ADAIR, Okla. (KTUL) — New Life Ranch announced Wednesday that they are the new owners of Church on the Move's 230-acre camp facility on Lake Hudson, "Dry Gulch, USA."
New Life Ranch said they are renaming the facility New Life Ranch - Frontier Cove, but continuing with the original mission and intent of founder Willie George Ministries.
More than 50,000 people traveled to Dry Gulch each December for the Christmas Train attraction. Outreach and ministry has always been at the heart of Dry Gulch.
Church on the Move and Pastor Willie George decided to liquidate Dry Gulch and put their focus and funds toward expanding the local church.
“We are thrilled that New Life Ranch is building on the foundation of the ministry that my dad started so many years ago. They really have a vision to impact campers for generations to come, and we love that. It’s such a win-win for both ministries because we both get to focus on what we do best; New Life Ranch with their camp programs and Church on the Move with our local churches,” said Whit George, lead pastor of Church on the Move.
The church said they are preparing to sell the Christmas Train to a group in another state.
“To all of you who have served over the years to build Dry Gulch and Christmas Train, we want to say thank you, thank you so much. It’s amazing that both of these ministries are going to continue beyond what we have built together,” said Willie George, founder of Church on the Move and Dry Gulch.
New Life Ranch is currently located in Colcord, Okla. and has been looking to expand. Former Tulsa Bible Church founder Rev. Willard Heck and partner Tom Hull founded New Life Ranch in 1958 as a Christian camping and retreat facility for churches and and youth from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, northwest Arkansas and the surrounding five state area. The facility sees more than 4,000 campers during the summers and over 16,000 guests each year.
Church on the Move and New Life Ranch have been talking about the purchase of Dry Gulch for the past two years. New Life Ranch just received a gift allowing them to purchase Dry Gulch with no debt.
"We are overflowing with thankfulness toward Hobby Lobby, The Jasco Giving Hope Foundation, and two other families for their gifts. It has been an absolutely incredible journey over these past couple of years. As we have sought the Lord's leading, He has made our path clear. It hasn't always been easy, but He has abundantly met our needs, as we've tried to be faithful to follow. To have four different families meet this financial need is incredible. We are so thankful to gain some much-needed capacity, to be able to accomplish our mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping believers for ministry, in the lives of more people. We are thrilled to build on the legacy of Dry Gulch being a property that has a ministry focus on making a difference in the lives of kids and adults," said Tom Graney, the Executive Director at New Life Ranch.
New Life Ranch will now be able to double its service capacity to serve campers and retreat guests for the future. Since the facility was in pristine condition, New Life Ranch - Frontier Cove will open immediately for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 seasons. Registration is now open for both Junior camp at New Life Ranch - Frontier Cove and Senior Camp at the original Colcord location, now referred to as New Life Ranch - Flint Valley, for Summer 2019.