Building Communities of Belonging through the Christian Horizons Family Retreat
My first hands-on encounter at Christian Horizons Family Retreat was in August of 2011, which was also the first year Christian Horizons offered the retreat.
One of the ways the planning committee decided to build community was through a special dinner out for caregivers and parents. There was a need for additional volunteers to stay behind, so I and a few other colleagues committed to travel to Elim Lodge and serve for one night. We provided activities for the participants while their parents and caregivers went into town for dinner. Each year this has continued as a tradition.
In 2013 I decided to attend the full week-long retreat as a Short Term Missionary, and I returned again in 2014. Both years I was paired with the same family. I am so blessed to serve as God’s hands and feet, providing whatever support is needed to ensure an excellent vacation experience for the participant and for the family. We spent time together tubing and swimming, running, enjoying the worship events and building a friendship based on acceptance and trust. It never ceases to amaze me each year to see the way God moves at the retreat, allowing families to find a place of acceptance and rest, for participants to make unforgettable memories and for Short Term Missionaries to be moved in ways they never thought possible.
I hope to encourage you to become involved with the Christian Horizons Family Retreat, either by attending, serving, or financially supporting someone to attend. This is one of those rare opportunities where you seek to serve, but through serving, find great inspiration in the families. You learn and receive much more than you give. I can tell you that you will not walk away from the retreat unchanged.
Vice President Operations
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Christian Horizons Family Retreat
25 Sportsworld Crossing Road
Kitchener, ON N2P 0A5