Christmas 2018

By Faith

Dear Friends and Family of Lutheran Island Camp and Christ Serve Ranch,

The book of Hebrews reminds us of the many great Biblical characters who fulfilled their God given tasks strengthened By Faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David, and Moses each had an Old Testament task which they completed By Faith. In the New Testament that same Faith led John to announce the coming of Jesus; led Peter to overcome his own denial; helped the disciples to overcome their fears and doubts; provided Paul the strength to leave his comfortable life to preach to the world; and gave strength to those early Christians who faced hatred and persecution.

Today, each of us has our own faith walk. For most, it began with our Baptism and was reaffirmed by our confirmation vows. Our faith is strengthened daily through devotion and prayer built on the shoulders of generations of Christian men and women who remained faithful to God’s Word and His promises and have provided devotional materials, hymns, songs, and prayers that we find easily.  We weekly received Christ’s body and blood and hear scriptures preached to us. But that is more and more not the case for those we serve at Lutheran Island Camp.

By Faith during 2018 we once again opened our doors to provide a special program ministry to children and family. It was our 66th year of doing so. Our numbers held steady which was a challenge since, By Faith, we added staff. Happily more adults came to camp than in quite some time. Our children’s numbers were down slightly but this was primarily because of a downturn in the number of teens attending our Servant Event camps. By Faith, we decided to reach out to children we haven’t served in the past including a large contingent from the Twin Cities area and many more youth who are minimally churched or not churched at all.

By Faith we engaged with schools, both public and parochial and saw a large increase in the number of children (over 300) who participated in our Outdoor Education programs at Christ Serve Ranch and Christ Serve Academy. By Faith we invited participants from around the region to attend a Creation Symposium in October. Over 170 did and had their faith strengthened by a strong, Biblical program on God’s creation.

By Faith we expanded our Horse Outreach Program (HOP), adding more events and staff. God blessed us with capacity filled events all summer long. These girls and boys came to camp to ride horses but left with the sure and certain knowledge that, By Faith, they have been saved.

Each year we start at $0 when it comes to fund development. Each year it is By Faith that we ask for your support in February to help campers; in August through our Quilt Auction (over $41,000 raised); with our Amazing Day appeal (over $60,000 this year) and through the wonderful Christmas gifts that congregations, organizations, and families share with us.

The Faith journeys on this earth of many of God’s people ended this year. We said goodbye to many family and friends. We were blessed by their generosity with lasting gifts through endowments, annuities, memorials and bequests. We worked with others to set up their enduring gifts.

As we go into 2019, we move from a theme of “By Faith” to one of “Forgiven”.  We celebrate this most wonderful time of year knowing that there is a package under every tree throughout the world that is labeled:

Some folks see that gift and will open it eagerly. Others will be hesitant, thinking it can’t be for them. Still others will see the gift and reject it. And there will be others who, in their spiritual blindness, will not even see the gift.  Our prayer is that you will open your gift eagerly and that you will help us as we share this wonderful gift with the children and families who come to Lutheran Island Camp and Christ Serve Ranch.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!





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