“Go to a writer’s conference. You might want to try Mount Hermon.” My agent’s first advice to me was sage. There, in the shadow of a redwood canopy, I sold my first novel series. But the sale of my first book pales in comparison to the rest of my experience on my first visit to Mount Hermon Christian
Nestled in a historic redwood forest near Santa Cruz, California, Mount Hermon has ministered to families and teens for over one hundred years. There, generations of counselors have shared the Gospel in a setting of outdoor activity, music and worship. Their motto: Lives transformed.
My life was transformed that first visit to Mount Hermon during solitary prayer in a forest chapel late one afternoon. I was searching for my direction in life, after forty years of a single-minded and nearly successful pursuit of astronaut selection. Where was God calling me? Why, after so many years—since age twelve—had I felt directed toward astronaut, only to come so close and now find success writing about space instead of living it? The victory—until I heard God’s answer—seemed pyrrhic.
Our Lord left no doubt where I was called, a very clear message impressed on my heart in that forest prayer. Despite my life-long love of writing, I’d spent four decades in pursuit of astronaut selection, “building the resume” to do what God had originally intended in what I’d felt as a life-long call to “make a difference.” The message that day under the damp arbor of green? He’d called me to write, from my earliest days. I needed forty years in the space wilderness to be ready for this day. “This is what I prepared you to do,” I heard, in a moment I’ll never forget. “It is time.”
I support the staff of the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference as a guest lecturer on marketing, and as a mentor for budding writers. Each year, I sponsor one writer to the conference, investing in another’s life as so many have invested in mine. Les Stobbe, my agent, and I sponsor an annual financial gift to a deserving writer with the “Lauren Beyenhof True Grit Award,” recognizing extraordinary perseverance and determination in a Christian writer. Committed to the vision of Mount Hermon, I support fund raiser events for their development office, and challenge other authors to join with me and tithe a portion of their royalties to the ongoing ministry of Mount Hermon.
My advice to you:
Go to Mount Hermon. Visit their family camp with your spouse and children, a
couple’s retreat, a marriage conference, the Writer’s Conference each spring, or send a child to a summer camp they will never forget in the shadow of giants. Like tens of thousands before you, no vacation will compare to your time in this place, a slice of heaven on Earth. Go to Mount Hermon. Be transformed.