Scarcely a month has passed since over 9,000 campers attended one of Forest Home’s amazing summer programmed camps. One season of ministry through Family and Youth Camps has closed yet waiting down the mountain are 16,000 more souls who will visit Forest Home before year’s end. In all, over 30,000 people will have visited Forest Home in 2019 as part of a Guest Conference run by their own church or ministry. A Guest Conference is a church’s opportunity to run their own retreat, such as a men’s, women’s, or youth retreat, while using the vast resources that Forest Home has been blessed to steward for over 80 years. 

Working with and serving many of Forest Home’s Guest Conference church partners fills me with awe and gratitude at the work the Lord does through them. It has also expanded my view of what the bride of Christ looks like in Southern California, regardless of origin, language or liturgical preference. Some of Forest Home’s Guest Conference church partners have roots in California that predate Forest Home, while others are young and gather each weekend to worship in local schools or theaters. There are also Messianic Jewish congregations, foreign seminaries, global mission organizations, and ministries that serve our military families. At last count, over a dozen languages are spoken by our Guest Conference church partners and new congregations turn to Forest Home every year because they know that their campers will be loved and served by our staff, and because of an incredible legacy of guests encountering Jesus while at Forest Home. One thing we all share is a belief that one day Jesus will return for his church. I like to imagine the church in Southern California in 2019 will much resemble the multitudes that gather before him on that day.