Lone Tree is committed to excellence in camping. Using the outdoors and adventure based activities to share Christ with each camper in a gentle, natural way through personal attention and relationships built through the activities.
In 1982 camp was ready to open (although still very rustic). We could take 20 -30 kids at that time. The local church community helped us in so many ways and our church community from NJ supported us financially and prayerfully along with our families. There have been many volunteers that have helped over the years to make the camp what it is becoming. Today, there are 4 Lone Tree ministries; Lone Tree Ranch, Fort Lone Tree, Lone Tree Lakeshore and Lone Tree Missions. God has blessed these ministries tremendously.
In 1990 Tim and Charlene asked the question do we stay as a ma and pa organization, where we run everything or do we empower others and expand our ministry. Empowering others is a real act of faith and trust but in 1991 Fort Lone Tree was born. Tim’s love for the water was the grounds for Lone Tree Lakeshore which opened in 1992 and is located at Elephant Butte Lake. After a mission trip to Mexico Tim and Char realize the young people in the US need to learn about serving others and so Lone Tree Missions was born.
The facilities and programs have changed over the years but our mission, purpose and philosophy has stayed the same.
In April of 2014 Tim was called home, “well done thou good and faithful servant”. It was a great loss for all of us, but a great gain for him. He had instilled in all of us a love for the Lord, and in people. Lone Tree stands strong because of Tim’s faith in God, that Lone Tree was the Lords and we are just vessels to be used.
In 2016 we added a zip line to the Ranch, a new facility at the Fort and the Lake and now we can stand back look around and say God was faithful then in 1980 and will continue to be as long as we trust Him and not ourselves. It is our desire to leave a legacy of truth for generations to come.
In Tim and Char’s humble beginnings, they lived in a tent for several months and hauled water for the first two years from Capitan (9 miles away). A logging permit was secured on the Apache reservation and using an old horse and a borrowed harness, logs were hauled out of the forest for the construction of the first camp lodge. Chainsaws were used to shape the logs and construction began. A sawmill was donated soon after and all lumber for construction came off the camp’s sawmill. There was always an adventure.
Lone Tree’s mission has always been to use the outdoors to teach biblical principals and share the love of Jesus in all we do. Lone Tree’s philosophy is to build as we have the funds and thus all of our camps are debt free. Over the 35 years since our beginning there have been many, many miracles of God’s provision. When we would get discouraged, and we did, Tim would walk around the property and point out to Char the different items like the well, or the electricity and say look, remember how God provided here, he will continue to do so.
Tim and Charlene Worrell both from NJ, met while attending Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate New York. Tim had the opportunity to attend this camp as an eight-year-old along with several other Christian camps before he reached the age of 13. It was while Tim was at camp, as a young teen, that he dedicated his life to the Lord, and Christian camping had a strong influence on his life. Wanting to be more involved in Camp, Tim then applied for summer staff at the age of 14 and began working at the Word of Life Ranch in the kitchen as an assistant baker. Each summer Tim came back to work at camp and was given additional responsibility until by the age of 18 he held the position of director of summer staff at the Word of Life Ranch. It was during these summers at camp, surrounded by great Bible teaching and Christian fellowship, that Tim attributes to his spiritual growth during those high school years.
Tim and Char were married in 1976 after graduating from the Bible Institute and settled on the Jersey Shore with hopes of starting a business and raising a family. But God had other plans for them. In 1978, their first child was born and after several months of soul searching and prayer, Tim and Char decided to sell everything they had (except their car) and move out west. Here was the opportunity to invest in a ministry that had so impacted Tim’s life. Living on faith and trusting God for literally everything was something new to Tim and Char and very challenging in those early years.
In Tim’s own words
“The early years of starting a new camp in New Mexico from scratch, were years of hard work, sacrifice and living with very little. But they were the foundation years of our faith being tested and strengthened. We were seeing God provide literally every need we had, often in miraculous ways and with incredible timing. Although we had just moved to the new site in August of 1980, we actually hosted our first summer camp the next year in 1981. Seeing God at work in the lives of the young people coming to camp confirmed we were where God wanted us, and made the struggles of those early years well worth it. Now, over 30 years later, it is easy to look back and see God’s hand and provision every step along the way”
Char grew up going to camp every summer as well, but her story is about commitment to Tim, “I did not have the faith like Tim, I worried, he trusted but I prayed. He had a million ideas, I encouraged, let’s focus on one. We made a great team.”
In 2014 Tim went home to be with the Lord. Charlene continues to be actively involved in the daily running of Lone Tree Camps, with the help of our great camp directors.
Our Board of Directors
Tony L. Najar
Elephant Butte, NM