The Barry’s are moving to Arkansas and heading into ministry as a family at Shepherd of the Ozarks Christian Camp.
Some of you may not be shocked, you know that our family has wanted to go into ministry for a long time. Others may be surprised by either our timing or location. Let me share with you how we got to this point and what it will look like when we get to SOTO. Our timing is not God’s timing and our ways are not His ways. He is in control and His hands are all over this story.
thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So, we sold our house a year ago with the intent on paying down debt so that we could enter into ministry debt free. The story of selling our house was again God’s timing. We sold it the first day it went on the market, to the first people who looked at it, in February, in the dark, for our full asking price, which was above the amount any house in our area was going for. Plus, they asked to purchase specific pieces of furniture we were selling, not knowing that we were selling them. It was amazing!
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
We continued to get rid of 75% of what we owned. After selling the house we moved into my parents’ basement where we have been living for a year now working hard to pay down the debt. My parents have been so supportive in helping us get on a budget and taking us into their home.
After we made the decision to move in with my parents, Richard’s job at St. Luke’s moved him from Downtown to South, which is only 15 minutes away. This job change from MO to KS required him to get his Certified Dietician Manager certificate, which meant he needed to take some classes at JOCO. During one of his classes on management he was required to shadow a position in the hospitality industry that he was interested in, but different than what he is doing now. Last summer, while we were on vacation at a high-adventure Christian camp in Colorado, we started discussing what it would look like if our family chose to work at a Christian camp once we were out of debt. It is important to us to do life together as a family, and we want to do it together while serving the Lord. So, knowing we were interested in this, Richard decided to look around for a Christian camp nearby to go shadow for his project for class. He tried to connect with some camps here in Kansas, but they did not call him back. While searching for other options on a Christian camping website, he came across SOTO, Shepherd of the Ozarks. While on this site, it also listed jobs open. This place was looking for a couple to serve as the Food Service Director for the camp. He felt very compelled to apply for this job. He couldn’t explain it, he just felt like it would be perfect for us- even though the timing was too early for us, we were still paying off our debt. He sent in the application and a cover letter telling them about who we were and what we were wanting to do. We heard nothing for over a month. We had given up on the thought and assumed that it just wasn’t God’s timing.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then out of nowhere, Richard received a call from the owner of the camp. They talked for over an hour and he invited us down to volunteer as a family for a weekend. What a weekend it was. We were lucky to get to visit the camp on a weekend where we got to see the benefits of this amazing Christian camp. Because of the business they do throughout the year, they are able to invite special groups in for a free weekend/week to enjoy the camp and experience things they would never normally be able to do. The weekend we went was for this Christian ministry that has group homes for foster children throughout the state of Arkansas. It was such a blessing to come on this weekend.
Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Feel free to look up sotocamp.com. They offer family camps, youth camps, different ministries use it for retreats, and family reunions. They offer a high ropes course, low ropes course (team building), archery, paintball, horseback riding and more! So, the boys will have plenty to do!
There are 3 couples on site at the camp, camp directors, maintenance and activities directors, and the food service directors. That’s the role we will be filling. We will be in charge of the BCC, Buffalo Conference Center. It is a 3 story lodge building. The top level is the dining hall and kitchen. There we will be responsible for the cooking and serving of guests. The middle level has offices and a few guest rooms, which they use for guest speakers and volunteers when they are at capacity. The bottom level is an auditorium complete with a snack shop, stage and gift shop. This is our responsibility as well and they have asked Ben if he’d like to be in charge of all the technical things for that, he is up for the challenge. We will be responsible for working with the interns there at the camp and creating/adding to the pool of volunteers, as well as interacting with the campers. We will also be learning everything we can about the roles for the other 2 couples, so that as they take time off we can seamlessly step in and help keep the year round camp going. Their busy season is from June-August, but are busy almost every weekend throughout the year as well. When it’s not the busy season there will always be something to do, the project and maintenance list will never be empty. The boys are going to learn so much during our time there. This will be the perfect setting to continue to home-school the boys.
1 Chronicles 29:13
Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name.
We start at the end of May!!!! To get there we have one last hurdle to get over, but a very important one. We still have some debt we need to make sure is gone before we enter into this life of ministry. While Richard’s job will be a paid position, it is a ministry position and comes with a ministry salary. There will be no room to pay the debt. They are giving us a lodge to stay in for free with utilities paid. Most of our food will be taken care of and we won’t need to drive much, so our expenses will be greatly reduced. When we talk about God’s timing not being our own, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect fit for our family. So we have to believe that what seems like a mountain to us, God can remove like it was a little pebble. While we do not feel worthy, we are asking our family and friends who know our hearts, who know our desire to serve the Lord in ministry, to come along side us as ministry partners with a one-time monetary gift. SOTO has a link set up for your tax-deductible gift. This part just seems so crazy to us, but we truly believe that this is where God is calling us to go. It was a perfect fit with the other couples we will be working with and to see the camp in action, where the gospel is being shared daily and people are coming to know their Savior, was amazing.
Please pray about supporting our family with a one-time gift as we go into ministry. If you are feeling led, you can make checks payable to FBC (Barry’s- SOTO in the memo) and either personally hand them to me or mail them to 19790 Rosewood Dr., Stilwell, KS 66085 (we need to keep records before we hand them in). Also, feel free to SHARE this link, we would appreciate it!
We are also looking for people who are willing to come along side and pray for our family on a regular basis. If you interested, please let Lori know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to keep you updated quarterly on what God is doing at SOTO and with the Barry’s. Above all, we just want God to be glorified in all we do- may all praises be to Him
Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken.
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
In Christ’s love,
Richard, Lori, Ben and Luke Barry