Category Archives: Behind The Scenes

Saturday Snapshot

Just wrapped up a week of Intensive Bible teaching with Michael Card.  Following are a few behind-the-scenes images we thought you would enjoy.

Michael Card giving banjo lessons to participant June 2014
Michael taking a break from his Bible teaching schedule to give a banjo lesson!
Reflections from participants of Michael Card IBT June 2014
Michael asked the participants from his Intensive Bible Seminar to write something significant they learned and post it to the wall of windows in the auditorium.

Reflections from participants of Michael Card IBT June 2014 2

Interested in attending an Intensive Bible Seminar this summer? Click here for information.

Hispanic Men Hungry To Hear From God Come to The Cove

The Cove-Retiro de Hombres- Spring 2014A pastor of 25 years, Eduardo Jimenez, was going through a difficult time in ministry, and it felt like his world had begun to cave in around him. 

It was 2011 and his wife of 32 years had come to him after having struggled for several months in their marriage. 

“She felt abandoned.  She said I focused more on my ministry than on her,” Eduardo recalls.  She asked him to make a decision. 

“I felt like a little boat in the ocean without direction.  I didn’t know where I was going.”

Eduardo had prayed for a place to get away.  A place where he could step away from the daily distractions and hear from God. 

“I had to make a decision.  I couldn’t wait.” 

He first heard about The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, located in the mountains of Asheville, NC, in the 1990’s while living in Miami, FL, but he never visited.  It was now, living in Raleigh, NC, just four hours from The Cove, that God reminded him of this place of retreat. 

Eduardo called The Cove and booked a Personal Spiritual Retreat. 

He asked his wife to wait for him to go to The Cove and be with God.

His wife, who Eduardo credits with being a very godly woman, said yes.  She told her husband she would wait and pray. 

A few weeks later he made the trip from Raleigh to Asheville.  “When I came to The Cove, I felt the presence of God, from the gate, all throughout the property.” 

With tears in his eyes, Eduardo whispered, “I felt like God was telling me, ‘I am waiting on you.’”

small Meandering road DSC_0096The first day of his retreat, Eduardo stayed in his room and fasted.  At the end of the day, he felt God calling him to the woods.

God told me, “I didn’t bring you to this place to be locked up in a room, I want you outside, in the woods. There I will teach you.”

He spent the following day in the woods from 9 am to 9 pm, walking the trails, meditating on the Scriptures on the prayer pillars and spending time with God.

On his last day Eduardo spent the entire morning and afternoon hiking the 3-1/2 miles to the overlook.  “This time was tremendous,” he said. “There are no words.”

What he experienced at the overlook that day “Was so good, I wanted more.  I told God I will continue to come here to hear from Him.”

Eduardo returned home a different man.  “I was transformed,” he said.   

Since that time, Eduardo has come four times on a Personal Spiritual Retreat. 

On one of these visits, God laid on his heart to invite men from his Hispanic church in Raleigh to come to The Cove with him.  He felt called to bring these men to be with God in the woods.

You can see the passion in Eduardo’s eyes as he shares the birth of this idea, to the planning, to the execution.

“Sometimes with Hispanic families, money is an issue,” he says.

Many of the men work in construction, landscaping and agriculture jobs.  “These are not 9-5 jobs with a paid vacation.  It is hard for them to plan to be away.  Sometimes their bosses will not let them go,” Eduardo’s son Angel explained. 

Despite the obstacles, Eduardo admits, “If God poured this on my heart, I knew He would do something.” 

God provided. 

Leading up to the retreat, church members began putting away $25 a week, as most of them could not afford the expense all at once. Those that were more financially stable and felt lead also gave, in addition to their own, to support those who could not afford to go. 

It all came together and it was clear that God’s mighty hand was blessing this ministry.     

The Cove-Retiro de Hombres- Spring 2014In April, Eduardo and his son brought 12 men to The Cove to spend time with God. The message they wanted to impart to the men was: To be men after God’s own heart and to focus on establishing their identities in Christ.  Acts 13:22 Eduardo acted as their guide and interpreter.  The men spent lots of time (all day) in the woods, they studied God’s Word and shared life stories, they prayed and worshiped in the Chapel and enjoyed a time of fellowship with one another unlike any other they had ever experienced.   

God worked mightily in the lives of these men as they set aside time to be with Him. 

Eduardo says he will bring more men in the future. 

The Cove-Retiro de Hombres- Spring 2014“It all began at the overlook.  God transformed my life there.  And now I have a call to bring more Hispanic men to The Cove.  I know 100% God will talk to them.” 

Eduardo’s prayer is that God will provide the proper tools and support to spread the word about this opportunity for Hispanic men.  He says that there are English speaking churches all over the country that have small Hispanic subset congregations. His hope is that these English speaking pastors will learn about this opportunity and share with Hispanic pastors and their congregations, who may be going through a difficult time as it was in his case.

Eduardo is sure that God will restore their hearts and will give them a fresh vision to continue to do God’s will in their lives. Psalm 37:23

If you would like more information on future Hispanic retreats like this, you may contact them directly here:
(919)  602-8403
Twitter: @TheCoveHispanic


Click here to visit The Cove website.

Saturday Snapshot

Planes, trains and automobiles….and now, bicycles. 

People come to The Cove from all over the world.  Most of them arrive in some fashion powered by an engine.

This week, we greeted a guest as he pedaled up on his bicycle!

He rode from Greenville, SC to Asheville, in which most of the ride was uphill.  The good news is that the ride home should be a breeze!

Several years ago, we had a visitor ride all the way from California. Now that’s a commitment!

Do you ride? What is the longest distance you have tackled?

Guest Group participant who rode from Greenville SC to Asheville NC May 28 2014

We would love to have you come for a visit. Click here to visit our website.

When Life Loses Its Color

Remember in your yearbook superlative section, where it listed the most likely to be President, cutest couple, class clown, etc.?

Do you ever feel like you could have been titled the most unlikely to be used by God? 

Ann Barrows approved for 2014 use smallThis week Ann Barrows, wife of longtime friend and ministry partner of Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, spoke to a group of Senior Adults during the 3-day Senior Celebration.  In a workshop entitled “When Life Loses Its Color,” Ann examined how God uses the humbling experience of getting older to prepare us for Kingdom living.

She assured the group, “As long as there is life and breath in you, there is something God has for you!”    

Ann shared the truths that God has taught her through the “colorless days” and calamities of her life. 

Prior to marrying Cliff, Ann was married to her first husband, James Prince, who died of cancer after 34 years of marriage. 

“Life lost its color when he died,” Ann says.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!  For my soul trusts in You;  and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.  Psalm 57:1

She recounted the day James told her, 4-weeks before he died, that he prayed God would bring someone very special into her life.  Hearing this broke her heart.  She couldn’t imagine losing her husband, much less marrying someone else. 

Today, Ann gives thanks for this gift her dying husband gave her that day.

Just months prior to losing her husband, Ann was introduced to Billie Barrows, Cliff Barrows’ then wife, by a mutual friend.  Ann was able to minister to Billie in a special way through her bout with cancer.  On their first phone conversation, Ann asked Billie is she could pray for her right there on the spot.  Thus a beautiful friendship began.  “God knit our hearts together,” Ann said.  “We had cancer in common.  We became great friends.” 

Their friendship, initially only over the phone, grew.  They first met face to face at Ann’s husband’s funeral.  Billie lost her fight to cancer 1 year and 4 months later. 

After Billie’s death, Cliff told Ann, “Someday we need to sit down and have a long talk.” 

Ann smiles as she remembers receiving a call at 2 a.m. one morning, some time later.  Cliff was on the other end of the line, calling while ministering at a Crusade in Puerto Rico. He asked Ann for permission to see her.

The day Cliff visited Ann’s home, they stood in the hallway for 45 minutes just looking at one another.  “There were tears. Lots of tears,” Ann remembers.

Cliff told Ann that he felt the Lord did not want him to be alone any longer.  He felt the Lord wanted them to be together. 

The next day, Cliff asked Ann to marry him.  God had confirmed in both their hearts that this was of His doing. 

“You might wonder how I could marry someone I barely knew.  I learned more about Cliff through my friend Billie than most people know about the mate they chose to marry in an ordinary circumstance.” 

“Billie had told me of Cliff’s servant’s heart, his unconditional love and commitment to her.”  Ann knew he was a good and godly man. 

cliff and ann barrows at the coveAnn and Cliff have been married 19 years in June, blessed with a large family with 53 members.  “We have been through just about everything in our family.  There are no exemptions just because my husband is Cliff Barrows.” 

God had a plan much greater than either Cliff or Ann Barrows could have imagined.

Ann reminds us of the calamities that Naomi from the Book of Ruth went through.  Famine forced Naomi and her family to leave their home in Bethlehem, the “City of Bread,” only to enter Moab, the “City of Incest,” where her husband and both their sons died.

It became a “colorless day” for Naomi.

“When you become a widow, it is easy to feel like life is over,” Ann shared.

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, one of her Moabite daughter-in-laws, would either of these women have felt like there was much left for them? 

God’s plan for both Naomi and Ruth was much greater than either could have imagined.

Ruth married Boaz, the son of Rahab the harlot. 

Don’t you imagine these two would have been voted least likely to be part of a Royal lineage?   

Yet in the New Testament account of Christ’s birth, Matthew tell us that our Savior Jesus Christ comes from the line of Boaz and Ruth.

God had a plan much greater than either Boaz or Ruth could have imagined.  He was not done with them yet!

And had it not been for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz would not have met. 

God’s plan for Naomi was much greater than she could have imagined.  He was not done with her yet!

God in His sovereignty is at a work in your life in a mighty way right now.  He has a work for each of us to do. 

“Does God have remarriage for every woman?  No,” she explained, while Naomi was to remain single, Ruth was to remarry.  Naomi was no less blessed of God because she did not remarry. 

Each of us is precious is His sight. 

Ann directed us to Habakkuk 1:5 for another example of God’s awesome works and sovereignty.

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

If we watch, God will amaze us time and time again. 

Ann noted, that during trials we often ask the Lord why or for how long, our suffering will continue. 

She encouraged us to keep our focus fixed on God at all times, reminding us that when we focus on our circumstances, we tend to fall apart.

Staying focused of God can be hard to do when the circumstances are controlling our feelings, Ann acknowledged, but our feelings don’t always tell us the truth. 

Her advice?  Run to the strong tower in your day of calamity, and God will give you the “peace that surpasses all understanding” and grace that endures.

Habbakkuk’s response to the calamity of his time was to rejoice in the God of his salvation and to give thanks in all things.  

Have you learned how to embrace your calamities?

Ann encourages us to grow and be strong and share with other people the reason for our hope and how God has brought us through many things.

God’s plans for us are much greater than we could ever imagine, and He often uses the “least likelys” to carry out His plans. 

If life has lost its color for you, take heart—God is not finished with you yet!______________________________ 

Would you like to attend a Senior Celebration with Cliff Barrows?  Click here for information and to register.

Recipe from Cove’s Kitchen — Carrot Apple Ginger Juice & Pink Lemonade

IMG_3209Mom was right when she told us to “eat our vegetables!” but now we can drink them too!

Cove Sous Chef, Hallie Saunders has a passion for sharing the healing properties of various foods, mainly whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Hallie is a cancer survivor and knows a thing or two about healing your body with the very food that we put in our bodies.  

When asked why she loves juicing so much, she tells us, “Juice is one of the most powerful whole foods that you can put in your body.  It takes very little energy to digest, so you maintain almost all of the energy and nutrients that it gives.”

Hallie offers these four important facts about juicing: 

  • Juicing can help prevent cancer and heart disease
  • Juicing can boost immunity
  • Juicing cleanses the body of toxins
  • Juicing treats a variety of diseases from anemia and constipation to arthritis

Watch here as Hallie shows you how to prepare two delicious juice recipes, Carrot Apple Ginger Juice and  Pink Lemonade juice.  Both with ZERO sugar and just three ingredients each. 



Carrot Apple Ginger Juice 
5 medium carrots
2 apples
1/4 inch piece of ginger
Feed all ingredients through juicer and enjoy!
Yields: 8oz

Pink Lemonade 
4 to 5 small apples
1/4 of lemon with rind on
1/4 inch piece of beet
Feed all ingredients through juicer and enjoy!
Yields: 8oz

Don’t have a juicer?  Most any juicer will work, but Hallie recommends the Champion Juicer.  

We want to hear what you thought of these juices.  Which was your favorite? 

Please share in the comments section below. 

We would love to see you in person!  Visit to see what’s going on at The Cove.

Recipe from The Cove Kitchen: Apple Delight Wrap & Whipped Parsnips

Jan 23 2014 shoot Doug and Hallie 3We receive rave reviews about the food that comes out of The Cove’s kitchen, and if you’ve had the opportunity to dine with us, you know why.

Not only is the food delicious, but the recipes, 99% made from scratch, are healthy. 

Watch here as Executive Chef Douglas Walls and Sous Chef Hallie Saunders share a delightful and healthy Apple Delight Wrap recipe and whipped parsnip side dish. 

Apple Delight Wrap
(Serving Size: 1 Wrap)

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup chopped purple cabbage
2 Tbsp. of mixed nuts (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds or other nuts of your choice)
1/4 cup of cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped apples

1/4 cup Hummus
Drizzle of Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Combine 1 Tbsp. of Apple Cider, 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil, 1 Tbsp. of Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. Honey)

Chop vegetables by hand or in a food processor. 
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and place in a tortilla wrap of your choice, roll and slice in half and enjoy.

Whipped Parsnips
(Serving Size: 1)

2 parsnips (peeled & roughed chopped, boil down until they are soft)
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of Heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve with the apple delight wrap. 
Garnish with chopped scallions.

Plan a trip to The Cove!  See what’s happening here.

Children Sharing the Love of Jesus With Children A World Away

What happens when three best friends, all under the age of 12, set a goal to share the love of Christ with 100 children from around the world?

God’s Spirit moves mightily.

The idea came to them last year when Lydia (age 10), Hope (age 11) and Emma (age 11) who live in Marion, NC were packing a few Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, as they had done for many years. 

The girls decided that for Christmas 2013, they wanted to pack 100 boxes. 

100 boxes!  No small feat by any measure.

So the planning began.

They began raising funds for the contents of the boxes early in March. 

How did they raise the money?  The old-fashioned way, of course…

Yard sales, lemonade stands, showing an outdoor movie on a sheet, making Duct Tape wallets and bows to sell, and going door to door asking for donations.  

And then the fun part…time to shop!

photo 5Each box contained a stuffed animal, notebook, coloring book, pencils, jump rope, bandana, washcloth, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues and other fun items they thought the children receiving would enjoy.

On November 22nd, they loaded up the truck and headed to The Cove, one of Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection locations, to drop off their boxes.  Hope and Lydia had dropped off their boxes at The Cove last year and said that the experience was wonderful, so they decided to go back this year. 

photo 3Harold was the volunteer at The Cove the day the girls came by.  Harold has witnessed a lot in his days, but seeing these girls with such beautiful hearts for the Lord brought him to tears.  Before the girls left, he asked if he could pray over the boxes.  He not only prayed for the children who would receive the boxes, but he thanked God for the children who made it all happen.

You may be wondering if the girls have a plan for next year.  Yes, they do!  They plan to pack another 100 boxes and raise enough money this time to cover the shipping fees for the boxes as well. 

Watch here as the girls tell what they enjoyed most about packing the boxes.

It’s not too early to start thinking about packing your boxes for next year.  Visit the Operation Christmas Child website here for more information.    

Korean Worship at The Cove

Korean Worship August 1 2013Have you experienced Korean worship? 

If you have not, it is a treat like no other!

We had a wonderful group staying at The Cove this week who were here to focus on prayer, evangelism and Bible teaching.

A benefit of working at The Cove is that our staff witness beautiful moments of worship shared by the groups meeting here.       

All the words sung by this group were Korean, but it didn’t matter if our staff was able to understand the language or not, the Holy Spirit filled the room, and THAT was felt by all!

Watch and listen here as voices and hearts were lifted in worship to our Almighty God. 

If you would like to bring your church or other Christian ministry group to The Cove, call 1-800-950-2092 or click here

Behind the Scenes: Goats at The Cove

We are excited to introduce you to two of The Cove’s newest employees! 

Meet Zeke and Bill E.Goat.

zeke standing

These two, plus 16 other goats, have been hired to eradicate kudzu, an invasive weed, that is taking over a steep hillside at The Cove. 

Kudzu will grow over anything in its path (other plants, buildings, road signs) and eventually kill other plants it covers because it blocks out sunlight.

Zeke, our canine employee, is half Kangal and half Great Pyrenees. He is the protector of the goat herd.  He is a gentle lad and appears to enjoy his job.   

Bill E. Goat and his fellow goat co-workers are a cross between Boer and Kiko.  They enjoy eating vegetation such as kudzu, all the while, leaving behind “fertilizer” for the soil.  It’s a very eco-friendly way of working. 


Curious as to how this all works?

It’s quite an interesting process! 

1.  Site is prepared during the winter months for containing the goats by fence. — Our goats will graze on 1.2 acres during their term of employment.

2.  Goats and their canine protector are delivered to the job site in the summer when the foliage is plentiful, for an agreed upon time. — Our goats are due to complete their first “grazing” after one month.

3.  Goats return home or to another job site for a couple of months.

4.  Goats return to site for second “grazing” period.

5.  Now the site should be manageable enough to plant grass seed and/or let the natural weeds grow. 

6.  Goats are praised for their good work and sent home, hopefully never to return again.     

Another way to eradicate kudzu….make kudzu jelly!  We hear it is delicious.

Behind The Scenes…Through the Lens

Have you ever met someone and wondered what they are like outside of work or away from the usual setting in which you see them?

When you come to The Cove, you are sure to be greeted by staff members with smiling faces that reflect what is deep inside each of their hearts…a love for the work to which God has called them.They are called to serve you, so that you are free to hear from HIM while at The Cove. 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as
good stewards of God’s varied grace
.” 1 Peter 4:10

A call to serve. Now, that’s a beautiful thing. But, maybe there’s more than meets the eye. Let us introduce one of those smiling faces to you today – Patty Smith. 

Patty works in our Housekeeping department. What most people do not know is that she has a passion and a gift for photography…and serving at The Cove. The photographs below are from Patty’s personal collection, captured right here on property.  Enjoy!

How long have you worked at The Cove and what brought you here?
Patty: “I have worked at The Cove for ten-years. I began as a housekeeper. For the last six-years, I have been a housekeeping supervisor and also help with front desk and other lodging duties. I married right after high school and had my first child a year later. I started college but quit to raise my son and later my daughter, as well. I was blessed to be able to stay at home for many years and homeschool my children. But, there came a day when I thought I should help with the finances. I wasn’t actively looking for a job but was praying and thinking about it. One day a new member of the church I was attending, who knew nothing about me, asked if I needed a job and told me she just started working as a housekeeper at The Cove. I felt good about it so I applied and was hired.”

How did you first start taking photographs?
Patty: “I wanted to be a photographer when I was ten-years old. I was not encouraged to become anything in my home growing up. The goal for my stepfather was to get me and my sister to the obligatory age of 18 and out of the house. I never stopped wanting to take photographs, but had very little resources since I was married right after high school and did not have the finances to do very much. In the last few years I have been able to pursue the dream that all but died. I am working on a degree in Fine Art with a concentration on photography right now in my 40s!”


How and when do you take photographs at the Cove?
Patty: “One of the hardest lessons I have learned as a photographer happened at the Cove one morning. I was coming down the cabin road around 7 a.m. when two very large bucks tumbled down the bank right in front of me and continued the fight that had obviously began up the mountain side. They locked horns and pushed one another furiously for about five-minutes in the road, right in front of me. I sat in my car, headlights on them, and watched; lamenting the fact that I did not have my camera or even my cell phone. That particular moment is recorded only in my mind. So now, except for rare occasions, I keep my camera in my car. Most photos I have taken are spur-of-the-moment. You can’t plan to drive around the curve and find a mama bear and her two cubs playing on a cabin porch. There are other times when I am working and I might see a particular flower, tree, or block of color and patterns that I think I want to capture. I remember those places and when I have a free moment I get my camera and take a picture. I have driven around the Cove property, after work, in the spring and fall or on a rainy day when the colors and the surprises found from just looking a little closer, tug at me. God is an artist. Our grounds maintenance crew also have an artistic vision. I am amazed some days, when I really look, how beautiful The Cove is.”

What is your favorite part of working here?
Patty: “The job I have is physically demanding and some days I feel like I just can’t make it another day. But, I am surrounded by very precious ladies in the housekeeping department who pray for me and encourage me. When it gets a little bit hard something tends to happen to remind me that we make a difference, even in our small way. One of those moments happened just recently when a deployed military participant checked in and said he was overwhelmed by the beauty of The Cove. He said he was almost in tears as he drove up the road. In his words, “I have served 2 tours in Iraq and I get to come here.” His attitude and appreciation made my tiredness fade a little. People like this make every hard task a little easier to bear.”

Do you have a favorite Cove story?
Patty: “There are many stories that fill the years and I don’t really have one that stands out among them. I have had the privilege of meeting Billy Graham and escorting several speakers to their cabins. I have been blessed when helping Cliff Barrows by his genuine concern for me personally. On that same note, Steve Brown blessed me just recently when I called him to check on a problem with his wireless internet connection in his cabin and he asked if I slept well the night before because he had prayed for me personally. When you feel insignificant and small in the great scheme of things going on and plans being made, these moments are life-affirming and appreciated. I think it is the sum of these small moments that create the big story.”

We all feel blessed to work at such a beautiful place and serve people like you! We hope to see you at The Cove soon.