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Our daughter Mary Evelyn writes a play each year for a cast of homeschooled children. One day last year she was at the public library searching for an idea for her next play when her eyes spotted a book high on a shelf in the biography section. She pulled down Miracle in the Hills. She was captivated by the story and wrote her play with the same title.

Miracle in the Hills is a memoir written by Dr. Mary Martin Sloop. She and her husband, Dr. Eustace Sloop, came to the tiny village of Crossnore in the mountains of North Carolina as missionaries in the early 1900s. They provided medical care and worked to helped the residents in many ways. Dr. Eustace Sloop built a power plant and was instrumental in building a hospital. Dr. Mary Sloop worked to bring education to the mountain children and established Crossnore School in 1913. Now, many years after her death, Crossnore School is a residential facility for eighty children whose parents have let drugs and other problems get in the way of giving their children what they need. This year it is celebrating one hundred years.

Mary Evelyn and her family visited Crossnore during the summer of 2012 before her play was performed in Cookeville, Tennessee, that fall. I came to love the Sloops’ story while working with Mev on Miracle in the Hills. When we found out that our first stop in North Carolina was less than two hours from Crossnore, we called the school to plan a visit.

In the administration building, we read the purpose of the school: The Crossnore School mission is to provide a Christian sanctuary of hope and healing where students in need rise above their circumstances and excel both in school and in life. Come walk around its campus with me.Linville Falls and Crossnore 050

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In the days when Mary Sloop was alive,
a bell was rung in the tower to announce meal time.
Students learned to run to the cafeteria in a hurry,
because five minutes later the doors were locked!
I guess that’s one way to get people to the table!
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Mary Sloop encouraged the women and girls of Crossnore
to revive the Appalachian craft of weaving.
We saw women weaving in the Weaving Room on Monday.
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Dr. Mary Sloop had this chapel built
to honor her husband. Students have
chapel there each Thursday.
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A beautiful labyrinth has been constructed
behind the Weaving Room.
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A campus road sign tells motorists to watch for children.
If only all children in the world
were loved enough to be watched.

We ended our day in Hickory, North Carolina, where we met with homeschooling moms and dads. I later thought about the contrast we had seen on this day. In the morning we saw a large complex which exists to provide care for children whose parents are not providing that care. In the evening we met with people who love their children enough to devote their lives not only to watching them, but to loving and nurturing and training them day after day. I am so proud of all you homeschooling moms in the world.

In the labyrinth was a bench on which were carved these words:

Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk. Psalm 143:8

May God cause each of us to know the way wherein we should walk and may we teach our children to pray the same prayer.



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One comment

  1. Wow! What a beautiful, special place! I’m going to see if I can find that book, “Miracle in the Hills.” Sounds like one I would definitely enjoy reading. 🙂

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