Category Archives: ShineBright!

Real-life inspiration from those who have experienced life-changing impact through the ministry of LeTourneau. These are folks who ShineBright! for Christ!

ShineBright Story!: Pastor Doug Allen

Pastor Doug Allen of Canandaigua is one of several adults who shares in the rewards of ministry at LeTourneau. At the 80th Anniversary celebration of LeTourneau’s ministry Dec. 5, Pastor Allen shared his thoughts on the impact LeTourneau has made through the years: 

For the last 34 years I have been the pastor of the church first known as Canandaigua Baptist Church and now known by the name Lifespring Community Church. Since our very beginning we have been in partnership with LeTourneau. Our church began in the home of Mr. Harold Seeley, the longtime director, and his wife, Fran, in 1957. They, along with LeTourneau staffers Avis Sowl and Gerri Moose were founding charter members of our church.

Pastor Allen was one of many celebrating the 50-year work anniversary of Avis & Gerri in August 2006.

Pastor Allen was one of many celebrating the 50-year work anniversary of Avis & Gerri in August 2006.

But our partnership has extended well beyond that beginning. LeTourneau staff members have remained some of the most committed servants in our church ministry, and LeTourneau’s ministry has provided incredibly important service to our church. For years, we held a week-Chef Jack Gross Carves Meatlong day camp at LeTourneau for boys and girls. I vividly recall Chef Jack Gross coming out on the porch of the old dining hall to introduce the menu each day. The camp has hosted retreats and leadership training events and we still hold our church picnic here each summer. Many of our members also enjoy special seasonal dinners & Blessed Hope- sponsored luncheons.

Perhaps as significant as anything has been the opportunity for many our teens to come and serve here as seasonal staff. It would be impossible to tally the spiritual credit that has accrued in heaven’s bank for the investment that this camp has made in the lives of teens. I can’t begin to count how many of our church kids have reaped the benefits of that investment. Working at camp meant you got to rub shoulders with these godly adult role models. Many teens who attended and served here have gone on into significant Christian service. If you’ve seen the “Lighting Our Future” video on the website, you saw a few of them, all grown up now.

My involvement with LeTourneau has been not only as a pastor, but personal as well. Back in the day when LeTourneau sponsored its own Family Camp week (originally called “Baptist Life” week), I was privileged to be invited here four times as the keynote speaker and Bible teacher. At those times, my own young family got to stay the week at Lakeside Cottage and enjoy the programs and hospitality. Those weeks were highlights for our family and left a lasting impression.

Pastor Allen prepares to baptize a new believer in the waters at LeTourneau, 2013.

Pastor Allen prepares to baptize a new believer in the waters at LeTourneau, summer 2013.

So what is it that makes LeTourneau such a special place? There is something about it, isn’t there? And it goes well beyond the natural beauty and the lake, beyond these well-kept buildings. What makes this place special? It’s the people! Or, to be more accurate: the Lord in the people.

I was not privileged to know the Strathearns back when the camp was first founded – they were even before MY time! But I have been privileged to know most of the people who make LeTourneau, well, LeTourneau, starting with the Seeleys and then others down through the years.

And this is what you come to know and feel when you come here to LeTourneau:                               these are people with a genuine and humble love for God and love for people.

In Matthew 22, Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandment, putting it into practical focus:

Love the Lord your God with everything you have and love your Neighbor as yourself.

THAT commandment has been the foundation of LeTourneau through all these years, and it is THAT commandment which will carry this ministry into the future.

Doug Allen headshot3x4.5in150dpiIt occurs to me I probably haven’t said a single thing here that you didn’t already know. But that too, says something as well – right? Once you’ve spent some time here, you know what this camp and these people are all about. And that’s what we’ve celebrated for 80 years.

–Pastor Doug Allen, Lifespring Community Church, Canandaigua, NY

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ShineBright Story!: Danita McClure

Danita McClure, 18, of Cohocton, is a third-generation summer staffer who shares in a legacy of service at LeTourneau. Now serving full-time within the maintenance department, Danita shared the following at the 80th Anniversary celebration of LeTourneau’s ministry: 
Danita cropCamp is a legacy for me. Prior to my employment here, my grandmother, several of my uncles and aunts, my parents and one of my cousins worked at LeTourneau. Once I became eligible for working papers, Camp intrigued me a lot, between personal memories from Kids camp and events my family participated in and the stories shared by those who worked here previously, it sounded like a good opportunity.

To top that, it was also here that my parents met, as have a multitude of couples. My dad worked here for 10 years doing a plethora of jobs in most all areas, while my mom only worked one official summer before they [met and ] got married. Coming to Camp for my interview weekend, I immediately felt welcomed and loved on by the staff who connected with me from the start. The summer was filled with a sense of community. Having been the oldest growing up in my family, living with people a little older than me seemed to provide good support. My first summer, I was the youngest on summer staff and it was exhilarating to have people relatively close to my age that I could talk to and that could share their gained wisdom with me. The sense of community was a large part of what continued to bring me back.

Of the five summers I spent on summer staff, the first two were in the Dining Hall. One of my  favorite parts of that job was when the groups met in the Dining Hall. Yes, during meals there was interaction with groups, but when they [held meetings], I got to observe their services and their styles of worship. Sometimes worship can become a controversial topic based on different peoples’ comfort levels but recognizing God reads into the heart of your actions, then watching someone pouring out their heart to such a wonderful Father as our own is a beautiful sight. The various denominations, cultures and backgrounds from the groups that come through here really can open a person’s eyes to that. Continue reading

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ShineBright! Story: Cuevas Walker

Cuevas&babyAtTab7.14For the past two years, Joy Community Church of Rochester has partnered with LeTourneau Christian Center to bring inner-city youth and teens to the lake for a time to get with God and get real with one another. Youth pastor Cuevas Walker has invited these teens to come to camp, courtesy of sponsored stays arranged through Joy Community and LeTourneau. Last year, approximately 80 teens were able to have two free days of meals and lodging and in 2014, another 65 teens had four free overnights and meals at Joy Community’s youth camp in July. Here is what Pastor Cuevas had to say about the impact this year’s time at LeTourneau made in the lives of these young people:

CuevasW Joy C July 14 Tab serviceThis year’s camp was very intimate— it really touched the hearts of everyone there to get serious. We brought a Christian rapper named Stephen in from Florida and the time at camp was something else—a real eye opener for everyone who attended. One of the toughest kids there broke down, and let us know what was going on with him. By the end of the camp, children were rededicating their lives to the Lord, kids who never cried were breaking down.
Once again God did not let anyone get away with being disrespectful. He made our ears bigger and eyes wider. We had our obstacle course—the kids had a blast! We also did a music video with all the kids in it. The [LeTourneau] staff was very helpful, and some of the older kids desire to work at LeTourneau for a summer. God willing, Camp will be available for us next year. It’s a great experience for everyone involved.”      — Cuevas Walker, Joy Community Church, Rochester. 

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