What’s New with Kenny and Jennifer?
We have had an exciting, and at times scary, Spring thus far! But, despite a few setbacks, God has continued to bless our family and our ministry. 2019 was the busiest year in the history of Mountaintop Retreat, the camp where we live and serve. Even with a couple weeks where the camp sat empty due to conflict over licensing with the state, we had over 1,200 people come through camp and hear the Gospel, hundreds of whom vowed improvements in their spiritual lives or professed new commitments to Christ. Here at Mountaintop Retreat, the Easton family is helping to make big differences in peoples’ lives and in the community of Montrose, CO.
This past Thanksgiving we were blessed to have the Conners, Eastons, and Pechecos join us at camp for a beautiful meal and wonderful fellowship. We love having visitors! Come spend a week with us in our little mountain town, check out camp, and enjoy the natural beauty of God’s creation on the Western slope of the Colorado Rockies.
This past winter, we hosted our 2nd Annual Christmas Concert. It was a huge success, thanks to about a dozen helpers, singers, instrumentalists, and readers. Almost 100 people attended and everyone there was blessed with carols, food, warmth, and cheer. Consider joining us this year, December 6th, for another afternoon of joy and celebration!
As Spring begins, we are hard at work preparing for another busy season of camps, retreats, reunions, and church meetings. Each day is filled with programming, website building, recruitment, and scheduling, in addition to the usual maintenance around camp. The constantly melting snow turns camp into a mud pit this time of year, making everything a little more challenging. Please, continue to pray for us as we continue to prepare for another season of ministry!
The craziest event, maybe of our lives, but certainly since our move to Colorado, was the break-in and attempted armed robbery we experienced after returning home from a movie in late December.
Here is the account I posted on Facebook:
“This new year I thank God that I am still alive. On Friday, December 27th, my wife Jennifer and I came home to our secluded cabin, which sits on the 36 acre camp at which I, being a missionary, serve as Assistant Director. It was about 7pm, dark and cold with freshly fallen snow. As we drove in, we noticed a set of footprints crossing our driveway and proceeding through the open field. The footprints led up to our door, then around my old truck, then up to a ground floor window. That’s where the prints stopped. I told Jennifer to wait in the car. I have been an Indiana Concealed Carry holder for many years and I nearly always take advantage of my right to bear arms. On that particular night, I was carrying my Smith and Wesson SD9 9mm. I drew my firearm and entered my house through the garage, which was locked. The next room past the garage was the laundry room, which is where my yellow lab and my great Pyrenees mix were. They were clearly agitated. I decided to remain silent and released the dogs into the house. They immediately bolted upstairs and I cautiously followed. At first glance, a few things were out of place upstairs. There was a Savage .270 hunting rifle missing from my gun case and a kitchen knife and open apple juice container on the countertop, among other oddities. I quietly and cautiously checked each room upstairs, each of which was empty. I then crept back downstairs. At the bottom of the staircase on the left is a spare room that I use as an office and studio. I pushed the door open but didn’t enter the room, instead flicking on the light and peaking around the corner into the room. I was immediately looking down the barrel of a semiautomatic pistol. Behind the pistol was a male in his 20s. In an instant, I ducked my head back from the door and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Drop the gun! Drop it now or you’re dead!” or something close to that (most likely with a word or two that I wouldn’t be proud of in hindsight) as I charged into the room, 9mm trained on the man’s chest, slight pressure on the trigger. I don’t know if it was the volume and intensity of my command, my 6’5″ stature, my gun itself, or my confidence in wielding it, but in less than the blink of an eye the man dropped his gun on the bed and began to frantically apologize. I continued my booming commands. “Get out of my house! No, wait. Put your hands on your head!” He complied, with more incessant, crazed apologies. I walked him at a safe distance, always at gunpoint, to the basement bathroom. I told him that if he knows what’s good for him he won’t leave that room. I sprinted the few strides to the open garage door, dogs by my side, and bellowed for Jennifer to call 911. I rushed back only to hear the perpetrator scurrying out the bathroom window, which, little did I know, he had broken to enter the house. I ran as fast as I could, dogs running ahead, out the garage door and saw the man about 25 feet away fleeing down the driveway in the snow. I cut him off and gave him one more chance to surrender, seeing as he was unarmed and bested. “Get down or you’re a dead man.” The man, dressed in camouflage from head to toe, fell to his knees. I ordered, as calmly as I could but breathing heavily, “Put your hands on your head and get on your stomach.” He put his hands on his head and put his face in the snow. I spent the following 20 minutes before the Ouray County Deputy arrived asking the man how and why he did what he did. He was stealing guns, ammo, a tablet, audio equipment, laptop, snow shoes, and other small valuables. He claimed to be running from a drug lord in Michigan who had a hit out on him. I told him he was lucky that neither of us had died that night. I told him that there are good people here in Montrose, and all across this country. I told him, at gunpoint, as he lie face down in the snow and I shivered from the cold and adrenaline, that if he would have rang our doorbell and asked for help, he would have spent the night in a warm bed, with a full stomach, and would have been given any help I could offer him in getting out of the trouble he was in. After our short, and relatively pleasant conversation, given the situation, Sheriff’s deputy Justin Gressman arrived. Officer Gressmen searched, questioned, and arrested the man, securing him in his vehicle before sweeping the house for evidence and other stolen items. We found, in the other downstairs bedroom, a loaded AR15 and other firearms, some of which had been stolen from a neighbor down on Davewood Road. All of the stolen property was recovered. It appears that the perpetrator was squatting in empty hunting cabins near the Uncompahgre National forest, presumably hiding out and burglarizing nearby homes. Friends, secure your homes, check on your neighbors, and monitor your seasonal properties, but above all, be prepared and aware. So, to come full circle, I thank the Lord God, my Savior and protector, for sparing my life, and potentially that of my family, my wonderful wife. I did what I could (with highest praise and thanks to our brilliant forefathers, who saw fit to enshrine our God given right to self-preservation in the 2nd amendment to our Constitution) but I could not stop that man from pulling his trigger. That is on God. There is no doubt in my mind that 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for the Easton family. I am eternally thankful for my exceptional wife, my loving and supportive family, the ministry we have at Mountaintop Retreat, and my beautiful home here in Montrose, Colorado. God bless Smith and Wesson, God bless America, and God bless you and yours in 2020.”
There is more to the story that has happened since I posted the account on Facebook. I reached out to the pastor who runs our local prison ministry and told him about the young man, Kaine, and asked if I could speak to him. I could not, as there is an order of restraint on him against my family and the camp. However, this pastor friend of mine had no such restrictions. He began to minister to Kaine. In the meantime, Kaine’s family reached out to me, a good Christian family, full of problems and hardships like any other. His grandfather thanked me for “not killing my boy.” I teared up. I had not recognized until that moment that God not only stopped Kaine from pulling his trigger but He had also stopped me from pulling mine. God wasn’t done with this young man yet. He isn’t done with me yet either. God used that moment to reaffirm my commitment to ministry.
According to my pastor friend, Kaine accepted Jesus as his Savior while in jail. Today, he is serving community service in Ouray county while going through the court process. He will be returning home to his family in Michigan as soon as the courts allow. As for us, we continue to pray for him and I hope to one day speak to him. Praise God for taking a bad situation and using it for His glory.
One more exciting bit of news, I have been cast as Reb Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at The Magic Circle here in Montrose. I have been rehearsing for a couple months and the show is starting to come together really well. Performances are every weekend in May, now changed to March 2021 due to COVID-19. We would love to have you visit us, see a show, and take in the beautiful wild flowers!
If you want to hear more about what is happening at camp and keep abreast on all the goings on of our family, please check out my podcast, Missionary on the Mountain, anywhere you listen to podcasts, including YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, and more.
Thank you to all of you who support our family monthly and with generous one-time gifts. Your kindness and generosity allowed us to reach well over a thousand people with the Gospel this past year! Thank you for your continued prayers and gifts. You can support our family and ministry directly at https://infaith.org/kenny-jennifer-easton, or you can send support to Mountaintop Retreat, memo Assistant Director Support. We are always praying for you. Send us a message so that we can pray for you more specifically. God bless you and your families in 2020!