so much to maintain, but a goal of $500,000 of support was initially set.
That is where God’s faithfulness, and the support of our family, stepped in. When the need for a new Staff Building was made known, people from all walks, skill levels, and association with Tuscarora stepped forward to help. Ceaselessly, guests prayed that it would become a reality. Significant financial resources were contributed by those who were touched by the Summer Staff program. Volunteers came out, sometimes for a day, a week, or a few years to be the hands that made the building possible.
One of these volunteers went above and beyond what would be expected from anyone. After the initial shell of a building was constructed by Kurt Frustol, it was determined that the second phase of the project would need to be done internally. The size of the task was daunting, but Gunvall Viksnes volunteered to serve as Volunteer General Contractor and Coordinator. This decision on his part pushed the project over the finish line and made it possible for the building to be completed.
The process to a new building was a long one. It took 11 years from the initial announcement in 2004 to the dedication of the Overlook in 2015. The Overlook now stands proudly at one of the highest points of our grounds and holds the most beautiful views on our campus. 2017 was the fourth summer this new building was used to house our Summer Staff program and we know it will continue to do so for generations. This new generation will refer to the Overlook when they think of their home away from home. As they move ahead in their lives, away from their summer of hard work and ministry, their memories of this building will always inspire them to do all their life’s work for the glory of God.