Craig WendelSouth Point Church, Memphis, Tennessee
When I was first invited to go for a week of fishing on the big horn river I was excited about getting to fish, that was it. But what I didn’t realize was how desperately I was in need of doing “nothing.” I planted our church 8 years ago from scratch and it was not a walk in the park. Progress was slow and grueling, but after numerous years and numerous families coming and going we finely found traction and began gaining steam. What all of that meant was that I never stopped and if I did physically stop, mentally and emotionally I never did. I was in constant work mode for 8 years straight and I never realized the detriment to my spiritual outlook that it caused.
Day 2 of fishing I was standing in the boat with my leg in the leg lock casting and mending my line and I realized that I wasn’t thinking, about anything. It struck me as odd that the last couple if days my mind and emotions had shut down, something that had not happened in almost a decade. It was amazing. I smiled and thought to myself how oddly amazing it was that I was confident that my church could survive without me and it was okay that I was thinking about nothing except mending my line. My time with Refuge was the most rejuvenating time I have had in a decade. Even now being back home and working hard, I find myself often thinking back about my time on the big horn river and how staring at that silly orange strike indicator changed my life. In fact it could very well have saved my life from ministry overload.
Thank you for the time and effort that you and your team invested in me. I’m a better man of God thanks to your care and concern.
Greg SurrattFounder of ARC and Senior Pastor at Seacoast, Charleston, SC
Having recently experienced a week with the refuge foundation, I wholeheartedly endorse the work that Brian Carpenter and the team are doing. I witnessed and experienced a group of pastors resting, relaxing and recharging while enjoying God’s creation. The foundations investment in ministry would be hard to quantify. The week will have lasting impact.
Eric PartinFounding pastor of Shoreline Church
Destin and Fort Walton Beach, FL
I have fished several times with Brian Carpenter at the Refuge Foundation. Besides the great fishing, the excellent world class guides, and the breathtaking beauty of the Big Horn River of Montana, the Refuge Foundation is truly an organization that cares for pastors with “no strings attached.” Once you get over the fact that these are people out there who genuinely care for pastors, you come away refreshed and feeling like you have a friend whom you can always call. I have made lifetime ministry friends from my time there. And to me, that is priceless. I highly recommend Refuge Foundation as a great retreat for pastors as well as a sound investment for those looking to advance the kingdom of God.
Carolyn StallbaumPastor's Wife
Thank you for providing a place where pastors can truly get away from the stress of life. Since there is no internet access, it’s the perfect scenario to totally disconnect from the world and connect with God, nature and other pastors.
I will admit Dan’s last trip was a little challenging for me. Our last child got married and for the first time in 35 years I officially became an empty-nester. I wasn’t looking forward to being alone…..well except for our little dog T-Bo, yet I was thrilled because Dan so desperately needed time away.
God took care of me as He always does. Dan came home refreshed and rejuvenated and I gained more appreciation for the wonderful man God has given me for my husband. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Justin SogoianNational Church Relations Director Compassion International
Thank you for inviting me out to experience the Refuge firsthand. To be honest, as a former pastor of 16 years, I was a little apprehensive about attending thinking that it wasn’t going to meet any of the expectations. Fortunately, I was proven wrong from the start!.
From the time I landed, until the time I left, this was a first class experience! Your guides picked me up from the airport with a smile and genuinely wanted to get to know me and my story. The connection was immediate, and the drive to the “campsite” seemed to fly by as the conversation flowed. Upon arrival I was greeted by the rest of your “staff” who were an amazing group of volunteers laser focused on making the experience memorable for all those attending. Phenomenal meals, freshly prepared and the “hands-on”fly fishing instruction are life-long memories. Your staff was so patient with those of us new to the sport, and they found their “success” in seeing each of us have a great time on the river. The accommodations were first class as we were truly spoiled from start to finish every day.
Honestly, I’d recommend this to ANY pastor who can (and can’t) get away for a few days. Very rarely in my business do you experience a location, group of people and set of amenities that caters to the soul, but you’ve done it my friend! I consider it a privilege to share the Refuge with pastors all over the world…and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Keep up the good work of helping pastors (and their churches) stay healthy. if the church is the hope of the world, then the Refuge is providing hope of the church.
KJ StephensYouth Pastor at Bayside Church, Sacramento, CA
This year I had the privilege of going on my first fishing trip with Refuge Foundation. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I needed a break.
Before the trip, I was tired, stressed out, and had been working hard on a lot of great ministry events. I was just coming off of a successful (but extremely exhausting) mission trip with students. I felt conflicted leaving my family behind to travel to Montana to fly fish, but this trip was exactly what I needed. The fishing was absolutely incredible! More importantly, the Refuge staff poured into my life, helped me experience rest, and took my mind off of work for an entire four days (something I have never been able to experience).
The staff of the Refuge Foundation know how to serve and create an atmosphere for tired ministers be refreshed, renewed, and to have fun. This trip was an absolute blessing. I owe the Refuge Foundation a huge “thank you” for what they did in my life!
Sheryll AshmoreLifeGate Church, Villa Rica, GA
Tony had a blast. He came home excited about the fishing, the beautiful surroundings and most of all, the new friendships that were made. It was good for him to be with a group of guys who do what he does. He came away with some great ideas and new perspectives. Thanks so much Refuge Foundation.
Jim WilkesJourney Community Church, Cleveland, OH
My week at Refuge was amazing. Honestly, I was unaware that I needed a time of personal renewal and was at a place of burnout. Refuge provided an opportunity to recharge my batteries. The world class fly fishing, relationships I built, and who can forget the amazing food allowed God to refresh my soul. I am extremely grateful!