By Mark Williams


Each year as the weather changes, the nights get shorter, the leaves trade in their verdant hues for shades of crimson and gold, I sit back on my porch and reflect upon what joys I’ve experienced over the past…who’m I kidding, it’s when we get ready for MUD weekends!  Fall is when we brace ourselves for the impending flood of hundreds of Middle School and High School students eager to have the best weekend of their young lives!  Laurelville, in true Mennonite fashion, is the most hospitable place that we have found to host these events and so we’ve been doing it in concert with their staff for the past 50+ years!  Students, many unchurched, are taken from their busy urban and suburban lives and placed in the middle of the beautiful Laurel Highlands.  The change of scenery, pace, and influence is literally a breathe of fresh air, and figuratively a breath of hope, joy, and peace.  We plan ridiculous activities, challenging and motivating talks and seminars, and provide space for students and leaders to engage in corporate and individual worship and bible study.  The gospel is presented in a relevant and fresh way and lives are inevitably changed.  I can’t thank the staff and members of Laurelville enough for their commitment to partnering with us to spread the Gospel in such a tangible and meaningful way.


Explore the possibilities at Laurelville a Christian Retreat Center in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Mark Williams is the Director of Urban Ministry for the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation.