Go serve has always been a camp motto. It has been the motivation for many summer staff members through the hot days of summer and it is etched on the front gates, reminding everyone who leaves Heartland, that service does not stop as they leave camp grounds. Heartland serves because Jesus says that is how we are supposed to live, again and again. He says whoever will be my disciple must be a servant of all. Personally on good days that seems like something I would like to live by when I get the time, on bad days serving others couldn't be further from what I want to do. Jesus has His methods though, as I have slowly begun to serve others more and more I have found it to be a more satisfying way to live. Not only am I able to help others, but as I focus on their problems and needs my worries go away and my needs are met without me even having to seek them myself. There may be no better time to grow in serving others than the holidays. As holidays approach there are many great opportunities to go serve with your family. Here are some options to serve at camp and in your community:

o   Invite people to your holiday meals. As well as your own family, consider inviting as many people as you can feed, especially people who might be alone on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or people who may not be able to afford their own dinner. This might be an elderly neighbor, someone from a local nursing home or someone from your local church. 

o   Create a care package. Many soldiers are not able to be with their loved ones during the holiday season. Give them a package with some of the tastes of home to serve those who are serving their country. Operation Gratitude is a website that gives care package ideas as well as different servicemen and women that you can mail to.


o   Write Christmas cards. Spend some time this holiday season writing Christmas cards for people in nursing homes, hospitals, and homeless shelters. Make it a Christmas card party with your children and their friends, then deliver them together to show how much you care. To know that someone else was thinking of you can be a powerful source of hope during the holiday season.

o   Bring toys to a children's hospital. New or lightly used toys and stuffed animals are a welcome addition to a children’s hospital. Children dealing with serious or life threatening injuries or diseases have had their worlds turned upside down. A gift during the holiday season is a welcome distraction and a reminder that their sickness or injury does not have to take away the joy of the season.

o   Serve at camp this summer. Make a pledge to serve at camp in kitchen, in the office, or sign up as a family to help with the upkeep of the grounds. Summer is far away, but camp cannot run without the help of great volunteers. We would love to have your help sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ during the summer of 2016. Email program1@heartlandcenter.org if you are interested or want more information on volunteering. 

o   Make new signs for camp. Paint or wood burn circle signs (which Heartland will provide). We are hoping to make new signs with different Bible verses on them to place throughout camp in order to encourage campers and guests with the Word of God. There is no design made for the signs so some art experience may be required.

Written by: Jared Briscoe