15620_Womens_RetreatCropFor the past 11 years, CAP has hosted the annual Women’s Retreat at their Camp Andrew Jackson in Jackson, Kentucky. Over 45 women join together each spring to enjoy community living and spiritual growth. Many of these women return year after year. It is a heartwarming sight to see multigenerational families who come to grow together and enjoy the programs and sisterhood that unfold.

Each day starts out with an hour of devotion time followed by an afternoon of seminars and free time and an evening of worship and campfires. The seminars range in topics from couponing, stretches for relaxation, benefits of planting, hair, makeup and nails, stress management, and living with mindfulness. Free time is spent hiking, fishing, swimming, and overall enjoying the great outdoors.

The bond that these women share at the end of the week is amazing. While some women arrive in groups and others reunite year after year, some are here for the first time. They always leave feeling a part of something bigger. The few days that these ladies spend together rebuilds hope that many may have thought was lost and rebuilds self-esteem that may have been lacking due to a variety of life events. The annual CAP Women’s Retreat is truly a life-changing experience and one of the many ways that CAP restores hope and strives to rebuild communities in Appalachia one family at a time.

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15620_RonWhen disaster struck Johnson County, CAP’S disaster relief team was there to help families and seniors, like Ron, recover.

Ron was one of 46 names that CAP received to contact after the August 22, 2014, floods in Johnson County. After two weeks of unsuccessful phone calls and an unsuccessful attempt at finding his home, Jill (a CAP employee) met a man in town who asked her if CAP had been out to Ron’s house. He told her Ron needed help. “That was God working,” explains Jill. That evening, she was able to get in touch with Ron and asked about helping him with the flood. His only response was, “I’m hungry.” That evening the CAP crew was able to make it back through the very narrow winding road into a hollow, where sections of roads had been washed out. When they finally reached the house, Ron was sitting on his porch with a great big smile and waving.

He immediately began talking. Ron explained that he had been praying that someone would come and help him. He said he would be 90 on March 24, 2015. He remembered Jill from years ago, when he used to receive commodities through CAP’s Outreach Program. You could tell by his excitement that he was happy to have company. He shared about the night of the flood and said he thought they were going to have to get a helicopter just to get him out. His house sits right next to a creek and the water got up to about a foot high in his living room and kitchen as well as in his car. Inside his home, the smell of mold and dampness was overpowering. He had been living in these conditions since the flood on August 22nd until CAP’s Disaster Relief team arrived on September 11, 2014. His carpet was saturated, and he tried to lay rugs over it, stating that he was embarrassed because of the water stains. There was a muddy/sandy residue on the kitchen floor. As the CAP team stood in the kitchen, a mouse went across Ron’s foot. He explained that the house had been infested with mice since the flood and said, “They are getting brave, not even afraid of me anymore.” This story led him to another one about two snakes, one that he found curled up in his chair in the bathroom.

Robyn Renner, manager of CAP’s Disaster Relief team, said that words cannot describe how she felt when she left his house that day. All he had in his refrigerator was milk and orange soda. For food, he had a few boxes of cereal and a few canned goods. She was speechless and emotional. Ron lived in these conditions but never once complained or said anything negative. He is such a cheerful man and loves the Lord with all his heart. He was proud to share his love for Christ.

The CAP team pulled up wet carpet, ripped up the rotten floors as well as rotten floor joist, and replaced the joist and floors the same day. Because the Disaster Relief team works on a limited time schedule, they referred Ron to the Manager of Elderly Assistance & Elderly Housing. The Elderly Housing crew came the following day to complete the repairs. Ron is now on our Elderly list and will have a regular caseworker check on him a few times a week. Elderly Housing has laid new carpet and linoleum in his home.

“I can definitely say this is one of those times where we were the ones that received the blessing, when our original intent which was to give a blessing” said Robyn Renner.

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15620_GwenCropMrs. Gwen Newcomb was honored on June 3, 2014, for 40 years of service to Christian Appalachian Project. Gwen started at CAP when she was a senior in high school. Since then, she has held many positions here, such as working in data entry and as a receptionist, and currently, she assists participants in our Grateful Threadz clothing store. When asked what her best memory is of her time at CAP, she smiles and talks about the old days. Her favorite memories are of Mr. Bill Begley (former CAP vice president) and his wife picking up her and a few other employees and taking them to work. Many great stories came out of those car rides. She will tell you that her proudest accomplishment throughout her working experience is learning how to use computers.

Gwen is full of CAP history and smiles as she recounts different events. When asked how CAP has changed her, she replied that it has helped her gain a greater respect for people as individuals. Advice she would give to a new employee would be to work hard and learn all you can. Gwen’s favorite part of working for CAP is all of the friends she has made — both employees and participants.

Gwen remembers Reverend Beiting with great admiration. She herself was a participant as a child and received a Christmas basket from Reverend Beiting. But one of her fondest memories of the CAP founder was campfire stories at Cliffview camp. While Gwen has grown up with CAP and learned a lot through her experiences, she has also contributed so much to CAP and the camaraderie felt by all employees. It is always a treat to hear Mrs. Gwen sing and praise God for all of her blessings.

Congratulations Mrs. Gwen Newcomb on your CAP anniversary!

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