This retreat was really lovely, but very cold other than portions here and there of the last three days. We didn’t have a lot of kids sign up for it (though lots of leaders), but it was really fun to be able to spend time with each of them in some way. I really enjoyed getting into our groups and listen to the openness of the students. It was amazing to hear the knowledge and love of each of them coming out. I guess what is most intense for me is that as I am nearly done with my 6th year as a leader, I have watched the majority of these kids grow up and have seen them struggle and thrive. It is a blessing to be able to learn from them.
There are many “sessions” which are times where we listen to a message spoken to help students learn about Jesus & the Bible. They said 600 people were at the retreat, which is the largest ever. It was very crowded but very cool.
Rob & I drove back and forth with these three suave young men for a total of about 4 hours (their faces here are killing me hahahahaha). They are hilarious and very amazing too. I got to learn a lot more about them and have a lot of hope for them as they eventually enter into adult life. May they keep their heads on sturdy and their hearts guarded as they strive towards Christ.
There was a dodgeball tournament (I guess it is a huge thing in youth groups to play dodgeball). The team that was set up from our church won the first game, but three people from the team didn’t show up for the second game so they lost. It was tragic.
Love these girls so much! I’ve been their leader since they were 6th graders, and now that they are sophomores, it is just so cool to get see how God is growing in their lives. They are incredibly inspiring!!
Look at this lady go! She was in charge of helping people on the wall climbing activity. She got a blister and a sore finger from it. That’s dedication. I listened to her encouraging students climbing the wall, “You can do it! You’re doing great!” I admire her a lot. Such a wonderful woman of God.
Trouble makers! They are the leaders that the kids can go to if they want to get away with things. haha. Okay, well not entirely true (because they’ll let them know the right thing to do), but they seem to be the most “chill” out of us all.
Another amazing leader hanging out with “miss energy”. They’re so great!Newlyweds. Aw. We really enjoy hanging out with this couple inside of youth group and outside of it too. They are the head leaders and we feel so blessed by them.
Rob was pretending to be a model with his hand on himself like that. . .I wasn’t prepared for it. Anyway, I think it is funny how we are both wearing red coats/jackets and have the same mustard yellow color in our shirts. Rob will not be dying his hair blue though anytime soon (though he had darker blue one time in high school). We are the oldest youth leaders. . .and feel it when some of them have said they were born in the 90s. . .1983 babies, are we. I didn’t sleep at all Friday night into Saturday, so by Sunday I was just so worn out and wanted to sleep more.
We did a scavenger hunt (not all of us, but a bunch of us) where we had a paper of things to take instagrams of and submit them with a hashtag. Here are some of my favorites from it. HAHAHA.
Reflection (not in a mirror) of your group:
The best for last was to act out a passage from the Bible in Deuteronomy (23:12-14 I think) where you are to go to the bathroom outside of the camp…HILARIOUS.
I realized something simple in my alone time with God this weekend.
I wake up at 5:30 AM naturally, especially at camps or retreats ever since I was a child. Saturday morning I was up anyway since I hadn’t slept, so at 4 AM I contemplated getting up out of bed for good, but I continued to close my eyes in hope for sleep. My back was killing me and I am adjusted to sleeping next to Rob, so it is hard for me to sleep on first nights at such places anyway. I like being up before everyone else. I am an extrovert and love being around people to the point that if I am all alone it actually starts to bother me a bit (thankfully reading puts me in the places I read about, so that could explain why I read often). However, whenever I would be at camps I’d want to wake up before everyone else. I like being able to not compete for dibs on the bathroom or showers or sinks and mirror space. I adjusted to doing this in my own childhood home as well (though my mom wakes up naturally at 4:30AM every morning, so she’d be awake when I would begin to get ready for a school day, but at least I didn’t have to worry about fighting over the bathroom with anyone).
When I first woke up and grabbed my bag to head out to the bathroom (in the camp I attended for several summers this was a challenge because I’d have to unzip the tent zipper, and somehow I always ended up with the lower bunk next to the entrance/exit so it wouldn’t be too hard as it was) I always am careful to not make any sounds. Usually I am very patient and will do things in slow-motion. This time I noticed I was in a rush. What was there to rush? I felt as if I was more selfish than normal and that bothered me.
After getting ready I exited the sleeping area and would head outside where I’d read my Bible and pray and journal. This weekend was so cold and windy, that I stayed in an area that was warmer. I loved that I would spend an hour reading The Bible without ANYONE bothering me. Just me and God. At home I don’t get that at all anymore. My boys always either go up to me when I try to, or I have to rush to get Rob’s lunch ready, or whatever the issue is, I don’t get any complete solitude to spend time with God anymore as I once had. It bugs me. Sunday morning there was a fireplace on (electric) in the room where I read my Bible, but I was so tired that the heat just made me even more sleepy.
I grabbed all my stuff and decided to bring them over to my car and pack up the car before everyone else woke up (I wasn’t noisy and took my time). On my way there I saw two doe running about in the parking lot area. One of them ran across when they saw me, while the other one just stood there. I walked by and said, “Hello, friend.” I watched the doe’s eyes follow me and it would bend it’s head around too. I packed my car and headed back towards the building where everyone else was. The doe was still in the same spot. I decided to walk towards it. I talked some more to it (you can think I am crazy for doing so, if you’d like) and I saw the doe’s tail wag around like a happy dog’s. It started to come near to me but stopped about 6 feet from me. I reached my hand out, but the doe that had run across started to make some noise. It grabbed the attention of the doe I was talking to, and then it ran off. I waved and said, “Bye!” I believe this encourages me to approach the unfamiliar and to be willing to take a risk in my life (such as missionary work). Maybe some will be interested and turn and run away, but it is a good start. To me, that is what God was telling me in the situation.
The cool part is that even when I feel alone or long to be alone, I am not, be it with God’s creation about me, or God Himself being near to me. Seeking Him first is what matters even if I don’t always have the time to sit down and dwell on Him and His word for an hour. I just need to stop and look around me and take time to listen for Him. I enjoyed my time by the fire some more for about ten minutes, and then looked out the window to see Rob walking along the path in the distance, so I went out to him. It was maybe about 6:30 at this point and I ran off to meet him and to hear of the adventures of being with rowdy boys all night.
My point is that I have expectations and things I like to do in my own particular way, but God wants things His way. He uses things to get our attention and to prove that He is there, and we either can ignore those things or take a look into what He has planned for us. I am learning more and more about giving up my own will and my own habits and my own desires and to instead do God’s will according to His word. I know some people don’t like the convictions God gives me or it scares them to think of things that they never thought about that Rob & I learn from His word, but I am truly thankful and feel such peace when He shows me Himself and shows me HOW to trust in Him. I am thankful that my husband is headed down that same path with me and that he has finally “found something worth dying for.”