Updated July 15th, 2020 @ 5:38pm
Although this year all our camps had to go to an online format, we have heard many stories of how well “Mount Hermon” was received. Here is one example from the Junior High Camp written by Cynthia Tsushima (Co-director along with her husband Garron):
We ended up having 91 students participate this year at Jr. High Camp! We had a total of 30 staff to help oversee cabins & help with our virtual program. It was a wild ride planning virtual camp...but God was so good & the week went so smoothly and both kids & staff said they were surprised at how much it still felt like Mount Hermon!! We had 3 first time decisions, 4 rededications, and 1 student share they now want to be baptized. 2 students said they didn’t make a first-time decision but want to learn more about a relationship with God. Pretty much the rest said camp helped them deepen their walk with God. So praise God for how He used camp.
The way in which Mount Hermon was “delivered” had changed, but the purpose, goals and end results were the same. So grateful for God’s faithfulness.
We hope you were able to enjoy the Mount Hermon online event, “Hope Crosses Distance.” JEMS felt the video fully captured the history, the spirit and the legacy of Mount Hermon. Karen Wakamoto, along with the support of her husband Craig, really helped to drive this video project. Helping with all the “acting” along with the screen play were Mark Okada, Scott Shimada and Jill Rogers. From the creative and technical side were Lowell Sue, Leighton Okada, Michael Xu, and our newly hired social media coordinator, Sarah Park. JEMS is so grateful to these folks who enlisted a ton of other folks to help with various parts of the video. The finale, which was the song “The Blessing” was truly inspirational. You can check out the video on this link if you haven’t heard it or want to hear it again, and again! The Blessings by JEMS MH worship teams. If you haven’t had a chance to view the feature length video, “Hope Crosses Distance,” please feel free to go directly to this link: Mount Hermon online.
For those who have already given in order to support and encourage our ministry partners, thank you very much! We are currently at $50,000, about 20% of where we’d like to be. If you’ve ever been blessed by God from the ministry of JEMS Mount Hermon, please prayerful consider giving to help our ministry partners as well as JEMS. Our donation page specifically for this event will end on midnight, July 31st, 2020.
As Covid-19 cases start to increase, our anxieties might start increasing too. But I pray that you and your family remain safe. As we are reminded of God’s faithfulness through the ministry of Mount Hermon, may we find peace and comfort knowing that there is a hope that crosses distance.
Grateful to God and for each of you,
The JEMS staff
Updated June 30th, 2020 @ 8:36pm
Dear JEMS Family,
In our last update, we announced the cancellation of JEMS Mount Hermon summer conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, our God is not bound by physical location, and neither are we! Once we knew for sure that we could not meet in person, our JEMS Mount Hermon leadership – the main camp team, youth camp directors and Special Camp directors – decided to host a virtual Mount Hermon experience in place of each of our camps so that our community can come together in spite of the pandemic. We are so thankful for their passion and dedication to make this happen!
Read on for an update on each of the camps:
- Main Camp: The Main Camp team, led by Craig and Karen Wakamoto, decided to host a two-hour online event, called, “JEMS Mount Hermon, Hope Crosses Distance.” This event, which will be broadcast on this website, will highlight all the various ministries that go on during camp, as well as the history of JEMS Mount Hermon and of the Mount Hermon Conference Center. It will end with an appeal to all the viewers to prayerfully consider providing financial assistance to our ministry partners such as the Mount Hermon Conference Center, Koinonia, MayMac and Monte Vista Christian School which have been struggling financially during the pandemic. This event will be on July 1, 2020 @ 7PM at www.jems.org. If you miss the event that day, you will be able to see the video starting on July 3, 2020 at the same web address.
- Special Camp: Special camp, led by Bruce and Val Satow is holding a week long camp from June 29 – July 3, 2020 from 10 am – 11 am. They will have morning exercises, worship, bible teaching with Mrs. Bev Hoshi, crafts, interactive activities, and a special concert with Junko one evening. Their camp theme is based upon the Mount Hermon conference center’s theme taken from Psalm 105:5 which says, “Remember the Wonders He Has Done.” They have 18 conferees signed up. Their staff of 40 including 12 core team members and 14 interactive activity group facilitators for 7 breakout groups.
- College Camp: College Camp is led by Ryan Najima, with a staff of 10, which includes 6 cabin leaders. Their theme will be “Developing a Gospel (God)-Centered Worldview” for their 12 collegians who have signed up. Due to the intimate size of the camp, the core staff and cabin leaders will be leading devotions and evening sessions. They meet Sunday, June 28 to Friday, July 3, 2020 from 7:30 pm -9:30 pm. During this two-hour time frame, they have worship, devotionals, prayer, ice breakers/games, messages and small group times.
- High School Camp: The theme of High School Camp, directed by Connor Kobayashi, is, “Renewed in Christ,” based upon 2 Corinthians 5:17. As of day two of their camp, they had over 400 participants join their online event. They have 16 core staff, along with 30 cabin leaders. Their speakers for the week are Jessie Terasaki, Brian Chang, and Francis Chow. They meet at night from 7 pm to 9 pm, and in their sessions they play games, sing worship songs, and have an evening message.
- Inter-High Camp: Inter-high camp is led by Joel and Kacy Nagatoshi, with their staff of 26, which includes 12 cabin leaders. Their theme “Remember the Wonders” is based on Psalm 105. Together they are serving 106 students, including fifty-three 8th grade, and fifty-three 9th graders. They meet Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm and 7 pm – 9:30 pm, with a hangout time at 2 pm daily. Their speakers are Steven Nishimoto, Tim Lee and Matt Sekijima. Each session includes worship, message and “cabin time.”
- Jr. High Camp: Jr. High camp is directed by Garron and Cynthia Tsushima. This year they have a staff of 31, 15 of whom are cabin leaders. Their theme is “Wonders,” based upon the Psalm 105:5. They have 91 conferees signed up for camp, which includes forty-two 6th graders and forty-seven 7th graders. Ministering to the conferees are Daniel Saechang and Kenji Heigle. They meet Sunday to Friday from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, which includes a student prayer meeting and then the evening session. Their time together includes O-rec (Organized rec), worship, evening message, cabin time (ice breakers and small group discussion) and even crafts!
As you can tell, even though we are not at our respective Mount Hermon campsites, Mount Hermon has gone into the homes of the kids! Through all this, we have realized that the JEMS Mount Hermon experience is not confined to a location. Our God in the midst of the relationships among conferees and staff –this is what makes up the Mount Hermon experience! We are grateful for technology that enables us to connect with the conferees via the internet.
Even more so, JEMS is so grateful for all the hardworking men and women who quickly re-grouped after finding out that the camps all had to close. Their dedication to the conferees and the passion they have for Jesus has driven these individuals to plan and execute this unique virtual Mount Hermon experience for everyone involved.
This was the first ever JEMS Mount Hermon online camp, but we hope, Lord willing, next year we will actually be AT camp. How sweet it will be to be back in the redwoods of Mount Hermon or Koinonia. But we are so grateful that – even if in a different form – JEMS Mount Hermon camp was able to continue this year. God is good!
Rick Chuman, JEMS Executive Director
Updated April 28, 2020 @ 10:40pm
Dear JEMS Family,
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the official cancellation of this year’s JEMS Mount Hermon summer conferences.
This was not a decision we made lightly, as we know how beloved and impactful all our summer camps are to our JEMS community. However, the health and safety of our conferees are of utmost importance.
Our lead partner, the Mount Hermon Conference Center, has decided based upon the coronavirus restrictions for Santa Cruz County to cancel their summer programs. We fully endorse and support Mount Hermon’s decision to follow the guidance provided by Santa Cruz County. We know that social distancing would be impossible in a Mount Hermon setting. With no known vaccine, we do not want to risk anyone getting sick at camp.
Therefore, the JEMS board of directors decided to cancel not only Family Camp, but all of our camps this summer – out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we don’t put anyone’s health at risk, and to follow the lead of our partner based on the advice of public health officials.
Please be in prayer for all of our ministry partners: Mount Hermon Conference Center and Redwood, MayMac, Koinonia, and Monte Vista Christian School. Their summer programs make up most of their yearly income, so without conferees, they really need our prayers and financial support!
You will receive another email from your respective camp directors in the near future. Since we can’t hold a JEMS Mount Hermon conference in person, some possible alternatives will be offered at that time.
With regards to any financial questions, if you registered through the Mount Hermon Conference Center, you probably received an email directly from them. One option was to give your “deposit” as a donation to Mount Hermon. Please prayerfully consider this option as their source of summer income is no longer there.
If you registered at a youth camp or special camp, and your check was deposited already, you will receive a full refund. If your check has not been cashed, JEMS will properly destroy your check.
Another option for the registration fees is to designate all or part as of it as a donation to JEMS. You will receive a tax-deductible receipt. If you prefer to have your check sent back to you, or you would like to designate all or a portion of the registration fees as a donation, please contact BarrettL@jems.org by May 30, 2020. Please prayerfully consider this option since we still plan to have some sort of online “Mount Hermon” event. These funds will be used to cover any technical charges, honorariums, as well as other overhead that Mount Hermon typically covers.
I read an article recently that this “lockdown” shouldn’t just be endured. Instead, it should help us make some significant changes as to how we do life, ministry and work. JEMS like many other organizations is trying to re-invent ourselves in midst of an impending recession and social distancing guidelines. The wonderful truth however, is that God NEVER changes. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Our message will not change. JEMS will continue to share God’s love to those who do not know Him.
We sigh with you today at the news of having to cancel Mount Hermon. But also join us in prayer, asking the Lord to use this time to help JEMS became even more passionate and innovative in sharing the Gospel.
I pray that you and your family remain safe. Thank you for your partnership in ministry, especially as it relates to the Mount Hermon summer camps. We look forward to seeing you next year (Lord willing) at Mount Hermon!
Rick Chuman, JEMS Executive Director