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Local Outreach Partner Spotlight: Doe River Gorge


My name is Isaac Abkes. I am sixteen years old and am a tenth grade homeschooler. I enjoy photography and mountain biking. My parents and I have been a part of Grace Fellowship Church since moving to Jonesborough from Iowa City, Iowa in 2006.

One of my favorite places on earth is Doe River Gorge. I truly love this camp! I have been going to DRG for around 9 years and I have attended the Father/Son Challenge with my dad for almost as long. I can say with confidence that this camp has had an incredible impact on my faith!

For many years, I attended Junior Adventure Quest and Adventure Quest for a week in the summer. Adventure is definitely a big part of the camp’s mission, and the high adventure has stretched me out of my comfort zone many times. Thankfully I have always survived! Now I love the high adventure and it is something that I look forward to every year. I think that everyone should at least try the high adventure activities because they may discover that they really love them. One of the ideas in the DRG agreement that all campers agree to is “seek adventure.” I think that this is great because life is and should be one big adventure for God.

Beyond adventure, I also love the Big Top Time where we worship and have amazing teaching! During Big Top I know that God is moving and changing hearts through His word in that tent. The solid truths of God are displayed very well through this part of the ministry.

In the summer of 2017 I did the leadership training program 17THREE. This is a two week program where you help around the camp, build relationships, and have a lot of fun. The name 17THREE comes from John 17:3, which says, “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.” 17THREE, SALT, and LEAD are all about telling the world of Jesus by telling and living the example of Jesus for the people in the programs. SALT stands for Servant and Leadership Training and LEAD stands for Leadership Experience and Discipleship. These are high school leadership training programs that last for two weeks, three weeks, and four weeks respectively.

Each September I look forward to Father/Son weekend. I love to do this because I get to share with my dad some of the fun of the summer and I get to be around men who truly love God and want to show that love to others.

When I am old enough I hope to be on staff. The staff of DRG has impacted me a lot and I would like to have the opportunity to make an impact on someone as well. After high school, I hope to do the one-year internship that they offer. I have met a lot of great people through the ministry of Doe River Gorge. I always know that I am welcome by staff and peers when I am there. It is great to go back year after year and feel like I am coming home.

Doe River Gorge can disconnect us from the busyness of life. This decompressing period can be used to connect with God and friends. God uses DRG to change lives.

This is one adventure you do not want to miss. It will change your life! Come by the Doe River Gorge table in the Cafe this weekend to learn more about their ministry and camp.


Isaac Abkes


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