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Mr. Mike leaves behind a legacy of community service

By: Logan Vincent
Freelance Writer

If you were to travel to any elementary school in Johnson County and ask every child there who Mike Whitehouse was, almost none of them could give you an honest answer. If you simply asked the children if they know “Mr. Mike” however, every student would raise their hand. Perhaps no other human being has devoted more time and energy to the Christian and moral education of children in Johnson County than Mike Whitehouse. In fact, on almost every path life has led him down, Whitehouse has proven to be a natural leader and guide in matters of faith time and time again.

Whitehouse served as a C-141 pilot with the United States Air Force for twenty years before the Lord led him and his late wife, Jane, elsewhere. Whitehouse became the director of Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go, a Christian bible camp in Watauga, Tennessee. Christian Bible Ministries, better known as CBM, is the organization that directs the camp. As Whitehouse continued working for the camp, his love of God and passion for teaching His word to children began to grow. Mr. Mike would eventually resign as director for Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go when his wife, Jane, began suffering from health issues. This decision would lead Mr. and Mrs. Whitehouse to Johnson County where they would begin their mission.

Coming to Johnson County has proved to be a vital part of Whitehouse’s life. Through many physical and emotional challenges he has persevered in his mission to bring the word of God to young people across the county. His wife Jane died in 2005 and he has fought a continuing battle with multiple sclerosis since he was diagnosed in 1997. Whitehouse is now wheelchair bound, but his faith has never been stronger. The physical challenges presented by this disability do not deter him from his mission. His work with CBM is more than a testament to this. When asked how many children he has taught since making his home here, Whitehouse simply smiles and states that he cannot give an exact number, although “It’s in the 100,000s,” he believes.

On June 2, a special ceremony was held in Mr. Whitehouse’s honor at Bethany Baptist Church. Mr. Mike is leaving the area for Raleigh, North Carolina and behind him will be many a good friend and young child who will miss his spiritual leadership and all around good humor. The ceremony provided many with an opportunity to speak kind words of farewell and voice their gratitude to this man who has touched so many lives. As the service commenced, prayers were said, kind words were spoken, singing and worship took place, and tears of joy were found to be in abundance.

Many men and women who have worked with Whitehouse came behind the pulpit to share stories of the lessons learned and laughter shared with him over the years. As is customary of CBM meetings for the youth, a bible verse was read and recited by the audience. The verse was Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This verse served as a farewell to Mr. Mike, as did the closing song, Happy Trails to You, made famous by Roy Rogers.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.