>> UPDATE 6.13.2007 2:35 p.m. EST << The statement I mentioned in my first update has just made available. Here’s SWO’s statement:
To whom it may concern:We, at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, have experienced a tragedy that is unfathomable. On the night of June 11, 2007, we had six summer staff members involved in a single-car accident on I-575 at Bells Ferry road headed north bound. The accident took place around 11:30 p.m. directly following a Braves game that several staff members had attended together on their day off from camp. At this point it appears that the car had mechanical trouble involving the steering. Cara Holland was driving the vehicle and Roy D. Padgett was in the passenger seat. These two were both wearing seatbelts and sustained serious injuries. They are currently recovering in ICU’s in the Atlanta. Michael Mabry, and Daniel Branson were pronounced dead upon arrival, and Suzanne Cranford and Ashlee Kraft were pronounced dead at the scene.
We are all experiencing a great since of loss, but we take hope in the fact that these four counselors were faithful to the calling God placed on their lives. They were devoted to seeking God’s glory above there own, and had given their summer to lead teenagers to a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
The staff at Snowbird needs your prayers. They unanimously asked to continue with our summer program, but the grieving process has been challenging with 400 students on the property. The funerals will be Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Feel free to call Eagle Pointe church at 1-770-421-1643, for funeral arrangements.
>> UPDATE 6.12.2007 5:15 p.m. EST << I have been given information about the funeral arrangements of the SWO counselors. Please pass this information on to others, especially if you are in the area.
>> UPDATE 6.11.2007 4:15 p.m. EST << I just got off the phone with Shawn and Brody from SWO, and they have informed me that they will be making a public statement tomorrow. Taking a quick look at the Googling and traffic to this page reflects the interest of the wider public and perhaps the impact this ministry has had on young people across the country. Once the update is available, I will post it here on my blog.
This morning I was awakened by an early phone call by one of the closest brothers in my life, Shawn Clark. He is part of a full-time staff (year-round) that make up what I consider the best Christian youth camp in the country – Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. Never in my life have I seen or been around a bunch of Christians more deeply devoted to Christ and more committed to one another. Many of these full-time staff have enriched my life immensely, and I feel a deep sense of indebtedness to them for their encouragement and friendship. Therefore, I am making a prayer request that I am asking you to make your own, a prayer request that supersedes anything I have written in a long time.
Last night, a group of the summer staffers (part-time/summer help) from Snowbird went to watch a Braves game in Atlanta. As they were coming back, one of the vehicles lost control and ran off the road. Two passengers died immediately on the scene, and two others later died in the hospital. In all, four summer staffers died last night with others still critically wounded.
Those of you who attend Southern Seminary might know Zach Mabry, who like Shawn, is part of the full-time staff. As you know this time of year, summer camps are in full swing, and Snowbird is having kids come through every week for the rest of the summer. While I do not believe there is another group of believers more spiritually and theologically equipped to handle such a tragedy, they deeply need our prayers. Please make a point to pray for them and remember them during this time.
John Piper has warned our generation to not waste our lives. Those who passed away last night gave theirs in service to Jesus and reaching young people with the gospel. When moments like this occur in life, it reminds us that our lives are but a vapor that appears for a moment and vanishes away, and that each vapor, however long it lasts, is only redeemed when it is entirely given to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. As we pray for Snowbird, let us pray for ourselves as well, that we would consider the brevity of our lives and resolve to not waste a day, not a minute in giving our all to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As you pray, here are some names of specific people to mention (see staff page for more info):
Steve Coleman – camp founder
Brody Holloway – camp director
Also, please remember to pray for the families who lost their loved ones in the car accident, the churches who will be ministering to them, and the Snowbird staff who are grieving and counseling others during this time.