A Note from Rich Malone
Executive Director

 
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Summer 2018 was awesome!
O taste and see that the Lord is good.

It was a deeply meaningful journey into the awareness and absolute certainty of God’s constant and perfect goodness. He is so good!

“O taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

“The Lord is good; a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7 (NKJV)

It turns out that tasting the deliciousness of God’s goodness sometimes involves also tasting the nauseating badness of trouble. That trouble should not surprise us; it is some of the undesirable backwash of this sick and broken world in which we live. The taste of some of our summer at LFR was pretty bad … literally;  there was a lot of throwing up and close contact with the “ceramic throne,” if you know what I mean. At times we felt like everything had gone to pot. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Through our first two camps there were over 30 campers and staff members down with the stomach bug. Whew! But He is a stronghold in the day of trouble. The first camp when it all started was fairly small in attendance and God gave us just enough staff and extra rooms that became designated infirmary locations to keep on going. From the start of the summer, even in the midst of yucky tasting difficulty, we tasted the wonderful goodness of our great Lord Jesus. God provided, lives were transformed, and new life in Christ kept happening over and over again. Nothing is more spiritually tasty than that!

In Exodus 33:13-23 Moses asked of God, “Show me Your glory.” God responded to Moses’ request by hiding him in the cleft of a rock and then letting him see His goodness pass by him. The Lord is good, and He really wants us to see His glory reflected to us in His goodness. God beautifully displayed His glorious goodness at LFR this summer. Now you get to read about the ways that He did that. These pages will greatly bless you. He is a good good Father!

Thanks for praying for us! Please don’t stop!


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A Note from Nick Hall
Assistant Director

 
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It’s hard to believe that my family and I just finished summer number five at Lake Forest Ranch! While this surely means I’m not the “new guy” anymore, I am realizing that I learn more and more about ministry each summer. I’m also learning that every summer at Lake Forest Ranch is different. Summer staff is never the same year-to-year. We have new campers and adult leaders each summer. New Bible Studies, new themes, and a fresh word from the Lord each summer make every year fun and exciting! 

I’m also learning that each summer has its own challenges. Early in the summer, we fought the stomach bug, a broken down facilities truck and a busted ski boat (turns out tubing is VERY important to campers!). It was a reminder to me that we live in a broken and fallen world where everything we put our hands to fights against us. It should be no surprise when things go wrong. In fact, when they go right, it is a grace from the Father. We certainly experienced His grace this summer! 

Even in the difficulties of directing camp through a stomach bug outbreak, we were able to see the Father at work. In fact, not one of us was able to boast in our own ability. He took sick and exhausted people into His hands and worked through them in ways that only He could. It’s not that He casted us aside in our weakness, but it’s that He picked us up and used us IN our weakness because He created us and knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. 

Honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

 
 

LFR after Dark 2018

This year was our 10th annual experience of "LFR after Dark," and it was considered by many to be the best and most meaningful one ever. It had a profound impact on so many precious young lives this summer. We had so many campers who came to saving faith in Christ through that special evening outside lit only by tiki lamps. In case you are not familiar with our “LFR after Dark ," here's what happens.

We seek to provide a creative outdoor worship experience each year on the third night of camp that ties into our summer theme. As already noted, our 2018 theme was, “Taste and See that the Lord is Good!” This year we gave the campers and their adult leaders the opportunity to experience the goodness of the Lord using the five physical senses that God has given us. This all happened in the dark (tiki lamps only) and in complete silence except for worship music playing in the background. At the last stop in this awesome journey of experiencing His goodness, the counselors took each camper individually to a station to kneel at their feet and wash their feet while reminding them of the powerful way that Jesus came not to be served but to serve, “and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

There were many tears, there was lots of joy in the tasting of His goodness. Because this worship event is referred to in many of the summer reflections of our staff, we wanted you to know from the start what they are talking about. We tasted, felt, smelled, heard and saw His glorious goodness, and it was life-changing.

New Creation Report

It is important to point out that the success of our summer is not measured entirely in the numbers of conversions to new life in Christ. If even one camper came to saving faith in Jesus over our 12 summer camps, from an eternal perspective, it would be a summer well spent! It is, however, super exciting when we can welcome a large number of our campers into the family of God during the 2 months we are here together. We remind our counselors often that we will not pressure any child or youth to make any kind of spiritual decision before they are ready. Our opportunity is to build relationships with them, listen to them, pray for them, encourage them and to share the clear gospel message with them. And we listen to the Holy Spirit about whether or not it seems that they are ready to say "yes" to Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and His eternal life.  

It turned out that 215 campers this summer were ready to take that big step of faith. What we called, “the first taste of the goodness of God.” Each of these campers was followed up with letters and materials helping them with their first steps as a new believer. Most of them had an adult ministry leader from their church to go home with them and help them continue this faith journey with Jesus as brand new followers of Christ. Probably 85% of our campers come with church group leaders who we keep aware of the big things that God is doing in their campers’ lives. Please pray with us for all these precious youth and children as they grow in the days to come in the grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

Tetelestai!

(It is Finished!) Summer 2019 theme is going to be a very exciting one. We are looking forward to proclaiming the beautiful, complete and simple message of the finished work of Christ. There is so much to this last word of our Lord (John 19:30) that is incredibly powerful and important to know. When we fully understand what the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished and when we can walk in the fullness of that truth … it is LIBERATING!  Isn’t it great to know that we can rest in the completed work of our Lord Jesus?! We are complete in Him, and we have entered into His rest. Wow!