Covering my angst with the soothing wisdom from my mother's prayer journals

Returning to Black Mountain and Remembering An FCA Camp


This week we made a road trip to the mountains and were welcomed with cool temperatures and refreshing showers that provided nice changes from the humid nineties back home.

These mountains hold special memories for my husband so after checking in to our hotel, we drove up a lush mountain road to the YMCA campus that also hosts summer camps for Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Established in 1954, FCA has encouraged coaches and athletes to impact the world for Christ. It reaches over two million people annually on all levels of athletics and focuses on serving Christ through relationships and in the fellowship of the church.
FCA camps are a time for coaches and athletes to reach their potential by offering comprehensive athletic, spiritual and leadership training and focusing on integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence.

In the summer of 1965, an anonymous donor made it possible for an upcoming high school senior to attend an FCA camp here. The life changing experience was reflected in the letter I received from my then high school sweetheart:

“Before I came to this conference, I lived my life only within myself. After listening to testimonies by men so admired in athletics, I found I no longer face life alone. I can share my problems with my personal friend and savior. I now have tremendous faith in God and His will for my life.”

After a stellar senior year in high school this young man went on to be a part of two SEC championship teams and one National Championship team. He coached for nearly thirty years and returned to several FCA camps as a counselor.

Driving back up that mountain so many years later brought back memories of football games played in the open fields with other student athletes and testimonies given by famous speakers. Billy Graham, who was in his prime, came over one night to visit the campers.

On our way back home we followed a winding stream that flows at the bottom of the Great Smokey Mountains. As the water rushed over rocks and parted for the giant boulders lying in its path, I remembered the scripture in Psalms 62:7.

God is a mighty rock, my refuge.

In her journal Mother wrote, “It is our responsibility to do all we can do to keep the gospel message alive for the next generation.”

We never found out who the anonymous donor was, but he provided the opportunity to begin a life built on The mighty rock.

Author: marymcleary

Grateful for so many things, especially the peace He gives and the opportunity to tell it to my kids, grandkids and anyone else who wants to listen. Many read my first book In My Mother's Words, and I have recently published my second book, Heart Whispers from the Old Testament. Both are the result of the prayer journals my mother gifted me her last Christmas. Those journals were full of the wisdom of a Faith Walker and had to be shared.

8 thoughts on “Returning to Black Mountain and Remembering An FCA Camp

  1. No such thing as a coincidence… Stories like this remind me that our Father is in all things, the grand and the seemingly slight that impact an untold number for the will of our Father. Cool story…


  2. Love this wonderful true story…..beautiful part of the country……..Georgia Svrcek is at Camp Merri-Mac this week and next…..she loves the camp….and being in this peaceful part of N.C……you were close to Georgia….on your trip.


  3. Mary, Thanks for writing this interesting story of FCA and Don’s personal experience with it. Enjoyed it very much!


  4. Wow! How God uses us is amazing…and we really know so little about it. It is to His complete glory. This is such a great reminder to never underestimate the little things that we do and how God can use them to work great things in another. Blessings to you! Love, Rachael


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