Frosty 450pxI love coming to The Lights of Christmas! True, it’s often a bit warm for me - but the things I see – those things make it worth all the sweat and the few pounds of snow I shed!

I see so much each evening. Folks of all ages in and out of Joyland Courtyard - eating cotton candy and snacks from the Cafe, visiting the Ornament Shop, listening to the choirs and other groups in the Concert Hall, shopping at The Emporium. There is much hustle and bustle and eager anticipation as they come and go.

I watch the Dinner Theater guests come in, often rushed and hassled from a day of Holiday busyness, but then laughing and content as they wander back to their cars at the end of the evening. I see the school band and vocal performers on their break bursting out of the auditorium after a performance, ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas.

Oh! And I see the children! Have you ever seen Christmas through the eyes of a child? The wonder and amazement that fills them as they take it all in refreshes my heart. And not just mine! I watch the parents and the grandparents gratefully smile as they watch the little ones and regain a bit of their own wonder as they do.

I love coming to The Lights of Christmas Festival, because I see God at work in people’s hearts and lives through the beauty and wonder that is all around them. I see the Holy Spirit quietly speaking the truth of God’s miraculous gift to a broken world.

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Kristine new 450pxKristine Campbell, a Warm Beach Camp resident and volunteer, has been participating in the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program, at Warm Beach Camp for several months. Kristine has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system. MS can cause fatigue, eye problems, cognitive problems, heat sensitivity, and balance issues, just to name a few. For Kristine, having MS means that she has to be vigilant whenever she is walking so that she doesn’t lose her balance.

About a year ago, Ginger Reitz, Therapeutic Riding Coordinator, encouraged Kristine to come to the barn and give riding a try. Horseback riding can improve balance and core strength and can also help with anxiety, cognitive and social conditions.

Kristine said, “When I am on my horse I feel free. I don’t have to worry about my balance and I feel like I am doing something I like that will help my health.”

The Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at Warm Beach Camp uses horses to encourage and strengthen individuals in a safe and supportive Christ centered environment.

More information about Theraputic Horsemanship can be found here

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printSeason of Giving 450pxIn December 2017, Tracy Graves and her three kids decided to make their Christmas all about giving and dedicated the entire month to volunteering at The Lights of Christmas festival. Tracy, Jessica (14), David (13), and Isabell (11) joined their grandparents, Bob and Evie Graves, and the whole family teamed up to help make The Lights of Christmas a success. David worked with his grandpa at the Polar Express train. Jessica joined her grandma helping in the Ornament Shop and bussing tables in Tinhorn Town. And Isabelle worked with her mom, Tracey, at the petting farm and pony rides.

“The kids loved it.” Tracy said. “We want to do it again and again.”

Every year, volunteers come from far and wide to help make The Lights of Christmas happen. It takes over 125 volunteers each night and last year volunteers donated over 15,000 hours of service. Volunteering focuses on others, and is fun. There is something for the whole family.

“As a parent, it’s nice having the kids understand that they can give back at Christmas time.” Tracy said.

We all know that Christmas isn’t just about the giving and receiving of gifts. It’s about celebrating Christ’s birth. Christ, who loved others, valued community and a spirit of giving. Thank you to the Graves family for embodying the spirit of Christ through their volunteer service.

If you would like to volunteer for The Lights of Christmas 2018 sign up today!

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Korea Article 450pxThis August, several Warm Beach Camp staff returned from a two week ministry trip to the Republic of Korea. The theme for the camp the team cohosted was, “I am blessed.” The Holy Spirit knit the team together with Korean hosts. Lives were touched and children and youth came to faith in Christ.

Camp in Korea is much like camp in the U.S. with the addition of English language learning lessons that are the main attraction for Korean families. Educational enrichment is something of a national obsession in South Korea with English learning one of the top priorities.

Our passion is Jesus and our platform is an English Summer Camp we call Warm Beach Camp Korea. The love of Christ was on full display as US and Korean team members worked side by side in worship, teaching, games, and activities. Elementary age kids took part in English classes taught by the US team, while middle and high school youth joined their US counterparts for team-building and leadership classes. Campers responded to the gospel; lives were touched for eternity.

Stepping into ministry with South Korean friends humbles, inspires, and amazes. Their devotion runs deep and their passion is strong.

Koreans are blessed with contagious joy. Whenever ministry teams co-labor with Korean friends for the sake of the gospel, they are blessed, inspired, and humbled.

Blessed with rich new friendship and a clearer vision for Christ and His global church, the Warm Beach Korea Team came home inspired by the message they preached, “I am blessed.”

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