Friday, August 03, 2007

After the Ranch - What's next?

As I write this, there are exhausted people working to get Horizons back to its "pre-Ranch" status. If you're able to manhandle our chairs in the worship center, you're invited to show up tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. to help convert the three sections of chairs back to our usual four sections.

Last night and most of today was spent cleaning up the building and tearing down the decorations. Avalanche Ranch is history. But is that it? Is that all there is? Do we now set aside all that excitement for God until next summer?

You don't have to. Our children's ministry is a year-round ministry and VBS is five days out of that year. If you enjoyed being a part of VBS, come visit DiscoveryZone any Sunday. Talk with our new Director of Children's Ministry Lisa Heinert. The excitement of the past five days doesn't have to end. You can be "Jumpin' in the House" all year long.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Avalanche Ranch - God is in charge!

Hey ya’ll, Erin here. All is now said and done here at the Ranch and it has been quite an adventure. I am sitting outside the church with my computer making sure Bob and Karl follow through with their promise to spend the night on the roof. If you haven’t already heard we reached our goal of 350 kids. 358 to be exact. So with sleeping bags in hand Bob and Karl headed up the ladder and are planning to spend the night in their tent, praying that they won’t roll off.

A lot is still going on here at the ranch. Karl is already threatening to go home. Kaitlyn just called the Journal Star to see if they would come out and interview Bob and Karl. And there are still a few crew leaders and crew coaches in the church, continuing the clean-up efforts. Clean-up will continue tomorrow at 8:30, with a BYOD (bring your own donut) breakfast. Feel free to join us if you can. Plans for next year’s VBS will be revealed after all the décor has been taken down.

Tonight was another amazing night filled with laughter, jumping, worship, fun and a few tears (many of them mine). A huge THANK YOU to all the 200 volunteers who served at this year's VBS, it would not have happened without your dedication, love and desire to make God known to our kids. I also wanted to give a special shout out to Derek for all of his many hours of hard work and planning to make VBS what it was. THANK YOU, Derek.

From all the Dutters we want to say thank you to everyone at Horizons. Your hugs, prayers and warm wishes have helped us to know that we will be “held-up” during this transition. We have cherished our time here with you and God has blessed our family through you. The video you put together for Tony and me was amazing, it touched our hearts in a way that it has never been touched before. But no need for tears, we promise to be back so much that most of you probably won’t even know we are gone.

Hope to see lots of you on Sunday with smiles on and no talk of goodbyes.

Peace out!

PS- Bob and Karl say good night and see ya next year.

Who's in the House?

God is!! "JP" here just back from the Ranch. I’ve been searching for the spark, the excitement, the spontaneity and energy many of us associate with Horizons. I found it at Avalanche Ranch tonight! Woo-Hoo! Of all the things that Horizons does, this is by far our best ministry. The kids, our community and perhaps ourselves (more on that later) benefit from attending and supporting Vacation Bible School. It’s relevant and it’s vibrant. The opening session was fantastic, rock’n the house as we say, and hey….those subwoofers really do work!

Two things struck me as I leaned back against the counter in the sound booth….safe from the maelstrom of activity and noise. First, kids know nothing of ‘holding back’ when they are moving to the music; they’re jumping, moving, singing, yelling, having fun. I watched how they competed for the Spirit hat…what a noise maker that is!!! I saw how Bob and Karl led and motivated the squirming, giggling noisy mass of humanity into a unison of responses to their question….Who’s in the house? And the response ….God is!

And indeed He was!

Secondly, and what touched me the most, was sensing the Spirit moving among us tonight. Whether it was through the kids’ smiles and laughter, the camaraderie among volunteers, the one on one conversations with people I have not spoken to for a long time, or the selfless actions of others throughout the night, I saw what I love about Horizons… Community. It was exhilarating.

As I rode back to the Mission with the kids tonight, they all began humming and then singing a familiar song as we ate our ice cream cones (Thanks Liz!). As I listened and sang along quietly to myself, I had to agree. Yes indeed, our God is an awesome God. He softened yet another heart tonight that had grown a bit too hard, a tad indifferent. A small transformation occurred through nine wonderful children and a guest pass to Avalanche Ranch.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Avalanche Ranch - God is Awesome!

Hey there, this is Karl (Chris Berger) writing the blog for tonight. Sometimes its tough to find the words on what to say about these nights here at VBS. It's an experience that I hope these kids never forget. Tonight we had a time where the kids could all give their donations for the orphanage in India that we sponsor through Project Hope, and it is so moving to see how many kids really care about helping other kids. I would guess that more than half the room stood up and gave whatever they could to these kids in need.

In Matthew 18, Christ is talking with his disciples and they ask him "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus then replies by saying "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes a humble place becoming like this child, it the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
This is such a powerful verse to read because to me, this means that I can learn just as much, if not more, from these children than I can teach them. Seeing these kids donate to other kids really impacts me because they give so selflessly. They give because they know that these kids need help and they know that they can supply that help. I don't know about anyone else but it brings tears to my eyes to see how many kids want to help other kids in this world and truly Christ was right when he said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children such as these that we have here at Horizons.
Ranch Stats:
283 kids age 3 thru 6th Grade
96 volunteers