MacKenzie Family Welcomes a Precious New Life
Easton Graham MacKenzie arrived on January 13th, 2020, son of Mike and Kari and brother to Dylan.
He is doing well. We are so blessed!
A Life Well Lived: Tribute to Dr. Byrn Williamson
Dr. Byrn Williamson, one of three original board members, is now in the presence of His Lord and Savior. He was a loving husband to Anita for 54 years, a father, a grandfather, a Mayo Clinic radiologist, and a faithful follower of Christ. We are grateful to God for Byrn’s selfless commitment to this ministry from its inception.
Melissa McBurney, co-founder of Marble Retreat, shared these words: “Byrn Williamson was an essential gift from God to Marble Retreat. Byrn knew all the practical ways to run an organization ethically and effectively. He was the perfect secretary for our meetings and always had information at his fingertips that we needed. He was gifted in numerous ways but the most memorable to me was his
faithfulness to the Lord, to Anita, to his children, to his integrity and to Marble Retreat. Thank you, Lord, for Byrn.” Dr. Scott Middleton, chairman of the board for much of Byrn’s time of service, added these words: “Byrn’s support for what Marble Retreat was offering to stressed servants of the Lord was always evident. He operated from the foundational base of Truth and God-given wisdom. From our original meeting, his thoughts were often a plum-line for us.”
We remember Byrn with gratitude for his life of service and contribution to the ministry of Marble Retreat.
45th Anniversary Celebration
In early October, following a semi-annual board meeting, Marble Retreat held their 45th Anniversary Celebration Event at Fellowship Bible Church in Colorado Springs. It featured Danny Oertli, singer, songwriter and author, leading in worship and several alumni giving their testimonies of how Marble Retreat impacted their lives. All three generations of directors were represented with Melissa McBurney, Steve and Patti Cappa, and Mike and Kari MacKenzie all sharing from their experiences of serving and leading the Marble Retreat ministry over the years. It was a great evening of fellowship, worship, gratitude, and celebration of what God has done through this ministry for Christian leaders over the past 45 years. Praise God!
Celebrating 45 Years! Serving Christian Leaders Since 1974
The ministry of Marble Retreat is 45 years old! In 1974, Mayo clinic trained psychiatrist Louis McBurney, M.D. and his wife, Melissa were led by God to the mountains of Marble, Colorado to build a place for Christian leaders to come for healing, hope, and restoration through Christ-centered brief intensive counseling. Louis kept a journal capturing the joys and struggles of the early years. Nearly three years in, after many challenges, he described what was happening at Marble Retreat with these words, “There has been so much activity at the Retreat and in our ministry. The Lord is opening doors and pouring out His blessings.” Louis’ words capture well the 45 years of Marble Retreat.
In 2003, Steven Cappa, Psy. D., and his wife Patti Cappa, LMFT, CAC II, relocated from Denver to take over as directors and co-therapists of Marble Retreat. A decade later in 2013, the baton was passed to Mike MacKenzie, D.Min., and his wife Kari MacKenzie, D.Min., who continue to serve as the current directors and co-therapists of Marble Retreat today.
Evolving from a call from God and limited resources, Marble Retreat has grown to be an internationally recognized counseling program. Over 4700 Christian leaders have been served from every state and more than 60 countries, positively impacting them, their families, ministries and communities.
Captured in the words of those who have benefitted from this ministry:
“It was 15 years ago this past March that my wife and I drove up the driveway somewhat nervous, no -very nervous, about what lay before us. Now, 15 years later, we enjoy a rich relationship, and we have celebrated 26 years of marriage. A great big thank you for loving and guiding us in a time when things were very shaky! The work wasn’t done for us, but the foundation was laid for us to be able to move forward in a healthy way. The following year on our anniversary, my wife presented me with one of the greatest gifts ever – a new wedding band to signify how dramatically our relationship had changed. We have often said to other couples that we have had two marriages, the first 11 years and the last 15. Thank you for all that you did and are doing to help ministry couples receive what they so desperately need. This coming November we will be celebrating 25 years in the ministry. There is no doubt in my mind that, if we hadn’t gone to Marble when we did, that would not be the case and, likely, our marriage would not have survived. May you continue to know God’s blessing as you minister His love, grace and wisdom to those who come to Marble Retreat.”
“We were at the lowest point of a 15-year marriage. Marriage counseling hadn’t proved effective. Marble Retreat breathed redeeming air into a stressed marriage. With less time spent on endlessly, unfruitful discussion about our marriage, we spent more time discipling others in ministry. Marble Retreat, through its ministry to us, affected the world.”
“I think of Marble often and am continually grateful. I am in so much of a healthier place and I truly believe Marble was the catalyst of a significant change in my life. Thank you for all you do… it really matters!”
“My wife and I spent two weeks at Marble Retreat in December of 2000. Sixteen years later I still reflect upon our experience there with gratitude. It was a lifesaver. I was at an extremely low point in my life, and because of Marble I recovered and am still in ministry today. My wife and I still maintain a friendship with two of the three couples who were there with us. So I owe a lot to Marble Retreat.”
“Attending Marble was the initiation of a journey into the deep reservoirs of God’s grace that I am still on today. (The staff) were tangible expressions of God’s love, truth, and mercy…I have never been with people who were more compassionate, caring, and Christ-like.”
“The church is stoked to see our new passion for ministry. We reflect on our time at Marble constantly. We are very grateful for the help you gave us. We are increasingly aware of the way that pastors don’t look after themselves and often fall into making poor life-destroying choices. We are so glad our church council recognized the value of counseling, stopping and recharging before anything like this happened.”
The Blessing of a Scholarship
Recently we raised scholarship funds to help a ministry couple in great need of financial assistance attend Marble Retreat. Months after participating in a session, they wrote this letter to thank the donors who gave to the scholarship fund which made it possible for them to come.
We wanted to write and thank you for your service and the ministry of Marble Retreat. We will be ever grateful for our time at Marble and we can’t thank you, and the givers, enough for the scholarship. It has made a great difference in our lives. We were so blessed that we want to give back to the scholarship fund, so others can be blessed as we were.
It was well worth the wait and will be a blessing for our lifetime. God also worked out the group, as we hit it off with each other very quickly. We were able to minister to each other while at Marble, have stayed in touch, and are planning to have a reunion next year.
As far as the counseling itself, we were very blessed by the model of group counseling along with private counseling. Most of all, we felt safe to share our struggles, as did the other three couples. I would venture to say that the four men in our group had never shared like that in our entire lives. I know it is true for me, but the Lord’s presence was at Marble Retreat and He opened our hearts to be able to receive counsel and healing.
We cannot say enough nice things about Drs. Mike and Kari or about how professional they were. They were exemplary listeners and gave us solid, godly advice, while helping us see things that helped us in our marriage. We would recommend Drs. Mike and Kari and Marble Retreat to anyone that would like to help their marriage or family be better.
I would like to add to have 10 days away from all outside interactions was a key to the rest & renewal we needed. Everything about our experience was positive & will last a lifetime. I thank both Mike & Kari for speaking into our lives as we seek to serve the Lord.
We have continued with the great counsel we received. Thank you for everything!!! Also, to have our meals prepared by Bob was an amazing part of our time at Marble Retreat. Bob and Lisa were just the most gracious people.
We pray the Lord’s continued blessings upon Marble and thank you again for the scholarship which made it possible for us to attend.
We were blessed to be able to give $71,600 in scholarship assistance this fiscal year, thanks to the generosity of supporters like yourself. The Marble Retreat scholarship fund is an invaluable part of making it possible for those in ministry to attend one of our sessions and receive the emotional help they need. If you are looking for a way to support a Christian leader in need, our scholarship fund is a great way to give back to these sacrificial servants who have such Kingdom impact.
Welcome New Staff Member
We are excited to welcome Cheryl Yarrow back to our Marble Retreat family! Cheryl moved across country from Washington, DC to join the Marble staff in 1995 and served alongside founders Louis and Melissa McBurney as hostess in the retreat lodge. After seven years of ministering in a variety of capacities, including using her administrative gifts, Cheryl “retired” to focus on her growing family – husband Daryl and two beautiful daughters. Sixteen years later, our staff and board are blessed to welcome her back to the team in yet another capacity, Office Manager. “It’s like returning home,” Cheryl has noted time and again. We are grateful for God’s hand in directing her path back to Marble Retreat. Cheryl’s daughters are currently in high school, so as the family moves into new seasons in the coming years, she is grateful to be moving into a new season with Marble Retreat. Welcome back, Cheryl!
Update on the Capital Campaign
As you may remember, we have been working on raising the funds to purchase the private home adjacent to the retreat lodge. Thanks to donors like yourself, God has provided $113,820 towards this goal! The Marble Retreat board of directors met recently and re-affirmed their commitment to this capital campaign. The Cappas, former directors and owners of this home, have decided to hold off on putting the house on the market at this time in order to give Marble Retreat more time to raise the funds for the shared goal of keeping the Marble Retreat campus intact and expand the ministry.
By purchasing this home, Marble Retreat will be in a position to both broaden our ministry and take necessary steps to ensure a peaceful haven for all who come seeking refuge and restoration. Preserving this peaceful sanctuary will allow us to continue to provide the quiet, anonymity, and beauty our clients love and appreciate. In addition, turning this home into a ministry center would allow us to host larger staff retreats, couple’s retreats, spiritual formation retreats and more.
We are currently applying for several grants to cover the remaining balance needed to purchase the adjacent property. Please pray for these foundations to capture a heart for what we do at Marble Retreat and for favorable outcomes.
Trey Morris – Our Newest Board Member
Trey Morris has spent 20+ years in the world of broadcasting and advertising. Born and raised in Dallas, he spent the first 10 years managing radio stations in Dallas and Chicago. While in Chicago, he branched out and ran a full-service advertising agency that specialized in developers and home specialty retailers. In 2008, when the housing market imploded, he jumped back into radio. Over the next 5 years, he launched 3 startup businesses, including his favorite, Q BBQ. Q BBQ is Michelin award-winning barbecue restaurant with 5 locations in the Chicago area.
In 2013, he left the business world for the ministry world. He joined the ministry of Pastor James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word. As Executive Producer, Trey oversaw his radio ministry and created Walk in the Word Television that airs on TBN worldwide six days a week. In 2015, Trey felt the calling of Texas and moved the family back to North Texas, where he is currently the Chief Marketing Officer for the Boenker Group of Companies, a family-owned insurance holding company. Trey has been married for 22 years to Rebecca, his Baylor sweetheart, and father to Haley (17) and Jordan (13). In his spare time, Trey serves as the video director at Milestone Church in Keller, Texas.
The Ripple Effect
One of the blessings of the Marble Retreat ministry is having the privilege of seeing God impact the impactors. We know that when a leader is healthy their positive impact will be evident in their marriage, family, community, and ministry. Here is a recent testimony from an alum couple who came to Marble Retreat 25 years ago and because they found healing, their impact on the Kingdom was multiplied.
In their words,
“We were at the lowest point of a 15 year marriage punctuated by wonderful moments but many marriage stressing lows. Marriage counseling hadn’t proved effective. Now we found ourselves at odds with one another and having difficulty being parents and pastoring.
A dear friend agreed to serve as a listening ear encouraging us to come to a truce in this recent conflict. Realizing he was out of his league, he discovered Marble Retreat and encouraged us to attend. The suggestion proved marriage and ministry changing.
Marble Retreat breathed redeeming air into a stressed marriage. The care shown to us by the beautiful setting and hospitable hosting set the stage for participating in the counseling.
Lewis and Melissa McBurney, wise counselors, shared wisdom and insight borne not just from Lewis’s psychiatric training but years of a fruitful marriage. Counseling took place during group and individual times. The group time produced insights into our own marriage through the experience of others. These observations made individual counseling incredibly effective. We left gaining marriage-changing breakthroughs helping us understand why we had been minimally able to resolve our deep marital problems.
With less time spent on endlessly, unfruitful discussion about our marriage, we spent more time discipling others in ministry. Time spent on a young adult produced a man who led a well-respected international ministry to young adults. Time spent on a doctor just entering practice led to a medical mission successfully changing the Aids epidemic in Malawi. Time spent with a visionary led to a mission serving orphans in war-torn Sierra Leone. The original children served by this mission have grown up and include medical doctors, college graduates as well as ordinary adults whose future had been changed.
Seeing the marital value of Marble encouraged us to send others to Marble. A young life couple continued in ministry. A pastoral couple became more fruitful.
Marble Retreat, through its ministry to us, affected the world.”
Your support of Marble Retreat has a ripple effect that positively impacts the world. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of Christian Leaders.
Thank you to our wonderful volunteers!
“We took out a second mortgage on our house.”
“I left my well-paying job to go into ministry.”
“We dipped into our retirement funds.”
“We agreed to a 1/3 reduction in pay.”
“We sold everything we had in a yard sale and left for Africa.”
These are just a handful of the sacrifices we have heard that pastors and missionaries have made for their ministries, for helping someone in need, and for reaching the lost. Many of them never knew the “unthinkable” would happen; they would lose their ministry position, the organization would pull out of that country, they would get cancer, their child would be diagnosed with a debilitating disability, they would lose their spouse, or any other life changing tragedy would hit.
When Marble Retreat began, the heartbeat of the ministry was to give back to those in full-time ministry who are out there giving so much. We have always understood that the population we serve may be under paid for the sacrifices they are making to serve God’s Kingdom. Therefore, we have always had the policy that Marble Retreat would not let financial need get in the way of someone who needs to come. This has meant we offer discounts to those who desperately need our services but can’t afford it. Over the years we have placed high priority on raising scholarship funds and have done it through fund-raising events, applying for grants, and appealing to churches and individuals. The amount we raise and the amount we need both fluctuate, making it a little unpredictable.
This year we have had many Christian leaders attend our retreats who need considerable scholarship help. This has exhausted our scholarship fund. We continue to give scholarships because we believe the investment in a pastor, missionary, pastoral couple, or Christian Leader is worth it and we trust God will provide.
The bottom line is that we have given $26,580 more than what we have in our scholarship fund.
If you can help in any way to give back to those who have given so much for others, you can donate on the Donate page or by clicking the button below. We hope to raise this $26,580 and more for our scholarship fund so we can continue to assist those who are leading the church forward in our world. Thank you.
The Blessing of Scholarship
“After a difficult season in ministry, my wife and I sensed a need to receive input and regain perspective. As we were researching ministry resources, we learned about Marble Retreat. Later, a ministry couple we deeply respect shared with us that they had been greatly blessed by the ministry of Marble Retreat, and encouraged us to go. When we called for more information it became clear that, without a scholarship, attending would be financially out of our reach. Thankfully, through someone’s loving sacrifice and generosity there were scholarship funds available to help subsidize our registration.
Let me share a little bit of how we were blessed. We arrived at Marble, questioning if we should continue in pastoral ministry; questioning our ability to continue leading and feeling like we had somehow failed. We left Marble affirmed in our calling, knowing we are loved, and with a renewed capacity for loving and leading our congregation.
Welcome to a New Board Member
In March we were blessed to welcome a new board member to our team. Larry Dupper has been the Chief Financial Officer for Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colorado since 1998. Previous positions in Mr. Dupper’s healthcare career include CEO, CFO, and Corporate Regional Finance Director primarily in Colorado and Missouri. Mr. Dupper has been in healthcare administration since 1975.
Mr. Dupper and his wife Pam are the parents of four children. The family enjoys skiing, backpacking, kayaking, Jeeping, and most recently snowmobiling in Colorado and Utah. A native of Colorado, Mr. Dupper has also been a board member of various business, community and religious organizations. Mr. Dupper is currently the President, Board of Directors of the Western Healthcare Alliance, and Chairman of the Board of The Colorado Network (both healthcare non-profit organizations).