By Lacy Hilliard
Mike Whitehouse, or Mr. Mike as he is more commonly known, has made his mark on our community as a leader in the Christian Bible Ministries (CBM) organization as well as through his work as a member of the Johnson County Ministerial Alliance. Struggling though health challenges and the trials associated with being wheelchair bound, Whitehouse has prevailed over all while maintaining an admirable character filled with the nurturing patience of only the greatest of teachers.
After spending 20 years as a pilot in the Air Force, Mike Whitehouse says he and his late wife, Jane, felt the Lord lead them in a new direction. From there, Whitehouse took a job as the director at Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go, a non-denominational bible camp located in Watauga, Tennessee. The camp is under the umbrella of the Christian Bible Ministries organization and CBM also sponsors a mail correspondence program that offers children the opportunity to earn a discount or even a free week at Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go by completing Bible lessons. While working at the camp, he felt his passion for educating children about Gods word grow. During his time at Ta-Pa-Win-Go, his wife became faced with health issues that helped lead Whitehouse to his decision to resign as Ta-Pa-Win-Gos director and begin his mission in Johnson County.
In 1997 Whitehouse was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system. Due to his disease, a wheelchair is his main form of transportation. Whitehouse is candid about the challenges being confined to a wheelchair presents when youre charged with working with children. Keeping up with the abundant energy level children possess is difficult for even the most able-bodied adult, much less one faced with a disability. However, it is not his disability that Whitehouse named as his greatest challenge while working within the ministry but rather his desire to connect with each child enrolled in the program as an individual. Whitehouse feels that by making an effort to get to know each and every child within the program, he will in turn inspire them to realize that God cares about each of them as individuals and that their relationship with God should be the most personal relationship in their young and adult lives. Whitehouse also stated that because of his disability, he has been able to connect with some children on a more personal level. He spoke of his relationship with one local girl that is also confined to a wheelchair. He feels that because he is able to relate to her in a way that most others cannot, his disability has actually worked as an advantage in his mission.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.
By Lacy Hilliard