Straightway Holdings Inc., Missouri Baptist Foundation sign lease-purchase agreement with Encounter Ministry
ROACH, Mo. (SHI/MBF) – Straightway Holdings Inc. (SHI) and the Missouri Baptist Foundation (MBF) are pleased to announce they have signed a lease-purchase agreement with Encounter Ministry based in Lebanon, Mo., for the 350-acre property here formerly known as Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
The agreement does not include the surrounding 970 acres the Missouri Baptist Convention purchased from a third party in 2014.
The agreement is effective on Jan. 1, 2022. The new name of the camp ministry will be Encounter Cove.
Encounter Ministry has hosted weekend retreats averaging nearly 1000 people at the camp ten months out of each year since September 2020 and has been a significant ministry partner of SHI helping to operate and make needed repairs to the camp.
“Encounter Ministry has been and continues to be instrumental in helping restore the camp property since a fire destroyed a building and an ice storm caused enough damage to prevent the camp from opening for the summer 2021 season,” said MBF President Neil Franks.
Jeff Brawley founded Encounter Ministry (Encounterministry.org) as a platform to reach and restore men to God. It started with weekend retreats for men and expanded over the years to host women’s retreats, along with an annual marriage retreat in Branson. They have been looking to expand to include youth and children’s summer camps but could not find a suitable facility, until now.
In addition to hosting its own ministry events, they anticipate hosting additional church groups, youth camps, a Christian school along with families and individuals throughout the year. They will be working diligently to restore and prepare the camp for reopening in early summer of 2022. The camp will be open to hosting former groups as well as new clients.
“We at Encounter Ministry are very excited to be able to continue the dreams and vision of ministry that started Windermere decades ago, a place where so many people have and will continue to Encounter Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him,” Brawley said. “Encounter Cove will be a place to grow people that will impact the world from our neighbors to the nations with the power of the Gospel, Isaiah 43:18-19.”
Becky Brown, a member of First Baptist Church, Branson, said, “Windermere has held a special place in my heart since the mid 60’s when I worked as a summer staffer in College. Over the years, we’ve continued to participate in various camp activities. Jack and I returned in early 2019 to volunteer and we soon found ourselves serving on staff once again. For decades, Windermere has played a life-changing role in the spiritual journey of so many Baptists and beyond. We are excited to see ministry continue at Windermere under the excellent leadership of Encounter Ministry.”
SHI purchased the property in December 2019 at a public foreclosure auction. Franks said, “We believe the property is in good hands, and God has more in store for this piece of property, even if it will no longer be called Windermere.” We encourage everyone to consider supporting Encounter Ministry as they continue the legacy Baptist’s began so many years ago.”