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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

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I Belong to the Kingdom of God - Ruth Vallevik


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Ruth Vallevik

Director of Women’s Ministry, Church of the Lutheran Brethren

My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana
My spurs are of silver, my pony is gray.
While riding the ranges my luck never changes
With foot in the stirrup I’ll gallop away.
— Glenn Ohrlin

Yes, my home is in Montana.  Never mind that I don’t spend my days riding the range or sporting a bandana.  This is my home.  Though raised on the West coast, educated in the Midwest, living as a new bride on the East coast and teaching in many places, Montana has been my home for thirty-seven years.  I love the contrast of wide open range and wheat fields under the Big Sky with the rugged Rocky peaks and wide rivers.  It is here I served in ministry with my pastor-husband for 24 years, raised our two children and since his passing have served as Director of Women’s Ministries of the CLB for over a decade.  I love the bustle of my city of Billings as well as the tiny mountain village of Red Lodge nearby, where I often go for “soul care” days.  Here, in my favorite quiet spot (except for the noisy, rushing creek) I sit with my open Bible and open heart to commune with my Father.  As I ponder the majestic mountains around me I gain perspective.  They existed thousands of years before me and will exist long after my brief stay on this planet has ended.  Burdens are transferred to the loving shoulders of my Father whose promise comforts me.  Here my prayers rise to Him who created all this beauty.

Montana.  My home.  My earthly residence.  But in a far greater measure, I am a citizen of another world; I owe my allegiance to another.  I belong to the Kingdom of God, an invisible family of those who have been gathered in by the gracious invitation of Christ, my King.  It is He who paid the penalty of sin that I so richly deserved, who gave me a new heart, who calls me to follow Him, and will one day return to take me – and all the vast number of this kingdom - to live with Him forever.  It is He with whom - through a mystery I do not understand- I have a living, daily, intimate relationship.

You have likely recited the words of the “Lord’s Prayer” hundreds of times:  “Thy kingdom come…”  Maybe you have never really thought through what that means.  Is His kingdom here and now or there and then?  Who is a part of that kingdom?  Who is the King, and what is my relationship to Him?  How can I live as a duel citizen, belonging to an eternal kingdom and yet living among my family and neighbors as a subject of human government and authority?  If He is returning to earth as promised, how shall I live while I wait?  At the Women’s Retreat in November, under the theme of “The King and I” we will search the Scriptures to find answers to these questions and others, and as we learn I pray that our hearts will be lifted in joyful praise to the One True King. 

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On my desk stands a sculpture of two women, one exhausted and bowed down, the other supporting her and pointing upward.  I identify with both.  Sometimes I am the burdened one, and sometimes I am the encourager who points to King Jesus, our hope and our help.  I am praying that as we gather together in November the King Himself will meet with us, that we will learn of Him through searching the Word, grow in our love for Him, commit to following and serving Him, encourage one another and rejoice in anticipation of His return.  

I will gladly leave my beloved Montana home – briefly – in order to carry that message.I hope to meet you there!

If you are interested in joining us for our Fall Women’s Retreat, learn more by visiting our website.