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Read the online version with photos here.


At the ministry, we, too, have felt the dramatic effects of endlessly changing circumstances. A full slate of retreats and camps had to be wiped clean, along with all the doorknobs. The office staff juggled who would be where when and did much work from home. After the University and colleges closed their campuses our student residents decided to ride out the storm with us. It was a golden opportunity to give them a little more attention than summer typically allows. We have taken long walks and delved into Romans. We have watched Baahubali movies (I didn’t know what they were either) on a barn door, attempted to cultivate a garden, eaten a lot of berries and cream, banana, and Oreo paletas (amazing Mexican style popsicles), and enjoyed many porch conversations.  

This summer would have marked thirty years of youth leadership camp. It seems a short time ago, right after Bob’s and my marriage, that Bob stood in the Manna House talking to a friend and me about bringing kids in for week-long camps. Not being one to let grass grow under his size thirteen feet, we hosted our first camp the following summer, July 1990, with twenty-five teenagers. The number of applications increased each year. We now host two week-long camps with approximately fifty volunteers. 

This summer, we prayed and turned to spirit-led creativity to develop virtual camps. I have never been happier in all my life to have the talented millennial staffers on board with us! They speak the language of technology that may as well be Arabic to me. Their creative energy and humor were astounding and contagious. Brent commented it would have never happened had it been left up to the “older staffers,” whoever that may be!  The first week of “The Hill at Home” was a huge success, even with the bumps. Near the beginning of the week falling tree branches knocked out our electricity moments before we were to log on for the two o’clock afternoon session. Jenelle, the Zoom host, flew out the door to find a location with power. Brent scurried to pull his truck to the east side of the building near our office to use a camping battery to run the rest of our computers. 

Both weeks, Danielle, administrative assistant, and “all things tech, girl” manned her screen the entire six hours of each day to provide technological support to participants. Jonathan Whistler, our summer intern and an unexpected gift from God, designed and hosted the virtual games which were a big success. The nearly sixty students vied for prizes (the best one, Brent doing a TikTok dance) by competing in at home scavenger hunts and Kahoot quizzes. The daily camper videos left our jaws dropped and our bodies doubled over with laughter. 

A camper Mom wrote to tell us her son’s thoughts. “If you would have told me I would be sad when virtual camp was over, I would not have believed you.”

Thank you to all volunteers. You are each invaluable.

Thinking of Bob

During one of our post-camp meetings we decided we could safely bring in a small number of students for a patched-together final year of camp. We knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same but we were trying to fill in the gap for what they otherwise would be missing. Thus, four boys, all of whom graduated from high school this year, came to Hardin, Kentucky the first week of August. It was personal. It was intentional. It was discipleship. It was a message of grace and identity. It was different faces, a different time, it was forty years later, but I could not help thinking of Bob, sitting in a circle with six college students, talking about Jesus.


Our attempts to thank you can feel redundant. Messages from deep within the heart often defy words. Walking down our gravel drive this past week I began to pray, thanking God for each of you who volunteer, give financially, and pray for the ministry. Wanting to convey to you the depth of our gratitude I asked The Father to give me words. Instead, I sensed Him saying, “Let me show them.” So I will trust Him to do just that.

You are loved,


Camp Notes

By Tony Jones

My first group of campers came to The Hill in the summer of 1993. My group consisted mostly of kids from Lexington KY. Most of them when I told them we would be working for half the day and doing Bible study the other half were ready to abandon ship. However, once they got here, they fell in love with the vision of Bob and The Hill—to teach the Bible in such a way that was just over their heads that it left them wanting to search for more and to learn and be able to use their hands. That group worked with wood, building lodges, bridges, driving tractors and wanted to do more in their free time. Who would have “thunk” it? That group now are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers involved in their own church bodies scattered throughout Kentucky. The truths and principles they learned are still being applied today.

Fastforward 27 years later to 2020, now those same truths and principles are being passed on to new generations by those impacted by Bob and The Hill many years ago. I’m a special education teacher in a behavioral hospital and see and experience a lot. The world needs to hear and see these truths and principles lived out especially in this generation. On a daily basis I share in some way these with my family, church body, students and other staff members. These are troubled times needing a transformational truth that truly has and will continue to impact all that come in contact with it! It has been a privilege and a blessing to be a part of this camp for many years and hopefully many years to come!

Camper Comments

     Virtual Camp was great! I’m so thankful we still got to have speakers and everything I felt like Satan was really trying to attack us but I was just as encouraged after virtual camp as I usually am after going to the Hill it was amazing! God really took a crazy circumstance and turned it for the good of those who love him. —Freda Henry

     The Spirit led in such a unique way! I was encouraged by everyone’s participation, given that doing things in the comfort of our own homes can sometimes lead to complacency. It was proof that God continues to unite His children regardless of the circumstances. —Garrett Burke

Teachings Online

Most of our retreat teachings are posted on our website. You’ll find Preston Gillham, Neb Hayden, Steve Pettit, Ralph Harris, Rick Underhill, Patrick Johnson, Dave Gibson, and many more. Go to, click on the Audio Teachings tab and enjoy.

Ephesians Bible Study

Over the past 16 months or so the Isaiah teaching audio and commentary has been available on our website for anyone interested in following along.  The last session will be posted in the middle of September.  We will leave all of those posted until the first of November for anyone who might need to catch up.

The next online series will be Ephesians.  It will run for exactly one year beginning the first Monday in November.  Please consider joining us for this wonderful study of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.  The audio and notes for each session will be posted weekly on Monday with a new lesson added each week.  Those will remain posted for several months before being replaced by newer audio lessons.

Memorial Stones

One of our teachers for the second virtual camp had us include a stone to be used as a teaching illustration in the supply box each camper received.  None of us knew at the time, but for several years one camper had been collecting small stones from The Hill.  Each served as a reminder of what God taught him during his stay. 

Beginning with the 2017 Summer Youth Leadership Camp, Garrett Burke pocketed a stone, etching it with the occasion and year.  His next visit was the Romans Retreat in August of 2017, then the Men’s Retreat in April of 2018.  Continuing through the Winter Youth Retreat of 2020, he faithfully collected a rock on each visit to remind him of His encounter with God. 

Just as the stone record of his spiritual journey was about to be interrupted with a virtual summer camp, God stepped in.  Among the snacks, Monday thru Thursday envelopes, t-shirt and other goodies, there was a seemingly insignificant item—a stone from The Hill.  For most it was nothing, but for him it was yet another sign that we are loved by a God who takes seriously even the smallest of details. 

Garrett has since added another stone memorial to his collection—Senior Summer Youth Leadership Camp 2020.

A New Way to Give

If you visit our website very often you may have noticed a new tab at the top–“Giving.”  This is purely in response to a changing culture that leans toward doing everything possible online.  Fewer and fewer even have checks for their “checking” accounts.  This is a response out of necessity for some donors and out of convenience for others.

When this ministry began over 40 years ago, the words of Hudson Taylor—“God’s plan done God’s way never lacks His provision,” were freshly imprinted on the heart of its founder, Bob Warren. That philosophy was integrated into the day-to-day operation of The Hill and remains in our DNA. Consequently, you will never hear a plea from us for donations. We like it that way.

Your friends at The Hill


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