International Houseparty is an annual event that has been taking place for more than 40 years, most of those years at the same location in Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula. It's a unique time for people from all over the world to form life-long friendships as we laugh, play, and try new activities together...share meals and our unique perspectives on life...and explore the core themes of the Christian Bible.
During the 1970s, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s Cedar Campus retreat center in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan began hosting house parties (modeled after similar events that had taken place in other locations since at least 1953) every year over New Year's and sometimes hosted a second event over Christmas. When Intervarsity stepped away from facility ownership in 2019, a core group remained committed to continue this unique event.
After a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and holding the event at an alternate location in lower Michigan in 2021…for 2022 we returned the International Winter Houseparty to its home in the Upper Peninsula. The facility there has changed management and is now known as Cedar Bay. We are excited to bring together some long-time Houseparty organizers and new Cedar Bay staff in partnership to continue this tradition in 2023!
Over the years, groups from all over the Great Lakes region and as far away as St. Loius, MO, have contributed to make Houseparty what it is. Our current core team that helps plan and pull off the event include:
Jesse and Kristen Kroll
Kyler and Irena Westerfeldt
Pedro and Esther Nariyoshi
Terrell Smith, much respected for the creative ways he explains spiritual truths, will be returning as our speaker this year.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in geology, Terrell Smith worked for Chevron Oil as a geologist. Invited to join InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff in 1971, he moved to Wisconsin and served groups on 15 campuses.
In 1978 he was invited to join the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) and moved to Germany, where he visited 40 campuses, pioneered international student work there and helped start international student ministry in Switzerland, Norway, and other countries.
Terrell wrote Die Welt vor deiner Haustür (The World at Your Doorstep), and co-authored Passport to the Bible; Exploring the Bible; Beginning With Jesus; Exploring Mark, Finding Jesus and other publications. Terrell served with InterVarsity’s Global Projects in China in 2004.
Terrell and Mary were married in 1979, have three adult children and six grandchildren. He enjoys photography, ping-pong, hiking and camping, especially in the Rocky Mountains. Terrell’s greatest joy is working with internationals.
The Cedar Bay team consists of full-time staff and volunteers, all of whom have a heart to serve and make Houseparty a memorable and meaningful time for all who attend.