With Steve recently leading an expedition to the Holy Land, he was unable to write his semimonthly letter.  Please enjoy reading this update from Amy Wenger at the Lodestar Mountain Inn regarding the OneLife Institute.

The Lodestar Mountain Inn staff and on-site OneLife staff are excited and grateful to welcome our inaugural “Young Thundering Herd” class to LMI. Since their move-in on Saturday, August 27, we’ve been amazed by the students’ energy, focus, and enthusiastic participation in their individual and corporate roles in the program.

On Saturday, the twenty-two students moved in and completed parent and student orientation sessions, greatly supported by local church volunteers and friends of OneLife and LMI. For their first Sunday, they went in two 15-passenger vans to a local church service to worship together as a team.  Then they had some additional orientation and question/answer opportunities as well as plenty of time to relax. After dinner, they organized into various student action committees that will continue through the semester, then enjoyed an outdoor movie and s’mores bar in the evening. More than one student was astonished that evening by the thousands of stars visible in the night sky in Smoke Hole, WV!

Monday was focused on getting to know the Lodestar Mountain Inn staff, story, ministry, mission, and policies. The students broke into three teams, each of which will have a unique service focus at LMI and many other locations throughout their nine-month OneLife journey. The teams were excited by the opportunity to leave their mark on campus as the inaugural group. They began developing ideas for campus projects, new outdoor games, and more. They also learned a little about area attractions, state parks, restaurants, stores, etc.

On Tuesday, classes officially began. The introductory week focused on how to effectively read the Bible. Dr. Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University, used the book of John as his text as he gave valuable insight into how to dig into the context, purpose, meaning, and application of any portion of scripture. Students loved the teaching from Dr. Towns and also the interaction they had with him over meals and during their free time.

After this introduction, the students began their curriculum in earnest. Their first module focused on Creation, the Fall, Redemption, and Reconciliation topics.  Dr. Derek Melleby from Lancaster Bible College spent the week teaching the Narrative of Redemption, stopping on each of these topics in Scripture to show God’s grand story.  In addition to classroom learning, the OneLife model includes experiential learning, teaching back to the instructor and class, and service and travel related to the topic.

The students have a very full and busy schedule and much to learn and do. However, they are making time each week for service to others and for building community among them. During free time, as students played games, practiced various instruments brought from home, and walked around campus together, one student told a member of LMI’s staff, “I absolutely love it here. I thought the schedule was going to be too busy and difficult, but I love it.”  She then added, “I can’t imagine being with any other students in each of the committees and groups I’m in. Each one is different.”