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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

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Tales of Tuscarora

Would you be interested in submitting a piece for Tales of Tuscarora? We are always looking for stories to tell! Email lindsay@tuscarora.org

Serving with the strength God provides -Brian Abrahamsen

Tuscarora

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At Tuscarora, summer is finally here. We are once again reminded by the miracle of creation of the hope we have received in the resurrection of Jesus. This winter presented us with many challenges which sought to attack our hope.

In February, we lost a dear friend in Rev. George Aase, who was a part of the Tuscarora ministry from the very beginning. He served as the Tuscarora Chaplain from 1991-2007, was a support and counsel to staff, and a friend to guests. He will be greatly missed by all.

In early March, a nor’easter for the history books took its toll on our grounds, causing our Spring Women’s Retreat to be cut short due to power outages and road closures. Clean up from this storm lasted for weeks, and we lost many of the trees around our grounds.

It often seems the tasks that need to be done outnumber the hands, and funds, we have available. But God is faithful! The Bible reminds us in 1 Peter that we serve, “with the strength that God provides.” We have seen an increased amount of new volunteers and donors who are helping to do this marvelous work.

So, with this in mind, I invite you to join us in this next exciting season of ministry, whether as a guest, donor, or volunteer. Come, grow closer to God, and discover His plan for you. Partner with us in this adventure. To God be the glory, for ever and ever.

 

Brian

Emily Learn - Answered Prayers for a Servant Heart

Tuscarora

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Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
— Isaiah 40:31

It's a common struggle in the Christian life to wonder if you are following the direction of God's voice, especially when you're young. With so many choices and opportunities laid out before you, it can be difficult to discern whether you're following the Lord's direction. However, in hindsight, we often see how seemingly small moments were God's leading all alone. Emily Learn experienced that in her time at Tuscarora.

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Emily Learn made the decision to come to Tuscarora for the first time entering her sophomore year of high school. A member of the youth group at Mount Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church, and a self-proclaimed "homebody," she was apprehensive. Eventually, the invitations of her friends wore her down. Over the next few years, each visit to Teen Week or Winter Weekend she experienced the name of Jesus being proclaimed, connected with old friends, and was touched by the high energy worship music experiences she found there.

She didn't know it at the time, but these experiences at Tuscarora were preparing her for an even bigger adventure. During one summer, she met a boy named Ryan Barrett who shared his experience with her with a program called Youth With a Mission (YWAM), a global movement of youth dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.

When she graduated high school, she realized that while college was her plan, she couldn't deny the calling she felt to follow her friend Ryan to be involved with YWAM.

YWAM was the best five months of my life. I got to know Jesus for myself, I got to create my own faith, and I could see the Lord work not only in myself but in every person I encountered in Montana, in Cambodia, and in Thailand.
— Emily Learn
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Instead of college, Emily traveled to Montana, Cambodia, and Thailand preaching the gospel to those who needed most to hear it. Through school programs, worship service outreach, and everyday conversations she was able to see the life-changing affects of the gospel in people's lives.

Her time with YWAM took the seed of faith that was planted here at Tuscarora and allowed Emily to grow in her own relationship with God without the pressures of her family, friends, or church members. She began to understand the unique gifts God had blessed her with and she prayed that God would grant her with a servant heart.

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When she returned to the United States, she came back to Tuscarora. This time as a staff member working in the dining room. This allowed her to see the other side of the Tuscarora ministry. She saw groups from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages come together to receive the rest and relaxation of a retreat. The servant heart she had prayed for allowed her to find meaning in setting tables and pouring coffee in a new way.

I know now that God has a plan for my life, and it’s beautiful. Even though at times its hard, I’m learning to trust Him and obey Him in everything.
— Emily Learn

 

This summer, Emily is planning to be a part of the experience that started so much for her by counseling at Teen Week. She hopes to be able to connect with her campers in a way that will transcend one week of the summer, and walk alongside them in the same struggles she experienced as a camper. In the fall, she's planning to study Hospitality Management at Northampton Community College. She wants to keep serving and loving the Christian community.

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Why you should retreat instead of just vacation

Tuscarora

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And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
— Matthew 14:23

Summer has arrived. At Tuscarora, and everywhere.  Kids are out of school, or just about to be, and you might be hoping for a slower pace of life for a little while. However, too often, life speeds up in the summertime instead. There are summer TV shows, family parties, new childcare schedules, and the ever increasing noise of current events and media.

Things are more crowded, noisier, and more stressful than they have ever been before. Ever so slowly, our culture seems to have moved away from slow days, quiet evenings, and special family time – even in the summer months. It’s so removed from our everyday lives that the popularity of planned trips and vacations is greater than ever. Whether it be a family getaway, adventure trips, or exotic resorts everyone feels the need for a break every once in a while.

As rest and relaxation becomes more and more of a limited resource – how should you choose to spend that time?

To answer that question – we should look scripture as we so often do.  In Mathew 14, after feeding the 5,000, at his own moment needing rest and recovery Jesus goes away by himself. He goes away to spend time with his Father in prayer. Jesus, who was perfect and knew what to do in the face of exhaustion, turns to His father.

A spiritual retreat, instead of a typical vacation, is a great alternative to receive real rest. Spiritual rest.

When you pull away from the stresses of everyday life with the intent of quieting your heart and mind in the presence of God – God will speak. Like Elijah, who was told to stand on the mountain awaiting the voice of the Lord and did not find it in the powerful wind, the earthquake, or the fire but instead the gentle whisper.

A time of spiritual retreat can look different for everyone. Perhaps you will find God’s voice in a time of biblical reflection, perhaps in the beauty of His creation in a place of natural splendor. Perhaps you need to remove yourself from the things in life that pull you away from spending time in prayer.  Maybe the hospitality of those who welcome you or serve you will touch you. Maybe instead, all you need is time away with your family to laugh together and play.

This summer, consider a more intentional type of vacation. One that will leave you in a place of physical, mental, and spiritual refreshment. At Tuscarora – we have a variety of programs available to help you do just that. You may not know how badly you need the peace – but we are happy to provide it.

6 Reasons to be Excited for Identify

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1. FOOD

Tuscarora has great food, and there will be plenty of it this weekend. But in addition to Tuscarora classics, there will be some exciting culinary flairs to the menu. On Friday, during a kick-off pool party a food truck will be visiting for the evening! On Saturday, instead of a traditional lunch - get ready to enjoy Chick-fil-a!

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2. WORSHIP

Because the focus of every great Tuscarora program is coming together to draw closer to God - worship is a key component. We are lucky to be welcoming Craig Adderley to lead the worship for this brand new retreat. Craig is a frequent worship leader at Tuscarora retreats, but the best worship is lead by the spirit. And scripture promises us that when two or three gather, the Lord will be there.

3. GAMES

For many of the guests, Identify will be like a grown up Winter Weekend or Teen Week. For many, the highlight of time spent at Tuscarora is games and competitions. This retreat won't be any different. On Saturday, compete with your friends in a dodge ball tournament - or work together to beat an Escape Room!

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4. TEACHING

Erick Sorensen, from Epiphany Lutheran Church and Hillside Lutheran Brethren Church, is excited to be at Identify as our speaker for this year's retreat. He is passionate about speaking to the young adult generation, and helping them to explore how they identify with the world, with their generation, and with Christ.

5. THE 'GRAMS

With the beautiful spring backdrop, Tuscarora is at it's most photogenis this time of year. Any photo of you and your friends with the new fun features this retreat will offer is sure to be the perfect addition to your feed. Make sure to use the hashtag #tuscyoungadults when your share your pictures!

6. FELLOWSHIP

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We know why you're really excited to come to Identify. I mean, you're excited for the worshio and the speaker, but you're most excited about seeing your friends. That's okay! Memories are made at Tuscarora in late night chats, ice cream shared, and laughs in the dining room.

We're excited to see you and for this retreat to become a part of your story!

A Life Changed

Tuscarora

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With summer approaching, it’s easy to think back on my own years as a camper at Tuscarora. It was in the Olav B. Olsen building in 1985 that I came to know Christ as my personal savior. It’s a blessing and privilege for me to be able to serve at a place where my life was changed for eternity.

I’m not the only one – God changes lives at Tuscarora. When kids step away from the distractions of everyday life they are in a unique position to experience true connection with God. We are always hearing new stories of campers who meet Jesus for the first time at Tuscarora – one of these is Kylee Will.

Kylee Will was born in a loving and caring home where her parents gave her the freedom to find her faith on her own. She was happy, but she knew there was a void in her heart. She came to Tuscarora for the first time after a friend invited her and says that accepting that invitation was the best decision she has ever made. She started understanding who Jesus is and how He loved her.

That one experience at Tuscarora brought Kylee into a youth group, Sunday School, Bible studies, and a supportive church family. Kylee has attended many Tuscarora events because of the help provided by the Per Rune Larsen Scholarship Fund and now Kylee is doing her part to spread the gospel. This past year she invited her friend Sarah to come to Tuscarora with her, and she came to know the Lord as well.

Not only was I able to be saved, but now I get to help others learn who Jesus is.
— Kylee Will

I’m telling you Kylee’s story to show you just how powerful a gift to the Per Rune Larsen Scholarship Fund can be. Experiences like Kylee’s are only possible because of people like you. Your gift provides a life-changing encounter with Jesus for many kids and teens, and each year the need for financial support seems to grow.  

Will you help send someone to camp by giving today? Someone will have a summer they’ll never forget thanks to a gift you’ll always remember. Please visit tuscarora.org to participate.

-Brian Abrahamsen, Executive Director