Steppin-Out — steppin’ up, changing lives

Steppin-Out — steppin’ up, changing lives

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In the Book of Isaiah, it reads, “Whom shall I send and who will go for me?”

Steppin-Out Missions firmly believes that when the call comes to serve, there is a need that has to be met.

John Corley of Steppin-Out Missions of Alpine Bible Church near Sugarcreek said the goal of his organization is to focus its attention on aiding other missions in meeting their needs.

One such mission recently went through a nearly catastrophic moment when 150 junior high campers were on lock-down at Skyview Ranch following the horrifying derecho that stormed through Holmes County the morning of Tuesday, June 14.

Realizing the damage that was done to the camp and hearing their story, Steppin-Out Missions charged into action, sending teams to the ranch to help clean up. Just five days after vehicles were unable to reach the camp due to downed trees and power lines, the clean-up efforts of Steppin-Out helped another summer camp week go off as scheduled June 20-24.

“My life was changed forever 55 years ago at a camp much like this one, so I’ve always had a soft spot for camps,” Corley said. “We try to do everything we can to assist other missions, whether it’s a ministry, a hospital, church camp or whatever it might be.”

Like Skyview Ranch director Jon Casbolm, Corley hails from Elyria, and they knew each other before this natural disaster took place. Sending teams in to aid the embattled camp was an easy decision for Steppin-Out.

“We can’t thank the volunteers from Steppin-Out enough,” said Casbolm. “They came in immediately. John (Corley) was one of the first calls I made at about 1 a.m. after the first storm hit. He was in Michigan working and they responded right away. Without their help, we could have never opened the following week for camp.”

Corley said his organization began assisting Skyview Ranch when it faced hardships the past two years due to COVID-19 issues that didn’t allow the camp to operate for a lengthy period. Before that the former lodge burned to the ground in 2019, so there have been hardships.

Corley said Steppin-Out Missions works a great deal during natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. They have assembled work teams that have traveled around the globe, although he said international travel and efforts to work overseas have slowed since travel has been restricted through quarantining.

Thus, they have been operating closer to home.

“We were excited and humbled to step in and help at Skyview Ranch,” Corley said. “We are working with camps in Michigan and near Geauga with whom we’ve worked by putting together volunteer teams to go and assist them in any way we can.”

Oftentimes people think about missions helping other people and rarely do they give much thought to aiding other missions. That is what makes Steppin-Out Missions unique in its efforts.

While Skyview Ranch waited for power, like most people in Holmes County, the Steppin-Out crew stepped into the fray and made an immediate impact. As his crews rolled in, it didn’t take long for them to see the destruction firsthand.

In addition to the physical labor, Alpine Bible Church provided the passenger vans that helped load kids and transport them to Faith Bible Church near state Route 39.

“They had a time getting those kids out, because the roads were covered with trees and they had to cut themselves out,” Corley said. “It was the safest way to get them all out. That was Tuesday (June 14) at 7:30 p.m. Since then, we’ve been working on cleaning the place up and restoring it.”

Corley estimates that there are between 1,200-1,500 trees down on the 175-acre camp, including horse trails. Reopening that area took great effort.

Corley said that while it is a painstaking effort to help clean up after disasters, those who invest believe all people are called to give in service in the name of Christ.

“We hope to challenge believers and local churches to get actively involved with the world around them, whether that far away or close to home,” Corley said. “Our mission is to help organizations that focus on the Gospel, and we do it any way we can. That’s just what we do.”

The short-term teams that travel and work in service range from youth to retirees, and Corley said that while each job holds its own unique challenges, they are all worthwhile and uplifting, to both those they serve and to the people who volunteer.

“Any time we are faithful and obedient to God’s call, we are going to be bless and hopefully bless others in the process,” Corley said. “We are grateful that nobody was hurt and that we can clean up the remnants and help Skyview Ranch get back to normal again so they can continue their ministry.”

For more on Steppin-Out Missions, visit its website at: