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Ponderosa History

Children's Bible Ministries
North Alabama Division

History of CBM Ministries

CBM Ministries, also known as Children's Bible Ministries, has a rich history rooted in a passion for reaching young hearts with the Gospel. In 1935, Mr. Walter Jenson, a Moody Bible Institute graduate, founded Children's Bible Mission (CBM Ministries). His innovative approach involved entering public schools to teach God's Word, inspiring children to learn and memorize Scripture. The incentive? A chance to attend a transformative summer Bible Camp. The inaugural year saw 47 children earning this privilege, with 16 embracing Jesus Christ as their Savior.

CBM's impact rapidly expanded from Florida to Pennsylvania, reaching thousands of public school boys and girls. The ministry took root in North Alabama through W.A. Hunt, fondly known as "The Bible Man," who tirelessly visited schools from 1935 to 1968. After his passing, Miss Bess Robertson and Miss Elsie Bailey continued the work, transporting campers to rental locations until the establishment of Ponderosa Bible Camp in 1976.

The ministry's objective, initiated by Mr. Jenson, remains unchanged. CBM perseveres in reaching children through the Released Time program, maintaining the incentive program for attending Ponderosa Bible Camp via The Mailbox Club correspondence Bible lessons.

Over the years, CBM Ministries has evolved to serve diverse groups, including college and career adults, senior citizens, and homeschoolers. The motto "Win A Child . . . Win A Life!" underscores the mission to mold young lives, preventing the tragedies of sin.

CBM Ministries' National Office resides in Townsend, TN, overseeing nine locations across the eastern US, from Florida to New York.

History of Ponderosa Bible Camp

The roots of "Camp Ponderosa" trace back to the mid-1960s, built by two psychology professors from the University of Alabama. In 1976, CBM Ministries of North AL, under the guidance of Miss Bess Robertson, purchased the 80-acre camp, initiating a series of expansions and developments.

Over the years, additions such as cabins, a dining hall/kitchen, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and dormitories transformed Ponderosa into a thriving camp and retreat center. A significant milestone was the construction of a new two-story Chapel in 2000, supported by an anonymous donation of $72,000.

Leadership transitioned from Mr. Glenn Miller to Jeff Nelson, who officially became Executive Director in January 2003. In 2006, the organization rebranded as Ponderosa Student Ministries, encompassing various ministries such as Ponderosa Bible Camp & Retreat Center, Ponderosa Public School Ministry, Ponderosa Mailbox Club Ministry, Ponderosa Hospitality Ministry, and more.

The core purpose of Ponderosa Student Ministries and Ponderosa Bible Camp is to guide boys and girls in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, developing Christ-centered personalities, and becoming effective witnesses in their local churches. The Bible is revered as the ultimate authority for faith and conduct, shaping the foundation of their teachings and mission.

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