Kimber Lugs-a-Lot here. I’ve been helping Her Momness lug stuff out of the resident black hole. (Mom calls it “the basement.” But it’s really a black hole where things go to vanish. Forever. Poof!)
Anyway, she lugged up this dusty old box. It hadn’t been opened since 1999. Inside? Books! Lots and lots of books!
“Oh, my!” Mom whispered, pulling out a dusty paperback. “I haven’t seen this since 1979!”
I have no idea what that means. But Mom was doing that glistening-eye thing again as she pulled out this book, Jubilee! Autobiography of Hermon Pettit.
Re-reading the remarkable saga of a man of God who devoted his life to intercession, we realized that Hermon Pettit may be the greatest man one of us has never heard of. Till now.
Here’s how and why Hermon’s story intersects ours:
Jubilee! (Bookmates International, Fresno, CA. 1979)
By Hermon Pettit
Back in the Dark Ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth – the late 1970s – Mom served on summer staff at Hume Lake Christian Camps in California. While on staff, Mom met this book’s author, Hermon Pettit. He was 85 years old at the time. As sharp as a tack. As spry as a spring chicken. (Mom made me add that. First, I had to promise not to eat the chicken.)
Hermon was instrumental in founding Mom’s favorite camp in the whole world, Hume Lake Christian Camps. When Mom heard in 1979 that Hermon had recently published his life story, Jubilee! she hightailed it on over to the Hume Lake book store. Bought a copy on the spot. (Why she forgot to get it autographed, I don’t know. Probably cuz I wasn’t around. You know how Mom is.)
Anyway. Mom read Jubilee! over the summer of 1979. Then she put it away. And promptly forgot about it. For 42 years.
42 Years Later…
Mom found it again last week. In the belly of a dust-shrouded box lugged up from the basement.
Jubilee! Is one of the most powerful stories of a life of faith and prayer Mom has ever read.
Often misunderstood, Hermon Pettit never pastored a church larger than 200 members. Despite a broken marriage, ill health, the loss of sight in one eye, and a physical nerve disorder, Hermon’s sole, steadfast focus throughout his life was earnest, expectant intercessory prayer. And when God answered, he answered BIG! And He’s still answering!
Because of the faithful prayers of this man and others, Hermon’s “whole word revival prayer effort,” buttressed by 15 years of steady, believing intercessory prayer, helped launch the Fresno Bible House and a Bible book store, a radio ministry, worldwide missions efforts, and Hume Lake Christian Camps.
- World Vision.
- Far East Broadcasting Company.
- The Navigators.
- Campus Crusade for Christ.
- Young Life.
- Overseas Crusades (re-named “OC International” and now known as “One Challenge.” Turns out OC’s founder, Dick Hillis, was one of the first conference speakers at Hume Lake. He also had ties to Mom’s alma mater. More on that in a min.)
Hermon Pettit prayed for God to launch all of the above.
Back in the 1950s, Hermon and friends also prayed for God to raise up a worldwide evangelist. Along comes Billy Graham…
Mom didn’t realize it when she first read Jubilee, but Hermon even had a tie to her alma mater. In fact, one of the original Hume board members and its first executive director graduated from the same university.
Sometimes the world seems as big as a golf ball.
Fresh & Authentic
The first half of the book is a bit dry. But it picks up steam once the story of how Hume Lake came into being starts to unfold, about halfway through. Written over 40 years ago, some of the language and phrasing may be a bit archaic. But the core message is as fresh and relevant as today’s headlines!
Hermon’s life story is also authentic. He’s honest about his own personal foibles and failings. Doesn’t try to sugar-coat his own mistakes or short-comings. He tells it like it is (was). Mom and I, we like that.
God’s Hand Over Hume
Do you remember the “Rough Fire” of 2015? It burned right up to the Hume property line. But never touched an inch of Hume property. Until she read this book again, Mom didn’t know that the Rough Fire wasn’t the first time Hume Lake was threatened by fire.
In 1955 the Cherry Gap Fire destroyed more than $3M worth of timber in the Hume Lake area. But Hume was spared in response to the prayers of God’s people. “Not one tree was missing from the wooded skyline!” exults Hermon.
God spared Hume again some 60 years later, in the 2015 Rough Fire. It was the second largest wildfire in modern Sierra Nevada history, burning over 151,000 acres. Hume Lake Christian Camps was directly in its path. But once again – just as Hermon and others did in 1955 – God’s people started praying. And not one inch of camp property was touched.
See video at: Rough Fire at Hume Lake Christian Camps.
Today, Hume Lake Christian Camps is a “one of the largest Christian operators of Christian camps and conference centers in the world.”
It all started with one praying man: Hermon Pettit.
I like this guy already. The basement, not so much.
Have you heard of Hume or Hermon Pettit?