Sammy Hudson - Executive Director
It has been such an amazing journey to watch God develop The Refuge alongside my wife and ministry partner, Desta. We have two beautiful girls, Kearston, age 10 and Addie, age 7. In 2008, we stepped out in faith in hopes that God would provide the necessary resources to sustain our family, and also build The Refuge. We are so blessed to have an army of folks praying for us, encouraging us, and helping to support us financially. We are certainly grateful and stand in awe of what God can do through His people. I think the one thing I have learned the most as the Executive Director is that I really don't know very much at all. I have been humbled time and time again by this process and have begun to think that God may be building this place to impact my life most of all. I graduated from Methodist College in 1996 with a degree in business administration. After a short stint as a golf professional I was called into full time ministry. I spent three years as an assistant camp director at Camp Don Lee, and then seven years as the Youth Director at Queen Street UMC where I was introduced to a host of folks who were praying to develop a Christian camp in the heart of eastern NC. Desta, has been my greatest support and prayer warrior ever since we walked into this together. She is a graduate of UNCW with a degree in Marine Biology, and is the heart behind one of our most successful new adventures, the "Connecting The Dots" mission program for elementary students. We are both grateful to be a part of this ministry and would love to meet you on one of our front porches to pray with you and encourage you with the hope that can only be found in Jesus!
Terry Barnes – Camp and Financial Administrator Part-time
Married to a great husband William Harold Barnes, Jr. we have two wonderful grown children April and Stephen and son-in-law Jonathan, two grandchildren, God’s greatest blessings, William Lee and Maylee. We live in Snow Hill and William and I own and operate W.H. Barnes Electric in Kinston, NC. I am a graduate of Mount Olive College and hold a BS in Accounting. Serving God by being a part of The Refuge has truly been a blessing – allow me to tell you how it all started. Years ago a friend from church was heading up the food for Erasing the Lines. I love to cook so she asks if I would head up the meal from our church. I actually do some catering for family and friends so feeding 200 people didn’t scare me, with the help of many church members I had a great time organizing this meal, but what changed my life happened after the meal. Of course we were all invited to stay for worship with the kids and I’m so glad I did. I walk into that auditorium at Rochelle Middle School to teenagers, singing and dancing and praising God as I have never seen before, I felt God’s presents stronger than I have every felt him, I knew he was there and I wanted to be there with him. The next year this same friend ask if I would be the food coordinator for the week, of course I jumped at the chance, a whole week in God’s presence not to mention the love felt from all the kids, the hugs, the “I missed you” from the kids that have come to ETL year after year, but most of all being in the presence of God, you can feel him all around, knowing you are serving him by serving them. The following year as day camps started at The Refuge of course I volunteered to be the food coordinator, the days are often long and hot, and sometimes I have to be the bad guy – “pick up your trash”, “go put your bike helmet on” and “yes those coolers do have to be cleaned with bleach, everyday”, but the rewards are so great, to hear the children laugh and play and learn of Jesus, to see the eyes of the child that has never fished or been in a canoe, to get a hug from an Autistic child who calls you Ms Twisty, as you watch him grow from year to year. I hope one day HE will say “Well done good and faithful servant” but until then I know I am blessed with a little taste of heaven here on earth.
Hunter Poplin - Assistant Director
I am married to Bethany Poplin. I'm a native of Albemarle, NC, I moved to Kinston in February 2012 after living in Atlanta, GA for the last 4 and 1/2 years with my wife Bethany. We have a four legged child named Ruby, who is obsessed with ball. In 2010 I graduated from Liberty Universty with a B.S. in Religion and a Minor in church ministry focusing in youth ministry. I grew up in camp ministry, starting from infancy being part of camp with my mother and having full family involvment. In 2006 I journied to the frozen north of Northern Wisconsin and started working for Honey Rock Camp INC. which was part of Wheaton Universty. There I met my wife Bethany. We married July of 2007. In 2008 we became foster parents and fell in love with the joys of parent hood and living out what God has called us to do in his word. In 2009 we became house parents for Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina Inc. We traveled back and forth from Atalanta every two weeks to be part of that ministry and organization. God called us to Kinston in February and I joined the team here in April.
I look forward to being able to experiece God's creation daily in such an incredible atmosphere. Learning new things, teaching new things, and being able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to campers of all ages, from all races, and all places through the experience The Refuge has to offer. I am blessed to be part of this ministry and I am excited about this new Journey God has for me here at The Refuge.